Viewer Mail. The College edition.


I find your site entertaining, real, and informative. I’m a 21 year old college student and I’m pretty sure most of your demographic is older. However, I find that your site is value and applicable to me.

But college is a whole different ballgame as some would say. Constant eating, constant drinking. Activity isn’t encouraged. I eat very well and exercise a lot. I was involved in two rigorous sports in high school and I miss the intensity of them. Back to the point. You’ve referenced your “freshman 15 and then some” many times. Do you have any tips for me… how to live healthy in college?

I’m going to be a junior. I want to be healthy and fit and still possiblyperhapsmaybe have some alcohol. It’s certainly a question for the rest of life, not just college. I think there are are bunch of inherent questions/issues within that post. Perhaps you could pose these to the Bumbling Band?

Quick question, I think I’m missing something — What does “please to” mean? I see it all the time on your site and don’t understand its usage!

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your site and more than that, your attitude. As an athlete, I struggled with an ED my senior year. Now, I’m at a point where I exercise regularly, eat well, and have a few lingering “where the heck did these come from?” pounds that I’m pretty OK with but would rather lose. So I know what obsession (exercise, food) is and I don’t want to go back there ever. But college is quite a strange place and can be confusing when it comes to health.

Thanks again,

This email stuck so many chords with me on so many different levels that I immediately responded & asked to share it with all of you as well.

The first remark that started me thinking was this: I’m a 21 year old college student and I’m pretty sure most of your demographic is older.

I concluded, after I pondered for a bit, that she’s correct. Although the more I thought the more I realized Im pretty clueless with regards to any of your ages.

(Ill start us off. Im 39. And yes for the first and only time. can NOT wait to be forty but that’s a different post.)

Which then led me to mull whether it really matters? whether there is a difference in the way we (the royal) approach this whole endeavor depending on age (not a rhetorical question. please to discuss in the comments.)?

I think that it’s easy to look back and think “ahhh it was all so easy when I was XYZ age. I had fewer responsibilities. I could workout whenever I wanted to & cook healthy elaborate meals for one.” yet I fear Im too much of a realist to fall into that pattern.

I know that when I was in college/grad. school/out swinging single in the workforce my life was pretty dang busy & hectic.

Sure, it’s *different* busy & hectic now (that’s a shout out to you potty training & terrible two tantrums) but different isnt necessarily harder. I do believe that, no matter where we are in life (20-80) or what our goals are (to lose one hundred pounds. to lose ten. or to train for a marathon), at the core we are all the same (cue sentimental music. I know.).

Id thought of a target MizFit before launching (an individual seeking health, fitness and balance in all aspects of life) but age? not so much.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to see through the emailer’s eyes (for lack of a better phrase. through her fingertips?)

And then the college question.

I have mentioned a few times that I gained my Freshman Fifteen and a few other people’s as well. I dove headfirst into my freshman year with all the socializing & all the beer and late night pizza it entailed.

And Im so very thankful that I did.

Yep. I got chubby.

So fluffy, in fact, that the buttons on all of my jeans refused to go together. For some reason, instead of becoming filled with self-loathing and growing depressed, I merely strutted around with the button undone & a big sweatshirt over top (thank you, Ohio, for not having many warm days during the academic year).

I think for me the key was that I gained weight while having FUN.

I packed on the el bees while making new friends & experiencing new things (from late night delivery of fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies to Long Island Ice Teas).

After that first year I found that I naturally reigned it all in (even the gooey chocolate cookies lose their luster if you have them too often), decided to move more & drink less, and the pounds came off.

Im taking the long, rambling, MizFit route to say that Im glad I spend not a moment of my college career obsessing about food or weight or looks or calories and, if I could tell every freshman that one thing I would.

Life is too short. You’ll have plenty of time down the proverbial road to fret about how you look, how often you should exercise, and if you (fingerquote) measure up (unFQ) should you choose to do so—-but you only get one chance to enjoy the camaraderie of college.

