Every year, College Freshmen face an awful, monstrous, dreaded thing. Not the inevitable “break you in right” teacher, or navigating campus, or even the OUTRAGEOUS cost of textbooks, but worse: The Freshman Fifteen. Any normal, I repeat normal, person who’s gone off to college can attest to this. Sure, it’s different for everyone. On average, students only gain about 2.5 pounds, not the fear-inducing “fifteen”. You’re thinking, “But not me, Abby! I’ve weighed the same all through high school and I never exercised!”, and to that I say, just wait. I wouldn’t have believed me, either, coming out of high school. I was always pretty slim, no matter my good or bad lifestyle choices. I could probably have eaten a Big Mac for lunch every day and still stay between 120-125 pounds. Then, I started college. I kept the same lifestyle habits, probably eating better than I did in high school. I keep about the same amount of activity, and try to make a conscious effort to take the stairs every now and then. But one day, it happened. I looked in the mirror, and all of the sudden, I didn’t like what I saw. Sure, I’ve struggled with body confidence issues, but this time, it came on so suddenly. I thought maybe it was just in my head. But my pants were fitting more snugly, I was uncomfortable in tighter clothing, and friends and family close to me noticed I was a little “pudgier” around the middle than before. All because of a few pounds. I thought, well, I’ll just change my ways. Figure out an exercise plan, only eat salads, etc., etc. But school came first, and I felt guilty spending time doing anything but studying (but that’s a whole different issue). My pants were still 1970s-tight, but sadly they weren’t bell bottoms. After really struggling with body image and what others would think, I came to a realization: buy new pants and make the best of life. My weight is still healthy, I’m active, and I plan on choosing healthy options whenever possible. So what if I have a little chubby donut of a lower abdomen? I’m happy, and really, that’s all that matters. Until next time,
P.S. A note about the picture: I emceed our county 4-H banquet this weekend. I felt so uncomfortable in a form fitting dress, because obviously people could see the pudge I had acquired since last year. I spent most of the night trying to keep my hands over my belly. Then, after the ceremony, one of our older ladies who has always supported 4-H and watched us grow up came to me, and told me about how beautiful I was, and that she just couldn’t stop looking at me during the awards (in a non-creepy way). If she can feel that way, and not notice a pudgy tummy, so can I.