"But I Don't Want To Gain The Freshman 15"

Whether you’re an international student or you’re from 30 minutes outside of St. Louis, moving to a new place, adjusting to different styles of professors and a more rigorous course load, making friends, and keeping up with your own health and wellness is a balancing act. 

Many women have a negative perception of their bodies, no matter their weight or jeans size, and the perpetuation of beauty standards across social media platforms and in everyday lives can damage our image of ourselves even more. When faced with weight fluctuations or a difference you can see in the mirror, the first thing one might want to do is find a way to reverse the change. Here are some ways in which you can help yourself shift that negative image and help get over unnecessary fears of gaining weight.

 

Follow women with different body types on social media.

            Social media can feel like a toxic place when you are following people who make you feel inadequate, or make you say “I’ll never look like that.” Finding women to follow that actively fight against beauty standards and prove that size doesn’t equate to beauty can help you fight that toxicity and embrace your body at whatever shape or size it is. Some of my favorite accounts are Sienna Mae Gomez (@siennamaegomez) and Brittani Lancaster (@brittanilancaster). 

 

Practice daily affirmations.

Our perception of our bodies depends greatly on what we tell ourselves. Even if you don’t believe it, if you tell yourself you love yourself every morning, you will start to believe it. Some of my favorite affirmations to say in the morning include “I love myself, my body, and my soul fully,” and “I radiate a beautiful and positive energy.” 

 

Remember your body is just a vessel.

Our perceptions of other people are very dependent on personalities. Beauty is subjective, and can change depending on how we feel about people. 

 

Trust and listen to your body

You’re craving ice cream? Get it. You want something light like a salad? Get it. Even just remembering to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full can help you gain trust in your body. Creating a good relationship with your body can help you accept and understand its changes. Listening to your body can also create a better association with working out. If you work out when you feel like moving around and burning some energy, you could enjoy it much more. 

 

Overcoming beauty standards and commonly-used terms that perpetuate beauty standards can be difficult, and it’s definitely something that takes time and practice, but when you’re able to appreciate your body instead of trying to constantly change it, it becomes worth the work.