In my opinion it’s about the constant striving for moderation.

  • Drinking (if you dont have a problem with alcohol) but not to excess.
  • Indulging and enjoying food with friends—but keeping an eye on whether the indulging becomes more & more a ‘done alone’ event.
  • Exercising in a way that builds social connections (from sports to tennis with a friend) and not in a form which isolates or is all consuming.

Im not denying the fact that, even in the Dark Ages when I attended college, there’s a lot of pressure to look a certain way to be accepted or viewed as sexually attractive. Im simply pointing out that there’s plenty of time to worry about that (or *not* — who can say?) later.

If your ‘where the heck did these come from’ pounds are a result of some memories created with friends (perhaps passing up a workout in favor of a girls night out) I say leave em be.

MizFits? I know you all have some suggestions for our emailer. I stayed away from giving specific structured tips in favor more general thoughts—but I may have to hit ya’ll up in the comments as well.

(oh and this: What does “please to” mean? I see it all the time on your site and don’t understand its usage! It’s just me being, well, silly and a MizFit. I love that you asked and please to remember if any of you have any other questions: email me!)


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  1. says

    I’m 26. Will be 27 in a few more months.

    I didn’t even really notice that I had gained the freshman 15. I was a serious athlete in high school and the sudden lack of exercise made the weight sneak up on me. Then I tried on a pair of dress slacks, and lo and behold, they didn’t fit! It was really strange!

    I didn’t let it bother me, though, and just headed to the track and cut down (not out!) the number of indulgences. It was still possible to have fun and go out and live a fairly unstructured life – one that included some alcohol and late night Taco Bueno. Remember that life’s about experiencing things, not about worrying!

  2. says

    * Drinking (if you dont have a problem with alcohol) but not to excess.
    * Indulging and enjoying food with friends—but keeping an eye on whether the indulging becomes more & more a ‘done alone’ event.
    * Exercising in a way that builds social connections (from sports to tennis with a friend) and not in a form which isolates or is all consuming.

    Yup…I agree, awesome tips as always!

  3. says

    That sounds like great advice to me.

    I actually ended up losing weight my freshman year in college. I wasn’t active in high school sports my last two years, so I gained then. However, the stress of graduating had me packing on the pounds, so I ended up at my heaviest weight ever then. But that was me stuffing my face because I was crazy stressed and worried. Definitely not the best thing to do, so I can recommended NOT doing that. :) Just keep a healthy balance in all things and it will all work out well in the end.

    Oh, btw, I’m 29 and turning 30 before the year is out.

  4. Heather says

    Wow – great viewer mail.

    To the lovely, and very well-written (spoken) college student: worry pas. I hear everything you’re saying loud and clear as a 25 y/o 4 years out of college myself. I too gained a bit of weight in university, but believe it or not, I was too happy to even notice. Looking back (I’m about 10 or so pounds lighter now, even naturally) I realize I was a bit ‘bigger’ and laugh. I still looked great, as I’m sure you do, and it’s just a way for me to see how far I’ve come!

    If I can offer one bit of advice, and seeing that you’re already so active and eat so well – see if you can reduce the alcohol. I find that even 4 years post-graduation I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to the pressure of partying/drinking with friends – and we both know that it doesn’t usually stop at 1 or 2. I stuggle with it still, and have recently decided to cut out booze altogether as it can really send your body, and emotions on a tailspin. I found that the ‘day after drinking’ I looked awful, felt bloated, and it gave me a weeks worth of self esteem / guilt issues – never a good thing when you’re trying to stay away from junk food / pizza. Somehow, I’ve put together that (with me anyway) alcohol can trigger a lot of badness, and I’m just better off without it.

    This is not to say I won’t enjoy a glass of wine on the weekend over dinner with my husband, but, socially in the ‘club’ scene – no thanks. I’m going to be working hard at a developing some ‘ex-party-girl’ alternative fun drinks, along with some healthy casual ‘party/entertaining’ recipes over the next few days and I’ll ask Miz to share them with you, either via e-mail or in the forum somehow.

