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Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle as a College Student

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

March is National Nutrition Month, and I have been feeling inspired recently to share my personal experience with maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout college.

We often hear the saying “freshman fifteen” when talking about the transition from high school to college. To me, it seemed like a bad thing to experience the freshman fifteen. I felt like the stigma lead to a lot of unhealthy habits for me in my first and second years of college. I began college in 2020, so there was not much to do other than go to class and study. My roommate had moved out of our dorm room less than two weeks after the semester had started, leaving me in a half-empty dorm room in a new city surrounded by people I had never met before. A lot of other freshmen experience something like this, too. It felt as if everything I had dreamed about when starting college was now becoming a nightmare. The feeling of loneliness settled in, leaving me alone with my thoughts more frequently than I would like.

My whole life has been surrounded by food. I grew up with a lengthy list of food allergies at a time when eating gluten-free and allergy-friendly was not as popular as it is today. Because of this, I have continued my passion for health and nutrition as a nutrition and dietetics major. I wanted to be able to give advice to someone someday who was going through the same thing I was when I received my diagnosis as a child. Weight became an issue when I used my food allergies as an excuse not to eat a proper diet. Food became an enemy and I resented my friends who were able to eat anything.

The stigma of gaining weight in your freshman year can lead to many different issues. The biggest ones that are experienced by students are stress-related eating that can turn into more serious issues such as negative body image. Health has always been an important factor throughout my life, so I went into my freshman year with the mindset that I would eat healthily and go to the gym regularly. Then the reality of college during a pandemic hit. I found it hard to keep these goals and they soon became something I worried about. I was no longer keeping a healthy lifestyle, but I was doing anything possible to prevent the freshman fifteen even if it was unhealthy. We stress so often that we should maintain a healthy body, but a healthy body looks different for everyone. Our bodies are constantly changing due to continuing development or major life changes.

To help combat this stigma in my own life, I learned more about listening to my body rather than what I was reading on social media. I had to learn that food was not an enemy, but rather something that could give me energy and boost my mood throughout the day. It is important to keep in mind that our bodies change throughout our life and we will not always look the same. Embrace any changes during your time in college and listen to what your body is telling you. Health at any size looks different for everyone.

Haley Slagel

Bradley U '24

My name is Haley Slagel and I am a senior Nutrition and Dietetics major. I love everything about food and talking about it. I also have a cat named Minnie who I love and adore!