Why I'm Grateful For My Freshman Fifteen

*Trigger warning: mild description of eating disorder behaviors 

This time last year, I was unable to hold any food down. I had a bacterial infection that caused me to lose around 30 pounds. I gained most of my weight back over the summer with the help of doctors. When I got to college, I began eating a lot due to homesickness, sadness, and birth control side effects. I’m on Depo right now, which is a birth control shot that can cause you to gain weight. Now, I eat until I am satisfied and full, which is the happy medium.  I didn’t necessarily gain 15 pounds, but I did gain some weight when I came to college. It isn't noticeable to others, but I have started hitting the gym to get my confidence back. Most days, I don't like my body. But here are a few things I think about to help me learn to accept my new body and feel grateful for it. 

  1. 1. My weight gain shows I have access to food

    I am lucky to be able to eat dinner every night. This is a privilege. Being thankful for the food I eat helps me feel less “guilty” about eating. 

  2. 2. My weight gain shows I am growing

    I can’t expect to have the same body I did when I was 16. That was a child’s body. My body is growing into a woman's body. Some of my old pants don't fit like they used to, and that's ok. I can just be thankful I am growing, both physically and mentally. 

  3. 3. I am becoming more active and aware of my body

    I used to hardly workout, not even stretch. Now that my body is changing, I do more to make sure it changes in a healthy way. I stretch every day and am starting to hit the gym more. I learned that working out is not a punishment, but a display of your body’s capabilities. I get to celebrate what my body is capable of every day.

  4. 4. I learned how to not base my value on my body

    I wasn't a better person when I was a few pounds skinnier. In fact, I feel much better now. I care less about how I look and more about how I feel. I realized I used to be hungry all the time. Eating more has made me happier and more energetic. I have learned to listen to what my body is telling me instead of tearing it down to fit into my jeans. 

I am not restrictive when I eat anymore. I understand that my body needs fuel and no food is “bad” food. I am not proud of my body yet, but I am proud of how I feel. It’s harder to wear crop tops after a meal sometimes, but I feel happy and full regardless.