Fighting the Fear of the Freshman 15 (part two) 

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   


Fighting the Fear of the Freshman 15 (part one) 

Almost every student has gotten the warning of the dreaded freshman fifteen before they even step foot on a college campus. You may have seen it talked about in movies or on the cover of your favorite magazines. You most likely even have heard about it from your friends and family. 

The idea that everyone gains fifteen pounds their freshman year of college has taken society by storm. We are all warned to stay away from the unlimited plates at the dining halls or sugary drinks that may be offered to us at parties, all because they can cause the number on the scale to increase. 

The beginning of your college career comes with so many things to worry about. How will I find my classes? What will my new friends be like? Am I going to be homesick? How much weight you may gain or what your body looks like should be the least of your worries.  

The beginning of freshman year is also one of the most exciting times in anyone’s life. Never before have you had so many new opportunities waiting for you. If you spend all your time worrying about potentially gaining weight, you are going to miss out on so many great experiences. It is just not worth it. 

The matter of the fact is the freshman fifteen is also simply just a myth. Numerous studies have found the average weight gain is far lower than fifteen pounds. In fact, many students do not see a change in their weight or may even lose some weight during the first year at college.  

Even if you do see a change in your body during your freshman year, so what? As long as you are happy and healthy, there is no reason to try to change the way that you look. Trying to hold on to your high school body forever is impossible. It is normal for everyone to go through different phases of their lives where their bodies transition in some way or another.  

Each and every body changes as it ages over the course of each decade. By the age of 17-19 your body is still far from being done with growing. For both men and women, bone and muscle mass reach their mass peak sometime during their late teenager years or their early twenties. It is also common for your metabolism to start slowing down around the age of 20. Even if you keep the same food and exercise habits as you did in high school, your body may react differently. This means that the body you enter college with is not the body you will be leaving college with. 

Also, during this time, students are likely to be going through some emotionally challenging events. For the first time, you will be on your own as an independent adult trying to figure out your social and personal lives. It is easy to begin to feel overwhelmed and even lost, which can have damaging effects on not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.  

These potential challenges to your mental and physical health are far more important to worry about than your weight. It is important to stay proactive rather than reactive when it comes to your health. Check out part two of this series to learn about ways to deal with the fear of the freshman fifteen.  


-Kayla Miedrzynski, Body Project Student Assistant   

6 Strategies for Balancing Studying and Self-Care During Stressful Times

1. Start studying early 

If possible, avoid cramming at the last minute for a test. Try starting a week or two in advance and carving out 20-30 minutes per day to focus on studying. Giving yourself more time will help you to commit the content to memory. It will also help you to balance the content, manage your time, and avoid increased stress and anxiety at the last minute. 

2. Find a study environment that fits your needs 

Do you prefer to study in quiet environments alone, or with a group? You know yourself best. Try to create an environment that best fits your study style. Do your best to eliminate distractions. If it helps, you can move your phone (or other distractors) to another room while you study. 

3. Use study strategies that work well for you 

Study strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all. Try finding a method that best fits your own learning style. If something isn’t working for you, switch it up! Here are just a few examples of study techniques: 

  • Pretend you are teaching the content to someone else. If you have a roommate, friend, partner, family member, or even a pet, you can practice with them. If not, you can always practice alone. If you can clearly and thoroughly explain the content, it demonstrates how well you know the material.  
  • Create flashcards for key terms and concepts. 
  • Write down your notes and color code them. Get creative! Try creating visuals, rhymes, acronyms, or patterns to make connections and help you remember the content. 
  • Pick a topic and write down everything you know about it without looking at your notes. 
  • Create your own practice tests. 
  • Work with a classmate and quiz each other on key concepts. Discussing the content, bouncing ideas off each other, and quizzing each other will help expand your understanding of the content. 
  • Break larger, complex topics and theories down into specific examples. Think about how you would apply it in practice.  
  • Create a mock lesson plan, study guide, or outline for the content you are studying. 
  • Identify connections between themes and topics. Create diagrams, charts, or lists. 