    Cheers hunnie,

  5. says

    I gained the “freshman 15″ as well–first time away from home and a cafeteria meal plan that seemed to encourage “all-you-can-eat” dining. I mean, coke machines and an ice cream sundae bar available after every dinner? I couldn’t resist.

    And I have to confess, some of my fondest memories were of off campus excursions to the donut shop and the awesome pizza place and the mexican restaurant that would look the other way and serve wine margaritas to 18 year olds.

    But like many others who have commented, I had to learn to reign it in without becoming weight obsessed. Fortunately, there’s a lot better info out there now about what’s healthy–I say strive to make lots of healthy food choices, get a lot of exercise, enjoy indulgences too, and strive for both fun and balance.

  6. MizFit says

    thanks ALREADY for all the tips for our emailer.

    I know it really hit me, when starting the answer I hoped you would all finish in the comments, how college is really just a microcosm (sp? blame my thumbs as they’re doing the typing ;)) of real life.

    The skills we learn there (through, IMO, ‘safe’ mistake making for the most part. to generalize) are ones we take with us & which help us to lifesucceed.

    And nope.

    I’m not even thinking classroom….yet.


  7. says

    Freshman 40 here. I came to college a size 10. Pretty confident and OK with my body. I ate french fries with every meal my freshman year. I indulged in food’s availability. Food was everywhere. So I ate it. I too wore sweatshirts over my jeans that didn’t fit. I drank 5 nights a week. I took naps all of the time. I couldn’t run two laps of an 8-lap inside track mile. I left freshman year a size 12 or more (DENIAL!) and miserable that I was “soooo fat. ”

    Sophomore year, I came back ready to work harder. Joined a gym that summer. I began dabbling with eating healthy and exercise (although I ate two big meals a day but worked out every day) Dabbling meaning experimenting. Began the school year losing some weight. Had a brief stint with an ED and realized it before it got out of control for me. Then I joined the women’s rugby team. I was surrounded by girls my size and bigger, who ate and drank like food and beer were going out of style. And they didn’t care what they looked like. After every game, you drink beer and eat. Plus my position was a “front”, (I was Hooker) which is a bigger girl position. So I didn’t mind being large and in charge.

    Continue this lifestyle until summer before senior year. I decided I was large. I went to Weight Watchers and when I got on that scale and it said 190 I freaked out. I ended up doing well on WW, was able to drink and eat healthy but still indulge in fun foods. I joined with my best friend. I had to measure my foods but it was worth it to me. Then I gained all of it back and then some when I stopped WW. Started up again over a year and a half ago…almost 40 pounds gone. Most people can lose weight and be healthy by themselves. I need to pay $40 a month to do it. To each his own.

    I am a 24 y.o. single female full time grad student/full time social worker/part-time jobber/girl friend/fake socialite. As one of the busiest people in the world (it sure feels like that somedays) it is important to know how easy it truly is to eat healthy. Food is stupid, it’s for nourishment. There is tons of support and information out there for people- internet, friends, magazines, tv, books.

    \Good luck to that college girl e-mailer!!! Just knowing that she *wants* to be healthy is a good start to motivation!!!/

  8. says

    Fantastic post Miz!

    For the record, I am 35. I don’t think age matters, as my best friend is 27, and a few of the blogs I read and enjoy are written by people in their early 20′s, yet I find them relatable.

    I think I probably gained weight in college. I certainly ate my share of pizza and drank my share of booze. I didn’t exercise, but I was having fun. And until you brought it up, I hadn’t realized that I never thought about my weight in college. You are certainly right that there is plenty of time to worry about it later. I think it is great advice, and don’t have any better.

