As a freshman in a new environment, college has been the ultimate test of whether I will defeat or be defeated by the “freshman 15”. For those who are unaware of what the “freshman fifteen” is, it’s a predictable amount of weight that many freshman college students gain during their first year. Logically, it makes sense that freshmen would gain this much weight as they adapt to their new environment. Temptation is everywhere. Especially at Miami. From buffet swipes to Pulley’s (which is open 24 hours, by the way), it almost seems as though Miami is encouraging us to saturate our body with trans fats. Well, I’m here to tell you to not fall into the trap! Although staying fit in college can be rough, it’s not impossible.
Let me begin my argument with some straight up facts about the corrupt educational system we take part in. Miami, like all other universities, loves money. Where do they get their money? Us! Our tuition, room & board, and whatever other scams they lure us into to get bills from our pockets to theirs. This includes our meal plans, ladies. All of the meal plans have a balance between dining dollars and swipes, depending on your preferences. And whatever plan you choose, you’re paying more than the value of the food. Personally, I chose the standard plan first semester that allowed for 14 meal swipes a week plus $500 in dining dollars. The one thing I learned, however, was that the buffet-style meal swipes pushed me to eat more. I was going up for seconds and sometimes thirds all because I had access to the food – not because it was particularly delicious or I was hungry. That’s where I went wrong.
So, I decided to switch to the more expensive dining plan that included 7 meal plans a week and $1100 in dining dollars. Although it was more expensive, it transformed the way I eat this semester. No longer do I feel pressure to eat a ton of food. I can grab a light snack or a small PROPORTIONAL lunch in between classes. I save my one swipe a day to have dinner with my friends in the dining hall and limit myself to one plate a sitting. Everything is great…right? Not exactly. I started to get into the habit of going to the vending machines and picking up bags of chips all the time because I could. Although I was eating less, I was eating crap. And it wasn’t until I realized this that I truly was able to thrive and be fit in college.
I didn’t go crazy. I didn’t get a calorie counting app. I didn’t work out for three hours every day. I just became conscious of what I was putting in my body. I realized that my body isn’t a trash can and that just because there’s food right in front of me, doesn’t mean I should eat it. I still eat junk food and indulge in fries, but I balance it out with workouts and at least one balanced meal a day. That’s what women in college don’t understand. Not only is there no ideal body or look you should go for because everyone is different, but there is no immediate weight loss plan that is healthy. Girls these days think that starving themselves or eating one crouton per meal will get them looking like a model. Spoiler alert: IT ISN’T TRUE. Dramatically changing your diet will only cause you to binge eat later or put your body in survival mode, causing you to keep the same weight until you give it the right nutrients.
Now you’re probably like, “I’ve heard this all before. Nothing works. I still want to constantly eat fourteen cookies and order McDonald’s to my dorm.” Maybe this article hasn’t told you anything new yet, but it’s about to. Here is my advice: listen to your body. Do not fixate on what has gluten in it or not. Do not only eat salads all the time, because, let’s be real. No matter how many pictures of women you see on the internet who have a hearty smile on their face when eating a salad, it is a scam! No salad tastes that good. No salad can make you laugh, either. Eat what you want to eat, when you want to eat it as long as your body welcomes it. It is so crucial to consume foods that you truly want to consume. Just be conscious that a certain food may look good now, but will cause you to feel terribly later. And be mindful of all of the food groups, making sure that you’re eating protein, veggies, and carbs at least once a day. It’s like a checklist. Be aware of your health habits, but don’t allow yourself to stress about them. If you do, you’ll develop a whole slew of new issues.