The Freshman Fifteen

When I returned home in May after my first year away at school, I was approximately 20 pounds heavier than I was when I left in September (Although, that number could be off because it took me about a week to get on the scale in the first place, so it may have been closer to 25 pounds, we’ll never know!). Anyway, I couldn’t fit into too many of my clothes (even regular T shirts were a stretch), I had horrible stretch marks EVERYWHERE, and my face had swelled so badly it looked like my head was filled with air and ready to burst like a balloon. I was ashamed that I had let myself get so out of shape and overweight- after all, I had been a 3 sport athlete in high school and was on the club soccer team at Rowan, plus playing intramurals- how did this happen?

Well, they might mention this before you go to college, but they really don’t stress how much of an impact the change will have on your eating habits. I was eating dessert every single day- sometimes twice a day. I would order pizza with my friends at 11:00 p.m. We would walk to a store and I would buy donuts, popcorn, and cookies to eat. Sure, I made some good decisions by eating salad or making my own sandwich, but I really had no control and no idea what portion sizes were.

So, when I got home I made a decision: this summer was going to be the summer of me. I was going to do whatever I had to do to gain back my self-confidence and to start loving myself again. It was a tough start. Eating the right portion sizes was a real eye-opener for me because I had become accustomed to the all-you-can-eat buffet that I indulged in twice each day. So, naturally, I was hungry. I was also having horrible headaches from (most likely) sugar and salt withdraw. It took about a week for my body to get used to this new routine, but I still missed the ice cream and brownies and cookies. It’s not that I can’t eat those things, because I can eat anything, I would go crazy if I limited myself that much because I really do love food, the problem is that I still don’t have any control. I can’t just have one or two cookies, if it’s there, I could end up eating an entire sleeve. Self-control and resisting temptation is a difficult thing for me to overcome. I enjoy eating healthy. I’ve always loved vegetables and fruit, and I’ve never been a picky eater or someone who puts ketchup on everything. So eating healthy isn’t a problem for me, the problem is not eating unhealthy.

Besides eating, I have given up alcohol as well (for now!). That is probably the hardest part about all of this because many of my friends want to spend the night drinking in MY hot tub, mainly because there is nothing else to do here. Unfortunately, I have been avoiding those friends, and I know I will lose them if I don’t change this. I shouldn’t be ashamed of myself for trying to be healthier, and if my friends are real friends they should understand. I’ll work on it.

The final piece of my fitness plan puzzle is running. I was extremely embarrassed my first time out because it was much more difficult than I had expected. Less than a year ago I could run three miles without stopping, and now I struggle to do a quarter mile! It’s a tough thing to accept that I have to start from the bottom now, and that even my dad is in better shape than me, but that’s just how it is. So now I run and walk every day, and it has made such a difference in my life. Not only have I lost 14 pounds (only 6 pounds to go!), but I have more energy and I am more productive during the day. Settling into this routine makes me feel like an adult, instead of sleeping until noon and eating pizza for breakfast while combing through facebook for gossip. This experience has forced me to grow up, and it’s very exciting!

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