The Freshmen 15…AKA A Lot More in My CaseMaria A Hernandez

Friends, it is as real as it gets when it comes to college weight gain.

I’ve been there and done that. Actually, for me it wasn’t just 15 pounds. It was more like…a lot. It sucked. I wasn’t happy about it at all. Then again, I wasn’t doing a whole lot to fix the problem either. Panda Express is delicious and I had access to it all the time. So what did I do? I ate Panda Express all the time…

…and Chick-Fil-A (pre-fiasco), Jimmy Johns, Chipotle, Johnny Rockets and a whole lot of other unhealthy food. Apple pies will always have a special place in my heart. Spending my weekends watching all the TV and movies I possibly could, probably wasn’t very good for me either.

It was no surprise that I gained almost 40 pounds in college. It makes me feel faint just to think about it. I’d look at my body and think, “What have I done?” Because, in my case, it was all my doing.

In high school, I’d been quite active. I was in the marching band (you would be surprised at how physically demanding it is) and was also subjected to two years of physical education. I was working out a lot. In addition to that, I didn’t really have a lot of opportunity to eat out so, what I ate, in general, was a lot healthier.

In  college, I got majorly wrapped up in school. Everything else just didn’t matter anymore. So I stopped exercising and I ate everything I wanted. Cue gaining 38 pounds by the end of my junior year. I’m telling you, I went on a rampage. I was also using food as a way to de-stress which contributed significantly to my packing on the pounds.

Finally, my senior year I was too uncomfortable to keep up with my lifestyle. I felt tired all the time and I was sick a lot. I couldn’t really wear a lot of the clothes I wanted to because they weren’t flattering anymore. I was unhappy with myself so I finally decided to do I what I should have done at the end of my freshmen year: get a grip on my eating habits.

I still don’t eat as well as I should. I have a weakness for Coca-Cola. I could be poisoned with mac n’ cheese (side note: I try mac n’ cheese at all major restaurants because I’m trying to figure out who makes the best mac n’ cheese…so far the Hard Rock Cafe is winning). However, I’m really trying to eat better. I still need to drink more water though, and yeah, I’m still not done losing weight.

College freshmen, listen to me, keep exercising. Try to eat relatively healthily. It’s hard to lose weight. It’s better to live a healthy lifestyle because then you won’t have to go through the shittiness of having to revamp what you eat and re-learn how to exercise.

However, if you’re in my boat, it’s totally do-able to get your life back in order. I’m not quite to the point that I would like to be, but I am working on it.

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  1. My weight fluctuated in college but I’m happy to say even after being in a relationship for 6+ years I weigh less now than when we met. What worries me more is how having a kid or kids will change my body. Women in my family tend to have a hard time losing all the baby weight. Maintaining a healthy weight for me is about not depriving myself of what I want to eat completely; I eat smaller portions. I do need to get better about exercise. Finding the time to exercise was so much *easier* in college than it is now that I’m working full time!

  2. I am in 100% agreement. I was very active in high school and in college I was trying to fit in, joined a sorority and before you know it gained close to 30 lbs by junior year. It didnt get any better after that. I fluctuated here and there with weight and I can say now 7 years later, I am at one of the healthiest points in my life. I I lost the weight from college plus some. I encourage college students to enjoy college but make sure you are making healthier choices and for those who graduated that just dont know where to start, talk to you family (and friends). I talked to my mom about health problems in my family and its what jumpstarted me to getting healthy, i dont want to be in a position to jeapordize my health as I get older. Step two join the gym or join classes whatever suits you and your schedule. Step three start eating healthier foods! There are so many recipies out there to help guide you in making good (and tasty) choices! You will get there, I promise! :-)

    PS if you have a bad day, week or weekend, its OK. Just refocus…:-)

  3. The Hard Rock totally has the best Mac and Cheese!

  4. I’m right there with you! My freshman year I gained about 20-25 lbs. In high school I was in marching band, swimming, track, and volleyball. I was extremely active. Insert the trek completely across campus up hills and through snow that at some spots was easily up to my hips. And don’t forget that the cafeteria was practically right outside my dorm’s door. I have yet to lose the weight and finding it incredibly hard to find the motivation to do so. I’m not happy with the way I look, but for once I’m comfortable in my own skin.

  5. this is the one thing i am worried about. i am already two thirds through my first semester at Cornell but have only gained three pounds. i’d like to keep it that way or lose a lot.