So how can you go about dealing with the pressures surrounding the idea of the freshman 15?
The first step is learning ways to combat any negative talk you may hear regarding the freshman 15 or any other college weight gain. Because this kind of talk has become so normalized, others may not be aware of the harm they may cause by bringing these topics up to incoming freshman. To make sure you prevent talk like this from bringing you down, try to challenge yourself to respond to these negative body talk statements in a purposeful way.
If someone tries to warn you of the freshman 15, try telling them that it is simply a myth or that you will be happy with your body no matter your weight. You can also explain why statements such as those might be harmful to hear. If these seem too challenging to do, just try changing the subject.
Besides avoiding negative body image talk, there are many ways to ensure you take steps to feeling better about yourself. At the end of the day, it’s your body, not anyone else’s, so you’re the only one who needs to like it.
Here are a few simple steps to staying healthy and happy during your first year at college:
- Avoid diets.
Studies have found that those who start a new diet their freshman year are more likely to gain weight. They also may be more likely to develop an eating disorder as well. Instead of dieting, practice intuitive eating. Intuitive eating involves eating whatever your body craves whenever you want it, guilt free.
- Make sure not to skip meals
Skipping meals can lead to some of the same effects of dieting. It can also prevent you from having enough energy to perform well academically throughout the day. If you find yourself struggling to find time to eat in-between classes or other commitments, try keeping healthy snacks on hand to grab in a hurry.
- Drink enough water
One study found that only about 15% of college students were drinking enough water each day. Water is important for every part of your body to function, especially your brain. Make sure to drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water each day.
- Get plenty of sleep
Living minutes, or even seconds, away from your friends or a seemingly endless list of assignments can lead to many late nights during your college career. Not getting enough sleep can be extremely detrimental to your health. Try to get between at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night to make sure you are fully rested and have enough energy to take on the day.
- Schedule time for yourself
With the introduction of several new commitments including a rigorous academic schedule your first semester at OSU, it can be easy to forget to make time for yourself. Remembering to take care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. To do so, find time to destress and relax in your favorite ways for at least a few minutes every single day.
- Find time to move
Make time in your daily schedule to get some type of physical fitness in. This could come from taking a walk around campus or trying one of the RPAC’s group fitness classes. Doing so will not only help you take steps in the right direction for your physical health, but it can also be a great stress reliever.
- Utilize Ohio State’s many resources
Ohio State has a ton of really great resources available to all students! Check out all the programs the Student Wellness Center offers including nutrition coaching and the body project to specifically work on any fears you may have surrounding college and body image.
-Kayla Miedrzynski, Body Project Student Assistant