The Five Stages of your 'Freshman 15'

“There’s no way the Freshman 15 is a real thing!” You leave for school doubtful that it will actually happen to you, but then you start to experience the five stages of grief. 

 

Denial

When you arrive at school, you realize the actual definition of temptation: eating at the dining halls. You have never been surrounded by so many food options and you’re eager to try them all. However, you constantly gravitate towards the comfort foods you’re familiar with. The unlimited amount of pizza you’ve always dreamed of piling high on your plate is now a reality. No one is around anymore to force you to consume your greens or bicker with you about eating a balanced meal. Now, your vegetable of choice is whichever form of potato they serve that day and your everyday salad trades places with your once a week bowl of ice cream. But it’s okay, bikini season’s over anyway. Plus, with all of your long walks around campus, there’s no way you will gain that much weight. 

 

Anger 

You went home for the first time in over a month and you struggled to get on the skinny jeans that fit you like a glove just at the end of the summer. Did you really gain that much? All you've been wearing lately are hoodies because it's been so cold. Your parent's homemade meals make you realize you’re having your first meal in weeks that isn’t completely carbs and dairy. As you look hard into the mirror, you don’t see any difference, but you also wonder, “When was the last time I hit the gym?” You step on your scale and it’s only five pounds more than when you weighed yourself last; that’s easy weight to shed. You head back to school ready to regain your summer body, swearing off all junk food and committing to the 8 a.m. cycling class tomorrow. It’s time to get back into your gym routine because you will not be another victim of the Freshman 15.

 

Bargaining 

It’s the weekend. All three dining halls are closed for the night, but you’re starving. All your friends are going out to get mozzarella sticks and nothing has ever sounded more appetizing. It’s been almost three weeks of eating healthy and working out, so you deserve to treat yourself. The next day, the dining hall has your favorite cookies, fresh and warm out of the oven. Ooh, that melted chocolate! You think about how you ate last night, but you also consider how diligent you’ve been these past few weeks. A few cookies won’t hurt; it will be a cheat weekend. You tell yourself you’ll do an extra set at the gym later to make up for the past few days, except you end up doing the same workout as you always do. As long as you don't eat too poorly, what's the harm in indulging a little?

 

Depression 

You’re so busy with classes right now that you haven’t made it to the gym in weeks. While you struggle to find an hour to work out in your “hectic” schedule, you also spend almost all your free time watching Netflix in bed. You’re sick and tired of eating the same healthy meal every week and any other nutritious option available sounds so unappetizing. You debate if the walk over to the dining hall is even worth it. Eventually, you just make some instant ramen instead. The only thing you can focus on anymore is the home-cooked meals you can have when you leave for break. Oh, how you miss your family’s cooking. You just have to push through to the end of the semester. 

 

Acceptance 

Finals are quickly approaching and the stress is real. The last thing you want to worry about is what you're eating, and you fall into an effortless routine. In the morning, you shove two granola bars in your bag and buy a large iced coffee, extra sweet. At night, you alternate between having a bagel or cereal, with the occasional sandwich taking the place of one of them. Ordering Dominos to your room seems like the only viable option. You can’t possibly take a break from studying because of the frightening thought of failure; at this point eating healthy is irrelevant. When was the last time you tried on those skinny jeans? It must've been months ago because you haven't bothered to pick out a decent outfit since midterms, wearing sweats on the daily. Once you go home, you can get back into shape, but for now, you must accept that the Freshman 15 ate you. 

 

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