On top of new classes, a new environment and all of the stresses that come along with Freshman year of college, there is one issue that stands prominent in importance above the rest: our health. More specifically, many people tend to struggle with weight.
The dreaded Freshman 15. In case you live under a rock and have no clue what this is, it is the expected weight gain of 15 pounds that first year students tend to gain—unfortunately, it is not always only 15. So why is it that this is even a thing???
One of the beauties of college is that you are given so much freedom; this including the ability to eat whatever you want and however much you want. You no longer have your parents there to make sure you are eating a healthy, proportional meal. No one’s there to limit the amount of pizza slices you get from Findlay. No one’s there to stop you from ordering Pokeys at 3 am. Unless you are friends with a health nut, your friends will most likely join in with you, ultimately negatively affecting all of you.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll eat with you get stressed out. Whether it’s over an upcoming exam or the hours of homework you’ve procrastinated to start, there’s nothing like Creamery ice cream or Insomnia cookies to help you feel better—or so you think. In the article, “The ‘Freshman 15’ Means More than Weight Gain”, the author discusses the many stresses other than school, like money, social life and even being away from home. All of these can trigger one to confide in food. When I first started at Penn State, 4 hours away from everything and everyone I had always known, I was a mess. I thought eating would mask the pain of being away from home. Sadly, this is a very popular coping mechanism used by freshmen.
This can also be related to the study we read about on a previous test. The article included a study done to see if studying affected how much one consumed afterwards. This article is very similar to the one we had on the test. It was found that the results were that students taking tests or doing work ate more than the students who did nothing. Yikes.
It’s frightening to see just how easy it is to add on the pounds when you first get to school. For the most part I try not to get too crazy with what I eat here—even though I still find myself addicted to Pokeys. What I have discovered works best for me is finding time within all of the school work to make it to the gym. Though your schedule may seem hectic, make it a goal to work out every so often. Your body will thank you.