Freshman 15: Fact or Myth?

We have all heard of the freshman fifteen. Some of us have even heard of the sophomore twenty. It isn’t hard to believe, given the amount of free pizza, popcorn, and candy on campus; the all-you-can-eat style cafeterias that serve many delicious desserts. Despite this, gaining weight and eating ice cream for the rest of your life is not your only option, however tempting it might be. With some background information and quick tips you can take after Buffy the Vampire Slayer and tell the next person who asks you about the freshmen fifteen that they are, “mythtaken!”

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

College is a time of freedom, expressing yourself, and finding yourself. If, on the way, you find the line for free tacos, it isn’t really anybody’s business. As college students we sometimes feel it’s our right to eat ramen for every meal five days in a row and then a piece of lettuce to be “healthy” when we feel guilty. (To be clear, when I use the term “healthy,” I mean foods that are as natural and unprocessed as possible. Some examples are oranges instead of orange juice, brown rice instead of white rice, steamed vegetables instead of fried.) The range of diets is extensive and sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. There is a lot of literature out there on health and nutrition, so I encourage you to do your own research and find out what is the best for you!

We say we are too poor, lazy, tired, and so on to validate our diets. The first step is to realize and accept that those are all excuses. You chose paying rent over groceries? That’s totally fine! But that is still a choice you made. Chose sleeping an extra half hour over eating breakfast? It happens, but accept that you are the one that decided to do it. Every day we make the choice on what, when, where, and if we eat. Just like Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. You have the power to choose your diet which will affect your mood and health and in turn, your entire life! Your life is your responsibility, so what are you going to do about it? Well, here are some great campus and outside resources!

1. Campus Harvest Food Pantry: This September a campus food pantry opened up exclusively for students! Campus Harvest is a much-needed and awaited resource and is located in Schofield Hall 4. The pantry is available to help students one-on-one if the hours below do not work. Just email them at to set up a time. The regular schedule is as follows:
a. Mondays, 12:00pm-2pm
b. Tuesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm
c. Thursdays, 5:00pm-7:00pm
As stated above, some students have to decide between paying rent (or tuition, or other bills) and buying healthy groceries. Although it is unfortunate that they have to make this choice it is still a reality. Campus Harvest provides these students solutions and help that they need. For more information on donations, volunteer opportunities, and more, check out their website:
2. Blugold Dining: The Blugold Dining website ( has more than the schedules for your favorite eateries. They host a wonderful array of resources, too! They connect students to My Fitness Pal, an app that helps people track their nutrition and exercise to make healthier choices and goals. They have information for those with food allergies and restrictions as well as the general nutritional information for their food.
Curious about what is really in that meal you just had? You can use Sodexo’s nutrition calculator ( to help your mindful eating. Spend a few minutes on the website and see what new things you can learn.
3. Farmers Market: The Eau Claire Farmers Market is a great place to go for fresh, cheap eats! Vendors sell anything in season from vegetables, fruits, pastries and flowers. They are open until October 30th with the following hours:
a. Wednesdays, 7:30am-1:00pm
b. Thursdays, 12:00pm-5:00pm
c. Saturdays, 7:30am-1:00pm

Photo from Tripadvisor

Photo from Tripadvisor

The summer location for the Farmers Market is downtown in Phoenix Park. For information about winter hours and location, harvest schedule, events, and more check out their website:

Hopefully these resources will help you conscientious decisions about your health and diet! I’d just like to leave you with a couple tips:

• Eat breakfast
• Drink water
• Sleep regularly
• Exercise
• Ignore the scale

Did you gain the dreaded “freshman fifteen”? Twenty? Ten? Thirteen? Who cares! The scale tells you a number. Your mood, immunity to illness, and energy levels are better measures of your overall health. So feel free to take any/all/none of these resources and tips on your wellness journey. Good luck!

Photo from revolutionprep

Photo from revolutionprep


Spring Break Body Blues

Now that the holidays are behind us and the new semester is in full swing, we likely have one thing on our minds: spring break plans. If you’re like me, you’re too poor to afford a trip further away than the local grocery store and the warmest place you’ll find yourself will be next to the oven after you take out a pizza. However, many students on campus are planning a trip this year to tropical destinations and there is a commonality in the preparation for these trips that disturbs me: the focus on sculpting the perfect “beach body”.

It’s not uncommon to pick up a magazine titled “The Best and Worst Beach Bodies” or scroll through a Facebook newsfeed and consciously or unconsciously scrutinize a person’s body when they post a picture of themselves on the beach. This constant comparison and aspiration to achieve the ideal body can lead a person to focus on changing their diet and exercise habits immensely before the trip and can easily lead to disordered eating and exercising.

According to an article by the New York Times, Margo Maine, a clinical psychologist said, “This is a trigger time for youth to start to obsess about weight and body image.” An 18-year-old wrote on her blog, “I’m at 108 right now. Spring break is in about 3 weeks and I want to be down to at least 99-100. That can easily be done.” Another speaks about eating a mango and stick of gum for lunch. One student even said her sorority house resembled an Olympics of extreme weight loss, where they would eat lettuce topped with calorie-free butter flavoring, or purge and excessively exercise.

While these are extreme cases, it’s likely you have a friend or roommate eager to hit the gym or cut back on the French fries during dinnertime before spring break. While exercising and eating a nutritious diet is not unhealthy, the intention behind it can be when it revolves around appearance, rather than overall health.

I think it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the big picture when it comes to how people view their bodies. Here are some ideas on how to start to learn to love your body:

1. Let go of being perfect.

I think a lot of the time, we put so much stress on ourselves to get the best grades or land the perfect internship, essentially be perfect in all aspects of our lives, and these high standards can easily be transferred to the way we expect our bodies to look. We need to realize that there is no such thing as “perfect” in real life, and that many of the images we compare ourselves to are airbrushed and Photoshopped.

2. Exercise to feel good.

When the focus on exercise is to lose weight, it doesn’t become a permanent lifestyle change, and many times, when we don’t get the results we want, it’s easy to judge ourselves or become depressed. Try to focus on how exercise makes you feel, not how it makes you look.

3. Give yourself a pep talk.

As stupid as it may sound, wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and tell yourself something that you like about your body, your personality, or maybe something you’re proud of. Negative self-talk is a vicious cycle and can be damaging to ourselves and the people around us.

4. Seek out positive people.

Avoid those who “fat talk”, “body bash”, or are constantly comparing themselves to others. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself and enjoy being around you because of who you are, not the size or shape of your body.

Can you think of other ways you can love your body?

If you’re going on a spring break trip this year, have fun, get some sun, enjoy your time with your friends or whoever you’re going with. But please, try to embrace your body for what it can do, not what it looks like.


Williams, Alex. “Before Spring Break, The Anorexic Challenge.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Apr. 2006. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.