  9. MizFit says

    Id say Im a broken record but, since Ive said that ONCE to a child not o’my generation & received a blank look in response (!), I shall simply say:

    I know Im a SCRATCHED CD (poorly produced mp3?!) but, again, you are all amazing & amazingly helpful.


  10. says

    We’re all outing our ages here, huh? Egad! Well, I’m 38 and can still remember the Freshman-many that I put on. And then the Sophomore-s’more that joined the party!

    Unfortunately, I didn’t deal with it as well as many of the others. Sure, I enjoyed the drinking, eating and hanging out that led to my weight gain. I foolishly believed that Slim-Fast and weird diets would take it off. Nope!

    Luckily, I played lacrosse so every spring I’d lose some of the weight, only to have it re-appear once the season was over. Until my senior year when I got smart and started eating better, drinking less and exercising with regularity, not just sporadically as I had been off-season.

    Good luck, young e-mailer!

  11. says

    I actually lost 50+lbs when I was in third year of university, having been overweight for most of my life (we won’t talk about how I gained 30 of them back shortly after…).

    Your tips were great!

    In my case, all that I did was make exercise the start to my day or when I had breaks in classes (instead of going to the library to sleep like I used to :P) and brought more snacks and meals with me to school so that I wouldn’t be prone to buy from the cafeteria or fast food joints on campus.

    I still enjoyed student life with my friends and I think that I enjoyed my senior year that much more because I was more confident with myself once I hit “one”derland.

  12. says

    I gained 10 pounds my freshmen year of college, and I am quite short, so it showed. I don’t think there have been many times where I was happier though, every one of those pounds was, like you said, put on through living and having the most fun I possibly could, and I don’t regret it in the least bit.

    I’m still in college, but a vegetarian now and have been working out consistently for over a year, so all the weight has come off. I have not given up margaritas with my friends or late night plates of french fries every once in a while.

    So to your lovely emailer, I’d say live your life! We only have one chance at it. Take care of your body, it deserves it, but it also deserves to share a pint with friends and laugh.

  13. says

    I just turned the big 3-0 :)

    There’s nothing wrong with indulging…just dont’ make it an every day/meal thing. There are little tricks too…like light beer and diet sodas with your favorite alcohol are best. Sugary drinks that are oh so yummy are not good for the waist line. and, of course, drink in moderation. Forgot the fries, or don’t eat all of them.

    I’m glad that you posted this. All of us may think it’s easier when you’re younger, but really…it’s harder to eat healthier when you’re non a budget. Kudos for being conscious of it and working on it, college student.

  14. says

    45 (had to think about it). Spent my college years eating fast food and sorry as hell I did that. All the nasties in it made me fat and sick. Got on new train, got healthy, then had 2 kids and gained 50 lbs with each. Still carrying more of that baby weight than I’d like. I really wish I would have used my brain back when I was in my 20s and fed myself better. Which is what I’m trying to teach my kids (gad NOW I feel old!!). But as for the drinking? Partying in your 20s gets you grins and good natured eye rolls. Partying in your 40s gets you whispered about at neighborhood potlucks.

    I love being a band member because everyone here is so encouraging about exercising and it’s accepted as the norm, no matter where you are in the spectrum. But for the record, I don’t eat beef jerky… lol!

  15. says

    29 baby! And cannot wait to be 30! I’m ready to move on up ;-) The funny thing about Blogging is that when I read people (in my head) they are the same age as me. Sometimes I’m surprised at how much younger/older peeps are when they mention it. But really age doesn’t matter ;-)

    And yes moderation is the key! ;-)

  16. MizFit says

    Ah Ha moment!
    courtesy of Marcy.

    I totally do that and had no idea.

    betcha all are glad youre thirty-nine in my eyes, huh?


  17. says


    I don’t have much personal experience with the freshman 15, as I went to college with a severe ED and ended up having to leave because of it. But if I could tell the younger me something, it would be to try to be present as much as possible, laugh & be silly A LOT, don’t sweat the small stuff. It might so all so cliche, but I really wish I could have done that back then.