4. Take breaks 

Taking breaks will help with your concentration, ability to focus, and overall productivity. Building in breaks can also help you prioritize caring for yourself. Set a timer to remind yourself to step away and take a break. For example, for every 30 minutes of work, stop and take a break.  

5. Take care of yourself and maintain healthy habits 

Studying can be stressful. Your grades and productivity are not reflections of your self-worth. Remember to prioritize taking care of yourself as you study. Self-care isn’t selfish! 

  • Stay hydrated. 
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. 
  • Move your body in a way that feels good for you. 
  • Eat nutritious food. 
  • Spend time outside. 
  • Engage in mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation practices. Examples can include deep breathing, body scans, guided meditations, yoga, and more. 
  • Spend time with loved ones. 
  • Make time for activities and hobbies you enjoy. 
  • Give yourself time to rest and recharge, even if that means doing nothing at all. 

6. Ask for help when you need it

If you are having trouble understanding the class material or would like some extra help, reach out for support. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Try reaching out to your instructor, TA, or a trusted classmate. Go to office hours. There are also many campus resources available to support you including the Dennis Learning Center, The Writing Center, the Younkin Success Center, Disability Services, the Mathematics and Statistics Learning Center, and University Libraries 


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant

The New Best Diet 

Chocolate = bad  
Salad = good 
Pizza = bad 
Vegetables = good 

Isn’t it tiring having all of these “good” and “bad” labels racing through your head, controlling your thoughts, as you decide on what to eat? Now, imagine if you stopped categorizing food as “good” and “bad” and listened to what your body craved instead. 

The new best diet is having no diet: it is listening to your body and eating intuitively. Intuitive eating is the concept of listening to your hunger cues and what your body is craving and allowing yourself to have it, no matter what it may be.  

This concept may be hard to digest at first. When I first came across the idea of intuitive eating, I did not believe in it at all. In fact, I thought it was ridiculous. I didn’t understand how eating whatever I wanted could do any good for my physical health, mental health, or my appearance. I thought that if I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I would never stop binging and eating the foods that I thought were “bad” for me.  

When you restrict your body of what it needs, it can lead to extreme hunger and uncontrollable cravings. This can then trigger your body to go into binge mode, where you feel out of control with your eating. After binge eating however, you feel guilty, so you start to restrict again. Only, restriction doesn’t work for long, because you eventually end up going through the cycle again. This is known as the binge-restrict cycle, and it can have negative physical and emotional effects on you. 

After focusing on intuitively eating for over a year now, I can say that it has tremendously helped to heal my relationship with food by eliminating the binge-restrict cycle from my life. Some days I want a burger with fries, so I will eat a burger with fries. Other days, I want a salad, so I will eat a salad. Allowing my body to listen to its cravings has tremendously helped me with overcoming binge eating. Not only is intuitive eating something that has worked for me personally, but many studies about intuitive eating have been conducted, and they all show very positive results.  

Starting to focus on intuitive eating can seem very daunting at first, and it is totally okay if it does not initially come naturally. It is so hard to break the repetitive patterns of dieting that society has ingrained into our heads. Even as someone who whole-heartedly advocates for intuitive eating, I still struggle every once in a while to do it myself. 

You can start practicing intuitive eating by asking yourself, “Am I hungry right now?” If you answer yes to that question, you can then ask, “What am I craving?” After choosing what you would like to eat and allowing yourself to have it, be in tune with how your stomach and body is feeling. If you are full before finishing all of your food, there is no pressure to force yourself to finish it. If you finish your food and still feel hungry, go for some more! There are no strict rules with intuitive eating: just principles to help guide you and your body to a healthier relationship with food. 

Overall, intuitive eating has allowed me to have the best relationship with food that I have had in many years. Allowing your body to have freedom with food frees up so much of your time and energy. Instead of spending unnecessary time thinking about what foods you can and cannot have, you can spend time doing activities that will enhance and fulfill your life instead. I highly encourage you to give intuitive eating a try and start to better your relationship with food. Intuitive eating has changed my relationship with food for the better, and I hope it will have a positive impact on yours as well.  

-Kelly Lin, Body Project Student Assistant