We’re all well aware of the infamous freshmen 15. College is filled with stress and hours sitting at a desk studying. That stress and lack of activity combined with the pitfalls of eating on campus means weight gain for the majority of us. I am not one of the fortunate few with a fast metabolism. As a freshman, I gained weight in spite of my efforts to exercise and eat well. The summer break after my first year of college, I lost the extra pounds.
Sophomore year, I was confident that I could keep my weight from fluctuating. After all, the freshman 15 only affected first year students.
I still had a meal plan, but I knew where the healthy food was. I also knew how to organize my schedule so that I had time to work out. Still, by the end of the year, I had gained the weight back.
I finally realized that no matter how much you promise yourself to eat well on your meal plan, college is going to find a way to break your resistance.
I don’t care if we have steamed vegetables. When I’m sliding my tray through the buffet line, those sad, tasteless looking vegetables are going to be right next to something deep-fried.
The problem with having healthy choices in a buffet setting is that you have to walk past every single food item and still choose what will likely look the least appetizing.
Even if you do make the healthy choice and sit down to eat your food, you will be surrounded by people eating pizza and french fries. Plus, you’ll know that nothing is stopping you from walking back up to the buffet line and getting something different.
When I had my meal plan, I was able to hold out until that first round of due dates. Every college student has experienced this phenomenon of having multiple projects, presentations and exams the same week. In severe cases, you may have things due in every class on the same day.
There have been times that I’ve been so stressed and overworked that I felt like I hadn’t taken a breath in days. Take it from me: when you’re pulling all nighters, you don’t care about the preservatives or salt content in cheese sauce.
The dining area schedules are another big issue. If you have an evening class and you want dinner, your only choices are going to be just like fast food. On the weekends, the cafeteria might as well be closed. The food is never as good, and everything looks like it’s left over from earlier in the week.
It’s not easy to live in a residence hall with no meal plan. However, it is well worth the effort. This year, I haven’t gained any weight. As a matter of fact, I’ve been slowly losing weight. I’m not dieting or getting more exercise than usual. The only difference is I’m no longer at the mercy of a meal plan. I have complete control over what foods I keep in my room and when I can eat.
The freshman 15 needs to be renamed. Just being a freshman doesn’t make you gain weight. Having to eat all of your meals on campus plays a huge role, even if healthy choices are offered.