My Take On Freshman 15: Don't Be Afraid To Gain A Few Pounds!

My Take On Freshman 15: Don't Be Afraid To Gain A Few Pounds!

It is the common case that freshmen will eat poor foods packed with sugars and fats that contain no nutritional values.
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So if you are wondering: “Hey Christine, are you a certified nutritionist or dietician?” No, no I am not. Therefore, please take all of this with a grain of salt. Thank you.

If I asked a room full of incoming freshmen, “Who has heard of the ‘Freshmen 15?’” I would expect the whole room to raise their hands. College is when the Freshmen 15 hits you. Coming to Syracuse University, I had certain doubts that this was true – I soon found out it was indeed true.

If you are one of the few who are unfamiliar with this term, let me explain it to you. When incoming freshmen are thrown into college, they are given a precious gift—the gift of freedom. With free reign, freshmen can do anything they want (in legal boundaries, of course). Freshmen can live without curfew, skip class, and eat whatever they want, whenever, with whoever. With this power, it is the common case that freshmen will eat poor foods packed with sugars and fats that contain no nutritional values. This is where the “Freshmen 15” comes into play. It is stated that freshmen will gain about 15 pounds their first year. From personal experience, this is quite true.

To the incoming freshmen, do not be scared. It usually is not all 15 pounds. Most people just gain a few pounds here and there, but this is normal. At a new environment with new food, it is harder to adjust and gaining weight is normal. Therefore, I first advise you to come in with an open mind and not be scared of what might inevitably happen. If you understand that this is a possibility, you can take action to combat it.

Firstly, when you enter a dining hall, do not gravitate towards all of the greasy, fried, extra-saucy foods that catches your eye. Obviously those will look more appetizing than the plain salad bar, but eating salad as part of your meal is not that bad. You can help prevent the “Freshmen 15” by cutting part of your fried, salty, or greasy food and adding a leafy salad that will fill you up with nutrients. If you think about it, how amazing is it that you have the option of having a fresh salad bar with a wide variety of ingredients and dressings? Take advantage of it! Just go easy on the dressing.

Secondly, when you are coming home late from class and all you want to do is order some Dominos with your friends, you will most likely do it. There is no doubt about it. However, just keep track of how often this happens. As college students with no curfew, we thrive late at night. Midnight becomes our early evening. Ordering food at 1am is the norm. Nevertheless, it is not healthy to be eating so late at night. At home, we eat dinner and maybe a snack before heading off to bed. In college, you order Chinese late at night and go to bed in the wee hours of the morning cramming for tests or finishing essays.

Lastly, the third tip I will leave you with is to go and take advantage of the gym. This is an amazing opportunity for you to go and try out the machines and free workout classes. Most of the time, the gym membership is free for students, (if your school makes you pay, shame on them) and it is conveniently on the campus for easy access. By going to the gym for even a mere 30 minutes will keep you motivated to reach for healthier food options and stay in shape. Do not be afraid to take everything your school offers because you are paying for it!

I am human. I do not go to the gym every week. I have moments when I fall apart and choose the sugary chocolate cookies. I go days, maybe weeks with loss of motivation that influences me to guiltily avoiding the gym. I like to order food late at night with my friends. Due to all of these factors, I did gain a couple of pounds; however, I do not regret doing any of these. This is college, and I am here to experience. I am here to grow and learn more about how to use my freedom to become someone I am proud to be. I have motivational slumps, but I learn to move past them and find inspiration in becoming a better me. I order pizza late at night, but I get to make more memories with my friends. It is important to understand the “Freshmen 15” and make changes to prevent it. However, with fear of the “Freshmen 15”, do not limit yourself of living. These 4 years will fly by quick, so use these tips to fight the scary “Freshmen 15,” but do not be afraid to gain a few pounds if that means you are just living the fullest.

Cover Image Credit: Ontheregimen

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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If I Could, I'd Start Running And Not Stop Until I Got To Kenya ​

The high altitudes of this east African country make conditions ideal for any runner looking to excel.

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If you're into running like me, then it's no secret where the best runners in the world come from. The African country of Kenya is home to some of the greatest runners to ever step foot on planet earth. Phenomenal talent emerges from Kenya year after year. Records get shattered as if they were minor accomplishments. Most of the talent goes unnoticed until the Olympic games roll around and get showcased to the world.

Kenya is a place I've always wanted to visit. Many of my running idols either live or train in Kenya. I'm talking about some world record holding athletes. Like Eliud Kipchoge, for example, who recently broke the world record for the fastest marathon ever. He trains every day alongside other world-class runners on the NN Running Team.

I constantly see athletes post on social media about their experiences while they training in Kenya. I think I would enjoy getting to know the culture. Life as a runner in Kenya looks like a lot of fun. The trails and roads look fascinating. There are always other runners striving to push one another towards their highest potential.

One big reason why I'd want to visit Kenya is that life seems so calm and simple. I wouldn't be caught up in the trends of society that resides while living in the United States. At times I feel overwhelmed and depressed from what goes on in the USA. I feel like there is a constant theme of people trying to outdo one another.

It's annoying because we are all the same and nothing should separate us, Sometimes I just want to get away from all that. I'd rather live out like a hermit and pave my own path in the vast open lands of eastern Africa. I admire the closeness of people in tribes and group settings in Kenya. People seem to be bonded tightly and enjoy the precious moments of life.

From what I read about Kenyan athletes, it sounds like I'd enjoy my time in the country. I would get to train with like-minded individuals day in and day out. The scenery would be incredible and breathtaking. There's just something about Kenya that gravitates me towards it. I've got it on my bucket list to accomplish at some point in my life.

Maybe my running ties could lead me to this place someday. Who knows, I'm just going to keep running until I can't anymore.

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