Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

As a college student, you’ve likely heard the term “Freshman 15,” a notion that students often gain around 15 pounds during their first year of college. As someone who has personally struggled to shake off this mindset and stigma around weight gain, I want to share my experience and offer some perspective on how to approach this common concern.

When I started college, I was excited about the seemingly endless opportunities that lay ahead. However, I soon found myself falling into unhealthy habits. With my mom no longer there to cook my beloved meals, I was eating from the nutritious dining hall, snacking extensively, and overall not practicing healthy consistent habits. I began to constantly feel self-conscious and worried about conforming to the “Freshman 15” stereotype.

However, it took me some time to realize that my fear of gaining weight was holding me back from fully enjoying my college experience. I was so aware of what I looked like at all times, fearing that I had changed or no longer looked the way I should. I was so focused on avoiding the “Freshman 15” that I couldn’t fully immerse myself in social settings without being self-conscious or hyper-aware of the way my body looked. It was, and still is, exhausting.

Although I’m not a perfectly confident person nowadays, here is what I’ve learned: while it’s important to be mindful of your health, it’s equally as important to not let the fear of weight gain control your life. Instead of obsessing over the number on the scale, focus on developing healthy habits that make you feel good, both physically and mentally. Start by walking to class more often or incorporating more nutritious foods into your diet. Eat food that FUELS you, so you don’t need to rely solely on excessive caffeine indulgences. Find physical activities that you enjoy, rather than exercises you feel you have to partake in. 

“Focus on developing healthy habits that make you feel food, both physically and mentally.”

Julia Ginsburg

It’s important to acknowledge that everyone’s body is different, and a little weight gain during your first year of college is not uncommon. It’s not worthwhile to feel consumed by your insecurities, as hard as it may seem to shake that mindset off. College is a time of significant change and adjustment, so it’s essential to practice being more kind to yourself. Embrace this new and exciting chapter in your life! By developing a more balanced approach to school, food, fitness, and social life, you’ll be setting yourself up for success, beyond just your college years.

Julia Ginsburg

UC Berkeley '27

Julia Ginsburg is a member of Her Campus UC Berkeley, where she contributes as a Staff Writer and Marketing Team member. Julia is currently a first year student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she plans to double-major in Media Studies and Political Science, as well as minor in music. When she’s not writing or studying for classes, Julia enjoys activities like dance, guitar, and singing.