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Fending Off the Freshman 15

Erin Thomassen | Monday, December 2, 2013

We’ve all heard the run-of-the-mill advice on how to fend off the Freshman 15: eat your veggies, don’t snack on Snickers and run some laps around the lakes. I followed these tips and patted myself on the back throughout the first few months of college, but come Thanksgiving break, my scale had disastrous news for me. I had gained 14 pounds.

My mom tried to tell me it was muscle. Unconvincing, since I can barely do a push-up. Nevertheless, I still had a chance to redeem myself. I had not gained the entire Freshman 15 yet. So, I came up with some reasonable rules on how to keep off the persistent pounds.

Rule #1: Kick my friends to the curb. I love my friends, but whenever I’m with them, I end up baking brownies or eating an entire $5 foot-long. If I didn’t have friends, I wouldn’t have anyone to go to the dining hall with, and I’m too insecure to go by myself. If I don’t make plans with people, I can spend my time sprinting around South Quad by myself. At football games, I can do my own push-ups instead of having my friends push me up. At Swing Club, I can be my own partner and get twice the workout. And who needs friends on Saturday night? I would rather snuggle with my Build-A-Bear. So, though it’s sad, I will have to lose my friends to lose these 14 pounds.

Rule #2: Lie about my birthday. Even if I do not have friends, people may pity me on my birthday and buy me a cake. Though I could invent an imaginary allergy to icing, it would be better to avoid the situation entirely and set my birthday back two months ago anytime someone asks me. That way, it’s too late to have a belated birthday celebration and too early to plan a half-birthday bash. Since the code to get in the side door of PE is my birthday, I will have to use the main door to make sure no one finds out my real birthday, even when it’s snowing, raining or hailing. If someone finds out my real birthday and flies all the way to Boston to trap me with a cake on June 28, (crud, now everyone knows), I will simply have to carry around banana peels so I can throw one down and make the cake-bearer slip and drop the cake. My purse may smell like rotten bananas and the eager acquaintance may break an arm, but it’s a small sacrifice to make to avoid eating one slice of cake.

Rule #3: Miss Mass. This one is the toughest, since Mass is my way of calming down and connecting with God. However, most Masses on the Notre Dame campus come with nachos, milkshakes or other tempting treats. Even if they are not specifically food-themed, it is still too risky to go, since the group may attack me with surprise snacks at the end. They always insist on ladies first, so I have no chance of having the food run out before it’s my turn. I could dress up as a guy and pretend to be gentlemanly by letting the other girls eat all the food first, but No-Shave November is over, so they might be suspicious of my mustache and rip it off. Then, I would be embarrassed in front of all the people who are no longer my friends. So, no Mass for me anymore.

Rule #4:  Be disowned by my mother. The first time I got a package, I ripped it open with glee, hungry for food that was not doused in salt, oil and sugar. Under the boxes of Oreos and Chips Ahoy, I found one packet of oatmeal. Not exactly the cornucopia I was hoping for. On the phone, I tried to subtly suggest the kind of food I would like in the future: “I LOVED the oatmeal,” and “I’m CRAVING Special K.” Week after week, though, the bags of Reese’s kept on coming. So, to avoid being tempted by the treats my mom insists on sending, I will have to do something so egregious that she will disown me and stop sending her love in the form of fudge. I was sorely disappointed with wikiHow’s advice on “How to Get Back at Your Parents,” which suggested locking my mom out of my room with a “No Bullies Allowed” sign and blasting “Do You Like Waffles” from my iPod speakers. So, I came up with more mature tactics, such as chopping my mom’s hair off in her sleep and sabotaging her room with shaving cream and maple syrup to create a literal Parent Trap. I know this method will work, because my mom will not send goodies to a bad girl.

These rules may seem extreme, but I must follow them if I want to fit in my jeans by January. I may no longer have friends, but imaginary friends are better because they don’t talk back. I may not tell the truth, but lying gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I may not go to church and worship the One who gives me everything and loves me unconditionally, but I will be able to rock a crop top. My mother may not love me anymore, but she’s only the person who carried me around for nine months and took care of me for 18 years. Though these things sound important, they’re not the highest priority. Fending off the Freshman 15, on the other hand, is deservedly the most important thing in my life.

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     The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.