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Finding the Balance Between the Sweets and the Salad

Each night, after dinner in my sorority house, I see the dirty dishes bussed into the kitchen and new paper plates and spoons out on display. These signs signal to me it is time to run upstairs, away from the kitchen, in fear that the dessert that is on its way may tempt me. I, as well as most people not only my age, but in society as a whole, struggle when it comes to eating patterns. Trying to find a manageable balance between making the right choices to benefit us physically and nutritionally, but also remembering that every now and then, a little bit of dessert won’t kill us, is a hard task. Although it’s easy to have this mentality in the back of your head, many, including myself, get caught up in “eating perfectly,” often shivering at the thought of a carb or gram of sugar. After a recent incident however, in which I was able to reevaluate the important parts of life, I was able to wipe the cloud of judgment though to gain a better perspective on how important moderation truly is.

When I got to college I knew that the “freshmen fifteen” awaited me and figured I would not simply fall victim to this inevitable future, but instead be proactive. I exercised daily, tried to make my plate as green as possible, and limited my late-night eating, engaging in the “Pizza House craze” for only special occasions like when I had a visitor. I was so focused on avoiding this weight gain at all costs, I often let this get the best of me, to the point where it got in the way of my life. I wouldn’t hang out with my friends if there was the littlest thought in my mind it could result in binge eating or some type of indulgence.

However, one day I had an epiphany. I realized that all of the work I was doing just simply was not necessary. I was going into overdrive for no reason. Would that one slice of cheesy bread really kill me? Would I blow up if I got ice cream with my friend? That’s when it all hit me: avoiding the freshman fifteen DOES NOT mean avoiding treats all together. I finally understood the “balance” that everyone would always speak of. I continued to exercise daily and eat greens, but I began to add some dessert and snacks to my diet. I finally felt like I didn’t have to run from the freshman fifteen, literally. I could avoid it, but I didn’t have to avoid the simple pleasures of eating something delicious. So, my advice to all freshmen and future freshmen – I encourage you to avoid gaining the infamous first-year weight, but I also encourage that you find a balance and still know that YOU CAN experience moments of the freshman fifteen, just don’t make it a lifestyle. So, order that late night cheesy bread and try a freshly baked cookie in the dining hall, just know a trip to the CCRB may follow the next day!

Images courtesy of: The Fit Indian and Let’s Reboot

Julia Maxman is a Freshman at the University of Michigan from New Jersey. GO BLUE!
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