Everyone expects that with the changes of going off to school, there is the possibility of weight gain. The “Freshman 15” is something you always hear jokey warnings about as you’re getting prepped to ship off to wherever your Twin XL bed awaits you. For me, I always had that “I’m active, I’ll be fine” mindset. I ate what seemed to be equivalent to what I had been having at home, started school on the ultimate frisbee team, and walked most places.
I had always bought clothes a little loose so, at first, I didn’t particularly notice anything. When you see yourself every day, it’s harder to see gradual changes. I was going to practice, keeping up with how I had previously performed, and didn’t feel the initial changes. And, as I started to feel more fatigued, there were excuses for my increased tiredness like change in environment, lack of sleep, and difference in schedule. There were so many variables that there was no way for me to pin anything down.
As my freshman year started to come to a close I started to notice that clothes were tighter, I wasn’t feeling exactly myself but, I could just blame all of those “changes” on how I was feeling. Next year would be better, I shouldn’t worry.
Well. . . I should have. That “Freshman 15” was actually a “Freshman 30” which was compounded by a “Sophomore 25” and a “Junior 15.”
I continued to make excuses that put the blame on anything but me. I didn’t make any changes or try to address the problem. I just got new clothes and moved forward. Buying bigger pants was easier than recognizing that I had failed at the one thing I have control over, preserving my health.
As I transitioned out of that environment and with the elimination of a meal plan as a main source of food, I began cooking all of my food. I love cooking so this wasn’t too much of a task but, when you’re not just arbitrarily choosing from a buffet line majority of the time, you become much more aware of all that is going into your body. I saw the sticks of butter disappearing as fast as they came into my apartment, the fatty pieces marbled into all of the meat I made, and the amount of milk I was going through weekly to make my morning latte. It all just started to click that there was no one to blame but myself. I was eating too much fat, too many refined grains, and justified it by the seemingly healthy meals I doused with heavy sauces.
I started to take notice of what I was eating and realized that no matter how many “changes” were thrown at me, I was always the one accountable for how my health changed. It was mine after all. As I started to home in on what I was doing wrong I started to see a pound or two shed every month or so but I still wasn’t really committing to anything. I switched my latte for an americano and went a bit lighter on the butter but that wasn’t anything groundbreaking. I needed to make a change.
Finally, after all of my procrastination and avoidance, I made a real change. And that change led to another one, and one after that. And, although I’m still far from where I want to be, I am getting closer and starting to see the path in front of me I had kept out of focus for so long.
If you want to read more about those changes I made, please check out my first post: