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The dreadful 15

| Wednesday, May 2, 2018

There are a couple of uncertain aspects about college that makes it a little scary. How is it going to be living away from home for the first time? How is my new roommate going to be? There are a million possibilities and uncertainties that make starting college both an exciting and scary adventure. And during this time of change, one might find having emotions of excitement and joy combined with anxiousness and fear of the unknown. Especially if you do not know the answer to an important question for many first year students: Am I going to gain the hated freshman 15?

Before coming to college, so many people warned me about these dreadful 15 pounds that people commonly gain in the first year of college. Therefore, I eagerly and fearfully, planned ahead to avoid them. The plan was easy, eat healthy and go to the gym regularly. How hard can it be? Well, it didn’t happen. Not even close. I started college and realized that my plan was harder to follow than I thought. I suddenly felt that gaining weight was inevitable, and forgot about the plan.

A new environment is definitely a trigger for a big weight gain. With an all-you-can-eat-buffet, high levels of stress and late night snacks, healthy eating becomes really difficult. Additionally, with the hectic schedules, new people to meet and new activities to be involved in, going to the gym seems to be the last thing on our priorities. Well, sadly, this sounds very similar to my last semester.

The dorm environment in which we live in surely does not make it easier and there are many specific examples of how. With the tentative “FJ’s” on Tuesdays in Ryan where Fr. Joe makes an unimaginable amount of baked goods for students — I am not even in Ryan but having friends there is both a perk and a liability. Not to mention the huge party bags of chips in the Huddle or the Ben and Jerry’s pint of ice cream waiting for you to eat it all. Living on campus surrounded by temptations does not make a healthy lifestyle any easier.

For that reason, I encourage you to face temptation and begin a new path of a healthy college lifestyle. The first step is being aware that this is the time to start healthy routines that will probably with us in the future and taking the freshman 15 as a lesson. A lesson on how not to channel, stress, boredom and homesickness, but an opportunity for change and improvement. The second step: not getting discouraged if you gained some weight. Instead, be sure you can fight the unwanted pounds and prevent from gaining more if you really want to. It is not easy, but at least not giving up is a step. At last, the third step is taking action and here are some examples of how it worked for me that could also work for you.

The first recommendation is finding a type of exercise that you really enjoy and commit to it. Maybe even try exercising with friends so that you have some additional support. What I did was sign up for group classes in the gym. I choose the classes that I like the most, which include dancing and cardio core, and therefore was motivated to go. Not only because I already paid for them, but also because I had no excuse as those were activities that I love. Additionally, the type of food that you consume is very important as they are the fuel to your body. Therefore, one recommendation is acknowledging how eating healthy does not only reflect on how you look on the outside, but also how good you feel in the inside. This reflection helped me in my change of lifestyle, as I realized that if I kept eating high amounts of sugar, I was going to create an unhealthy habit that in the long run could have had very dangerous health consequences. I reflected on the effect of food in my body and decided that it was time to make some changes and even create healthy habits that can last.

So, this is nothing more than an opportunity for reflection and change. Think about the choices that you are making in college and the type of lifestyle that those choices are leading to. Do you think that you need some change?

If the answer is yes, then what is your next step?

Manuela Burbano


May 1

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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