  18. MizFit says

    oh and marianne? was there a last sentence to your comment? I see NOTHING beyond the word SPECTRUM.

    xo xo,


  19. says

    I think my one piece of advice would be to really watch it with the drinking. Not to sound like a party pooper, but binge drinking is DANGEROUS. You can give yourself alcohol poisoning. You can black out or pass out and bad things can happen to you in those states. And from a diet and fitness standpoint, alcohol is empty calories PLUS you’re more likely to eat like crap while drunk or hung over. So I’d say keep it to a two-drink maximum per night and you’ll probably lose 10 pounds in a semester without changing anything else!

    Oh, and I’m 30…

  20. MizFit says

    completely agree Jen and THANK YOU for taking the time to comment.

    For me drinking wasnt a big thing. I did indulge (as my pants could attest) my freshman year and then kinda moved on. I couldnt ‘get’ people who could have an open unfinished package of OREOS in their room and just leave it there to grow stale (!) while many of my friends couldnt ‘get’ how I could have five beers left in a six pack for MONTHS ON END.

    it’s all so unique to the individual *but* not unique (IMO) is the point you made about the crapeating.

    (as, sadly, my jeans could also attest)


  21. says

    I’m 30 as of last month! Woot, woot!! My twenties were so much better than my teens and I anticipate my 30′s to out-rock my 20′s:)

    Anyhow, I love your sweet reader today. I wish I could have had the attitude you described in college. I was on a gymnastics and a dance team and still monitored every bite I ate. Sure I was uber skinny but I was also anorexic, neurotic and had an abusive boyfriend. Which isn’t to say I don’t have awesome memories of college (LOVED IT!) but that my good memories aren’t about food. I wish I had been more relaxed.

    *moment of clarity*

    Maybe I should be more relaxed NOW. Hmmm.

  22. says

    This is such a great topic! I didn’t gain weight my freshman year, because I was in a climate where it was warm most of the year, so I was always active- swimming, hiking, biking (and I don’t drink, so that helps). Plus I took 3 P.E. classes my first quarter (tennis, weight training and Scuba Diving).

    However, I transferred schools after that year, and gained the sophomore 15 by living in a dorm and eating buffet-style cafeteria food (and I never ate breakfast, which was a huge change for me). Luckily I lost it all when I went home for the summer by riding a bike and walking 1/2 mile to the bus stop to get to work.

    I gained some weight my junior year, although I was living off-campus. I was walking a lot, but not really eating very well, and of course eating too much. I gained even more weight my senior year, a lot of which came from stress eating (and way too many pancakes). Luckily a year and a half after school was done, I had a huge wake-up call and lost the weight (and then some) through exercise and better eating.

    My recommendation is to be active (in whatever way makes you feel good- there are so many different things available in college), try to pick healthy foods 80% of the time, and pay attention to portion sizes!! Oh, and drink water. This applies to anyone at any age, at any stage of life. I’m 30, so it was 9 years ago that I finished college, but the weight I gained back then is still fresh in my mind, and I never want to go back to that.

    Good luck!

  23. says

    This fall I’ll be starting my third year at university (19 yrs old) and I’ve LOST lots of weight since high school- I found that really the best thing to prevent yourself from gaining the freshman 15 is to simply be more aware and knowledgeable about nutrition and exercise and the rest will follow naturally.

    Our school has escalators and stairs- I always take the stairs. I brown bag it or will buy things like fruit from the cafeterias. I eat out nearly every day with different groups of friends so I’ve just learned how to scout out the healthier items on the menus, and if I drink then its either wine, wine spritzers, or cosmos. If I’m going to have something like a sugary slushy cocktail I’ll just have one, and ditto for beer.

    That being said, I had a LOT more partying days in high school, when I did drink to excess (in a normalteenageway, not in an addictedalcoholicway). I just don’t much fancy the idea of spending time with my head in a bucket anymore.

