As we approach spring break, publications and the media are bombarding us with images of bikini bods, promises of lose-it-quick diets, and unhealthy food fads. There’s no doubt that skinny privilege exists, and that the world is constantly telling us that we will look better and have more value if we are smaller. But this is simply not true. And this doesn’t change as we enter college and are warned about the dreaded Freshman 15.
Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, or wanting to get healthy, but as we turn the corner from spring into summer, I want college students, of all ages and genders alike, to know five reasons why the Freshman 15 is totally okay.
1. Because college is a big adjustment that stresses you out.
After moving out of the house and into your new dorm room, it doesn’t take long to realize college is stressful. And that’s totally normal; what’s more stressful than moving to a new place and starting a new chapter in your life? There’s a period of adjustment (or, attempts at adjustment) as you figure out how to cook, and when to eat during your busy life. Stress-eating? Totally a thing. Gaining weight because you’re stressed? Also, totally a thing.
2. Because not only has our schedule changed, but our bodies have too.
I actually didn’t gain weight my freshman year; I gained it my sophomore year. This largely had to do with a change in my schedule, which resulted in my body changing as well. I went from playing competitive tennis six days a week (in addition to working out and running) to playing tennis once or twice a week, for fun. Suddenly my rock-hard arms and washboard stomach were getting softer. Not to mention that my metabolism slowed down, which didn’t help, either.
3. Because we’re sleepin’ less, which means we’re eatin’ more (and generally having more fun).
This one holds a double edged sword: we’re sleeping less during the week because we’re studying. But we’re sleeping less on the weekend because we’re at parties, concerts, and doing other fun college-y things. It has been proven that the less you sleep, the more you eat since your body is awake and conscience of the time spent not eating (versus ignoring it during sleep). Oh, and drunchies? Food is never better than at 2am after a fun night of dancing or bar hopping.
4. Because food is wonderful.
This one is obvious, but it should be mentioned. When I was in high school, I kept a pretty rigorous watch on what I ate, and I also didn’t try many exotic foods. Since then, I’ve tried all kinds of foods and dishes, and without stressing about the calories in each delicious meal. Sometimes it’s nice just to enjoy eating as an experience.
5. Because you’re worth more than what the scale says you are.
Might sound cliche, but it’s true: you are not a number. You are not an ornament for the world to paint diet plans on, or a Barbie doll to make smaller. We’re just people, and people’s bodies naturally change. Sometimes we lose weight, sometimes we gain weight. But as long as you’re healthy and happy, it’s okay.
Want to read more on body image? Check out these articles:
- How Everyday Habits Perpetuate Eating Disorders
- Body Shaming to Food Shaming: It’s All About How You Look
- All About That Bass Might Actually Be Bad for Female Body Image
- Instagramming Food Might Help Teens Battle Eating Disorders