Two weeks into college, and I was already struggling. My big plans to hit the salad bar every day and work out at least three times a week had given way to pizza parties, free desserts, and heavy dining hall food. I stared down and frowned at the cheese quesadilla on my plate in front of me. A knot of worry came into my stomach.
I don’t want to gain the freshman fifteen. I can’t.
Over the course of the next few days, I slowly grew angry at myself. I would feel a cloud of guilt every time I ate something that wasn’t 'healthy enough'. I kept reminding myself of how my clothes wouldn’t fit if I were fifteen pounds heavier. I can’t afford to gain that much weight. I wouldn’t look as good.
The more I truly analyzed these thoughts, the more I realized how ridiculous I was being. My weight doesn’t determine my worth. My size doesn’t dictate my beauty. Whether or not I gain fifteen pounds my freshman year of college, I’m still the same Katherine. I still talk to my friends and make bad puns and have a passion for creativity. A number on a scale won’t affect my level of intelligence or suddenly take away my compassion.
Of course, I still want to maintain my health during college. I’ve always loved working out because it makes me feel good. It helps me view my body as something that’s strong and able. But in all honesty, my goal isn’t to prevent the freshman fifteen from happening. My goal is to live a healthful and active lifestyle for my own wellbeing.
If you’re worried about trying to keep off the freshman fifteen, take a deep breath. Stop stressing. Let life happen. Have a slice of pizza. Try a new workout class. Get some sleep. Like everything, college is all about balance. And if you happen to gain a few pounds, what’s the problem? You are just as incredible, inspiring, and entirely beautiful as you were before. Don't let a number tell you how to feel about yourself.