"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." -Confucius
It’s probably the most cliche phrase you’ll hear when entering college. “Watch out for the freshman 15!” “Oh, just wait for that freshman 15!” The daunting two letter banality is up there with “college will be the best time of your life” and “work hard, play hard!”
Well, as it turns out, the latter two are true. Freshman year was the best year of my life thus far, and I worked awfully hard to play hard. But, that first one? I was convinced that the freshman 15 was simply not going to happen to me. I’ve been an athlete my entire life. You name the physical activity, I’ve tried it: soccer, dance, softball, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, cross country, snow-skiing, waterskiing. The list can go on. I never worried much about weight.
While I had certainly gained and lost five pounds here and there throughout high school, I was good about hitting the gym and eating healthy foods.
The freshman 15 hit me like a brick, if you’ll allow me another cliche.
Three months into school, and I could feel the pounds around my mid-section and hips. At first, I ignored it. I had been stricken with mononucleosis in September which kept me out of the gym.
“I’ll lose this in no time,” I thought.
Then, another month would go by, and I would be no thinner. I continued working out 3-4 times every week, but hid myself in winter sweaters. When half of my jeans stopped fitting, I switched to yoga pants and leggings.
I began to get frustrated by February. Why am I still gaining weight!? I turned to my two best girlfriends. One sympathized with me and complained of her own weight gain. The other, my roommate, was still in perfectly, flat-stomach shape! Didn’t we all eat and workout together? What was going on?
When I returned home for the summer in April, I was secretly devastated. I knew I felt the heaviest I’d ever been, and a trip to waterski camp in one week meant bikini season was just around the corner. Both parents continually commented on the increasing width of my face and questioned my wisdom in eating another handful of nuts.
I was going crazy.
On a trip to the doctor’s office, I was asked to step onto the scale. The number was a rude-awakening. I had not gained the freshman 15. I had gained the freshman 25.
Now, I’m 7 weeks into my summer at home. I’m working out in the gym at least twice per week and waterskiing 4-5 times a week. But, the biggest change has been what I put into my body. College allows so many people to gain weight because of what, how much, and how often you start to eat. I put together a list of things I wish I would have known:
Ah, the freshman 15, or in my case, the freshman 25. It proved as true as the other “going to college” cliches. Now, I’m spending my summer focusing on removing that awful truism. Skinny shouldn’t matter, but feeling fit and good about body affects my day-to-day life.
So for next year, I’m on a mission to achieve a new cliche. This one is just for me. This one’s called the sophomore slim.