By Noah Wingler

We have all heard of the freshman 15. Some of us have seen it happen to others or have even experienced it for ourselves, but why does it happen? There are a few problems that the freshman 15 stems from, including emotional and disordered eating.

Everyone going into their first semester of college is dealing with big changes, and our eating habits can often be pushed to the back burner. In this case, the freshman 15 can turn from a myth into reality for many students. To stop the problem from happening, we must start at the source.

When we get stressed, we cope with food. I feel it’s easier to eat unhealthy foods on the college campus. For example, I can go to the burger place on campus and be temped to pick fries instead of a side of fruit. We have the option of fruit, but we all know how easy it is to eat unhealthy foods when they’re available.

I know they can’t shove healthy foods down our throats, but the university doesn’t do much to promote a healthy lifestyle either. There are six fast food places and only a few places offer salads; it becomes even harder to eat healthy foods when you need to eat late and everything is closed.

Emotional eating has multiple causes. It can come from school, friends, money issues, homesickness and intimate relationship stress. If you don’t deal with these issues in healthy ways, you may find that eating

helps you feel better; I certainly find myself eating a lot when I’m stressed. When emotional eating occurs, you have the desire to fill an emotional void and you use food to do so.

We also aren’t forced to eat on a regular schedule at college. My mother used to serve dinner every night at 5 p.m. Now, I can eat whenever I want. If I eat at 10 p.m. and then I go to sleep at 11 p.m., all of those calories will not be burned off and instead, they turn into fat.

The last factor is drinking. In college, you will be put in a lot of situations that may involve binge drinking. We all know about the “beer gut”; those who drink a lot over a long period of time easily put on 15 to 30 pounds a year. Alcohol itself can be high in calories, and the problem is exacerbated when you and your drunken friends decide to grab a pizza.

How can we change this? You could make time for the gym, make a schedule for when to eat, set rules for yourself about what you’re going eat and check your weight regularly. You could even take the long way to class.

There are plenty of ways to avoid the freshman 15, and with self-discipline, it can be fairly easy.


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