Proud2Bme | Breaking the Rules: Why I'm Not Obsessing Over the "Freshman Fifteen"

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Breaking the Rules: Why I'm Not Obsessing Over the "Freshman Fifteen"

By Taylor Kirkham--As I arrived on my beautiful college campus three weeks ago, there was not a doubt in my mind that freshman year was going to be excellent.

I was getting an amazing education in one of the most remarkable cities in the world, Los Angeles, with thousands of other kids my age. I was at an extremely strong place in my recovery from my eating disorder, and was positive that college would be an especially healthy atmosphere for me to continue my recovery.

Boy… was I wrong.

After growing up in Minnesota my whole life, I was quite shocked to enter a world where calories were listed under every food item you could purchase. Counting calories was an expected ritual before each meal, and it was something that every girl I ate with did religiously. I even went out on a date with a guy who was freaked out to eat pizza because it would go against his daily calorie intake! But the underlying fear, the fear that made girls skip meals, experiment with crazy diets, and hit up the gym five times a day, was the fear of the freshman fifteen.

The freshman fifteen. It was a phrase that haunted everybody’s daily thoughts and that everybody was determined to avoid at all costs. There was an unspoken message that if you did gain those extra ten or fifteen pounds, your life was simply not worth living. So, for the first week I went from meal to meal, watching anxiously as my peers cautiously picked out the safest and healthiest meals on the menu. I, however, simply listened to my body’s hunger and fullness cues, and ate a wide variety of meal options. If I touched any foods that were rather unhealthy, somebody was sure to make a comment that the freshman fifteen was definitely headed in my direction.

After a week of being surrounded by people trash talking their bodies and counting every calorie that was put into their mouth, I remembered something extremely important. My body is a gift. Every day, my body is there for me. Every day my body carries me around, allows me to see the world, and supports me no matter what. Our bodies give us so much love and care, that neglecting to show them that same respect is cruel.

Believe it or not, your body is SO smart. It automatically can tell if you are tired, if you are hungry, if you are full, or if you need to go for a walk. It is constantly sending you messages, and it is only when we learn to trust those messages that we can obtain a healthy body image and a healthy lifestyle.
So whether you are entering college, high school, or are a working adult, I encourage you love your body. No matter how much you pray, starve yourself, or the amount of calories you punch into your cell phone app, you will never change the way your body was made. Enjoy the gifts it gives you, listen to its messages, and remind it everyday how lucky you are to have it. Free yourself from traps and tricks society attempts to set on you, and cherish the body you were given. Oh… and eating a slice or two of pizza is not breaking any laws that I know of ;).

 

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.