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The Freshman 15 is Real: Dealing with Body Image

    When I first entered college, many of my friends and family talked about how terrible the Freshman 15 is (when a student gains around 15 pounds throughout their first year of college) and how to avoid gaining that extra weight. Coming in already insecure about my weight, I found myself constantly stepping onto the scale to ensure I wasn’t gaining that extra 15 pounds. 

    To cut to the chase, let’s just say I failed in that goal. Midterms season hit and stress eating hit even harder. Seeing the numbers on the scale gradually go up throughout the semester not only heightened my insecurities but it also left me constantly obsessing over what I was eating. I kept thinking that if I could just get back to the weight I originally was when I entered college, I would be happy. 

    However, many of my friends entered college and ended up losing weight because they lost their appetite during midterms/finals and they opened up about how insecure they felt about being too skinny and looking like just a “pile of bones.” As they started expressing their own insecurities with being “too skinny,” I realized that no matter how much weight I gain or lose, I will never be confident in myself if I don’t change my mindset first. 

    If you can stop obsessing over the numbers on a scale and start reflecting on how to love your body at any weight, gradually you’ll stop feeling insecure about how your jeans fit or how you look in a tank top. No amount of weight loss/weight gain will ever be enough if you don’t see yourself as enough to begin with. I’m not saying that I feel great about my body all the time now, and there are still days that I feel insecure about how much I weigh. It’s okay to feel that way. Instead of trying to achieve the perfect weight, I process those emotions and remind myself that my weight doesn’t make me beautiful. Now, I challenge every single person, not just incoming freshmen or women who feel insecure about their weight, but everyone, to start reflecting on why you feel insecure in the first place. Is it really because of the number on the scale or is it because of what you’ve been led to believe about what that number labels you as? 

    Whether you gain weight or lose weight, I challenge you to start loving your body. Instead of viewing your workouts as a way to attain your “goal weight,” think about them as a way to make you feel your best each and every day. Let’s stop viewing the Freshman 15 as something we should avoid at all costs and start viewing it as the normal weight gain/loss that it is.

Cassandra Shin currently serves as the President of Her Campus at Baylor and is a senior majoring in Professional Writing & Rhetoric at Baylor University. She was born and raised in Austin, Texas and enjoys the constant live music around the city. When Cassandra isn't studying or in class, you can find her on spontaneous adventures with friends, performing, tending to her plants, learning new things or reading. She absolutely loves the Harry Potter books, meaningful conversations with people, spending time with Jesus, and writing.
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