Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

From Freshman Fifteen to a Healthy Lifestyle: My Journey

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

I’ve always struggled with my weight. Throughout my whole life I was always the chubby one despite doing ballet, tap, and gymnastics from the ages of 4-10. But, because of that physical activity, my chubbiness was largely held at bay.

After giving it up when I was heading into middle school, it was obvious I was gaining weight, but at 11 and 12 you don’t really care how you look. At least I didn’t. Sure, that’s the time crushes start, but I’d gone to school with the same boys my whole life. Once you watch a boy go through puberty you can’t ever look at them in a romantic way in my opinion. So I never felt pressured to be pretty or skinny for the boys at school.

When I got to high school, that changed a lot. There were new boys to impress and more girls to compete with, even if they were my best friends. I was beginning to feel the pressure to look “perfect” and, for me, that meant being skinny like the rest of my friends.

When I got my first boyfriend a couple months into my freshman year of high school, the pressure subsided a bit. I had someone who loved me and my body. But there were still moments when he’d grunt as I’d got up from sitting on his lap or I’d have to switch legs so everything was distributed evenly. I even went so far as to not even put my whole weight on him because I was scared of what would happen and what he would say. I was insecure as all hell and I didn’t want him to dump me because of it.

We ended up breaking up because he was moving away, but that definitely led to a spike in my insecurities again. I no longer had someone telling me I was beautiful every day and saying I was good enough. The pressure to find a new boy who thought of me that way was on and it was something I never quite got over.

I had other boyfriends throughout high school. And my first bad break up. After almost a year together I got dumped by my first love and that tripled my insecurities. Let’s just say this wasn’t the healthiest relationship and getting told, “I don’t love you anymore” really makes you wonder why you weren’t good enough. I knew I was smart and funny and a devoted girlfriend, so naturally my mind said it had to be the way I looked. Regardless of the real reasons we broke up, it really sparked insecurities that I carried with me through graduation and into college.

I’m gonna point out right now that my weight fluctuated a ton throughout high school. Just for reference I’m 5’5’’ and pretty curvy. Between my freshman and senior years of high school I dropped 20 pounds from playing soccer, basketball, and being on a relatively strict low carb diet and gained about 10 back before leaving for college. While I had insecurities, looking back, I was relatively happy with how I looked.

Freshman year of college presented some new challenges for me. I had obviously heard about the freshman fifteen (I mean who hasn’t) and I came to college with bulk boxes of snacks courtesy of Costco and a dining hall in my building with a dining plan that allowed me to eat as much as I wanted. But, I had resolved that I was not going to gain the freshman fifteen. I had plans to work out and eat right and maintain my figure because I had grown pretty content with it.

I was pretty good about my diet for the first couple of months, but the gym never happened because I didn’t make the time. I figured I walked everywhere during the day so I got a decent amount of physical activity in.

This all changed when winter rolled around. I had been able to eat most of what I wanted because of how much I was doing during the day in terms of walking to classes and back and forth from west campus to see my friends.

But, when winter rolled around, I got lazy and didn’t want to trudge through the cold and the snow so I began taking the T much more often. I kept eating the same ways (which wasn’t the healthiest), but was getting much less exercise so my weight went way up.

I had sort of noticed I was gaining weight, but my clothes still fit so I didn’t think anything of it. That was until I went to the doctor in February. I was home for the weekend and not feeling well so I went to urgent care with my mom and they did all the standard height and weight stuff and when I stepped on the scale and the number came up my mother and I shared a look of disbelief.

190 pounds.

Now, this is really hard for me because I don’t like talking about my weight, let alone saying the number for all to see or hear. But I feel it’s important to mention because I want that to sink in. I had managed to gain 45 pounds in 2 years, 30 of which was over the course of my first semester and a half of college. Crazy, right?

The difference is noticeable in my face and, if there was a full body shot, you’d be able to see it there. But I didn’t take a lot of pictures freshman year and I’m kind of glad. I don’t like to be reminded of this low point too much.

Of all the photos I have, this is the one where you can most clearly see the amount of weight I gained. Honestly, I get nauseous even looking at it because I keep asking myself how I let it get to this.

Needless to say, once that doctor’s appointment was over, I had a breakdown and decided I needed to change. I couldn’t live this way because a) it’s not healthy and b) I was not at all happy with myself.

It was a hard journey, but over the period from March to the present I have made drastic changes. While still in school last year I went to the gym a bit and made much healthier choices, namely staying away from carbs. By the time I went home for the summer I was down 15 pounds. It wasn’t as much as I wanted, but it was a good start.

Over the summer, I joined a gym and worked out for two hours a day, five to six days a week, working on cardio by way of roughly 12-18 miles on the spinning bike every day and about a mile and a half on the treadmill through an app called Couch to 5K (I HIGHLY recommend it to people trying to get into running because it eases you into the process). I also did weight training, copious amounts of squats, core exercises, and worked on toning my body.

Let me tell you, I’m someone who hates running and working out, but it made a huge difference and I’ve grown to enjoy it. The other major change I made was completely changing my diet. To put it simply, one of the ways you can lose weight is to put yourself in a calorie deficit, meaning you intake less than you burn. I was on a very strict diet that put me in a deficit to a point where I had energy to workout and go to my job every day, but also so that it was working. You can’t go too extreme or it can get dangerous so do your research and be very careful.

Between these two major changes over the course of six months, I’ve dropped 40 pounds. The difference is noticeable in my face, my body, how my clothes fit, and how I feel. I’m now happy when I look in the mirror compared to six months ago when I couldn’t even look at myself.

These days, I’m still working towards my goal weight, but I’m much happier doing it. I’m still strict about my diet, but the occasional cheat day (or weekend) is something I’m highly in support of. Depriving yourself just means binging and that’s never a good thing (unless it is Netflix related). I’m much happier about my appearance and that makes me happier in general.

Do I still have work to do? Of course. I’d like to lose a bit more weight which is why I’m taking advantage of BU student access to Sargent Nutrition by way of taking workshops and meeting with a nutritionist every other week to figure out a plan that is best for me and my lifestyle here at BU.

I can’t be on the same diet and workout routine as I was in the summer; I’m busier which means I have less time for working out and I need more energy throughout the day which means more food. But, I’m working to find a plan that is going to work for me, not for just right now and to lose the weight, but to make into a lifestyle for the long term.

Has it been a long and hard journey? Yes. Did I want to just give up and eat donuts? Of course. But am I happy I stuck with it? Beyond happy.

This was hard for me to share. I’ll be honest, I really don’t speak about this a lot, but I felt I needed to share. I know not everyone gains the freshman fifteen and that everyone has different diets or exercises regimens, but I just wanted to put this out there for those of you struggling or who can relate. I was convinced the freshman fifteen was a myth, but it is a very real thing when you have constant access to a dining hall and takeout food. The struggle is there for so many of us and my story is just one of many.

So, to those of you struggling, I feel your pain, but just stick with your plan and I promise you’ll get results. It may not be fast and its most definitely not going to be easy, but the hard work will pay off and you’ll thank yourself for sticking with it.


Have a good weekend lovelies and remember, we’ve all got struggles. You’re never alone <3


Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets

Hi, I'm Arianna! I'm a senior at Boston University majoring in journalism. I love cats, food, hockey, and anything beauty related. I write about "How to College" and what has helped me in my transition process from tiny high school to huge university. I hope you enjoy!
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.