Going into my freshman year of college I heard endlessly about the infamous “freshman fifteen.” People told me that you never think it will happen to you, but at the end of the year you’ll realize you fell victim to it too. I didn’t listen to these people. I thought I was immune to it because I liked to work out and I ate oatmeal every morning.
I was wrong.
College is incredibly time consuming. Sure, you go to class for less hours than you did in high school. At the school I attend we even get Fridays off from classes (which is how every school should be at every level of education, but that is an opinion for another time). This gives us time to catch up on homework, papers, and even get a little time for ourselves. What I didn’t realize was how much time I would spend at the library doing homework, writing papers, and studying nonstop. Fall quarter I think I spent 3/4 of my time sitting at the table by the window on the second floor every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
I love school. I love to learn. I really don’t mind homework if it’s for a class that I enjoy. But part of dedicating so much time to my studies is that you end up not finding time for much of anything else. So that’s what happened during fall quarter. I didn’t workout, didn’t explore as much of the city as I would’ve liked to, and really only ate food from the dining hall, which, let’s be honest, was rarely healthy.
Since it was so. damn. cold. during winter quarter, most of my time was consumed by going out with friends and drinking incredible amounts of alcohol to get through the misery that is the Chicago winter. I was drinking beer five nights a week, combined with other forms of alcohol, and lots and lots of wine. Combined with that, I don’t think I set foot in the gym once in those ten weeks. I guess I thought the cold would freeze off all the extra fat I was storing for the winter.
Halfway through Spring quarter Chicago started to warm. The trees had leaves again, the city was buzzing, and everyone was flocking to the beaches on the weekends and on days we all got out of class early. It wasn’t until this time that I realized how much I stopped loving myself during freshman year.
To me, truly loving myself means showing love to my body, my skin, and my overall wellbeing. Part of that includes working out, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, cutting back on the alcohol, etc etc etc. The list goes on. I didn’t do any of these things for the majority of my freshman year of college. I do believe that your freshman year is all about figuring things out, getting acquainted and comfortable in a new place and a new world, and experiementing. But I think I got lost in a lot of that and used it as an excuse to stop showing myself the love.
If you haven’t reached the conclusion by now, I will tell you: the freshman fifteen is so real. I didn’t fully gain fifteen pounds, but I think I gained around twelve or thirteen. But it’s not about the number on the scale for me, though it is indicative of a much larger problem. The freshman fifteen, to me, represents how much I ignored my own wellbeing. In order to succeed in life, you have to put yourself first. I’m not talking selfishness. I’m talking wellness.
So that’s what I decided to do with my summer at home. I decided to start loving myself again. To show love to my body, to my future, to my skin, to my brain, to my taste buds, to everything. I asked my mom to sign me up at the gym for the summer. I started making smoothies almost everyday, sometimes drinking them twice a day. I read motivational fitness blogs. I look up new workout routines to try. I started taking vitamins. I drink looootttssss of water. And most importantly, I started telling myself “I love you.”
When life gets busy, or life gets ahead of you, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to prioritize. What are your priorities? Where does X fall compared to Y?This summer I got my priorities back in order and found that loving myself is number one on my list, and it will be for the rest of my life. And I always have to remember that. Never let life get too busy to where you stop showing yourself the love. Because, trust me, the hard work will all be worth it when you step on the scale and the thirteen pounds you gained during freshman year are gone.