    Bottom line is, you’ve got to have fun, and you’ve got to be happy. Even if you don’t moderate yourself too much when you’re out having fun with friends and socializing, just pay a little more attention to eat a bit healthier when you’re at home. And for exercise, just walking/biking for transportation (you’ll save money too!) and try to join different sports teams (school or community). You’ll meet all kinds of super cool people that way as well.

    Sorry for the rambles, hope it helps!

  24. says

    I just had another thought while reading Charlotte’s comment.

    When I was 18, I wanted to lose 5 pounds, hated my thighs, etc. Now I look back and wonder “what the hell I was bitching about… I looked fantastic!” And when I start feeling bad about the way I look now, I try to remember that in another 20 years, I am going to look back to when I was 35 and say, “what the hell was I bitching about…I looked fantastic.” It’s all relative. Try to enjoy where you are.

  25. hughsmom says

    Hiii! I’m at “yearbook camp” in the awesome town where I earned my BA and then my Masters — LaCrosse, WI.

    My first 1.5 years at the university of Wisconsin in Madison, I majored in beer. I took it up as a minor when I moved to La Crosse – a huge party school as well.

    No advice. I can’t remember those years anymore (alcohol related?)

    I’m 43 as of last month.

    ~~~Fat Don’t Wrinkle~~~

  26. says

    Hello MizFit — this is totally off topic but…

    Good luck with potty training! Phew. We went through that two summers ago. Crazy times.

  27. says

    I am 36 although I’ve been known to act 21 recently.

    21, I think you are lucky. This day and age, so many people incorporate some type of fitness into their lives, even at your age. When I was “that young”, I did not know one person that worked out.

    I agree with Miz. Enjoy. But, in moderation. Get your friends together for a sand volley game. Put a little movement into each day, even if that means only riding your bike to or walking to class. Keep healthier snacks on you to make up for the late night pizzas and other times of less than perfect meals. You are fortunate enough at your age that the bod is a little more forgiving that it will be in the future.

    The bad news: it only gets harder to make time for exercise. Jobs, spouse, kids…it slowly starts sucking up any free time you have. I think you are smart now to keep it in your life. But, keep it all in balance and enjoy these years. They will not return.

  28. Jen R. says

    Once again, MizFit, you rock! Your advice to the young emailer is right on. Your approach to life is inspiring.

    I’m looking at 40. Life is great at 40- different in every way, harder in some and better in many. I do wish I knew back then (college days) what I do now… just relax, enjoy life as much as possible. College is the prime time of having fun with friends, figuring out who you are and soaking up all life has to offer. This is the time for you, young emailer! Enjoy it!

    My advice (not that you asked!) …Move some every day. Eat in moderation. Drink in moderation. Surround yourself with good people. Strive for balance in all things. And laugh. A LOT.

  29. Lori says

    Excellent tips/advice from everyone. I would say everything in moderation. Have fun and enjoy yourself. You will make mistakes but you will learn from them. There will be challenges at any age and you will have to learn to deal with them. The emailer already exercises and eats healthy so is a step ahead of a lot of college students!
    By the way, I’m 39 (for a few more weeks anyways) and turning 40 does not bother me in the least.

  30. says

    I am 36, and I’d say age DEFINITELY makes a difference. It was easy to lose weight when I was in my early 20′s – I just played more basketball, volleyball, and so forth. I had the time, and I had the knees. Now it’s a little different – my metabolism is slower, I don’t have the time, and my knees are testy.

  31. says

    Ummm, Marianne? The Bag Lady has to go to a potluck this weekend….. she’ll have to try not to listen to the whispering…

    No real advice about the freshman 15. That didn’t happen to the Bag Lady because she lived at home whilst attending college. Now, when she got married a year or so later, and had so much trouble adjusting to cooking for two people rather than the 4 she cooked for at home…that’s when she gained a whole bunch of weight.

    Oh, and her age? She’s plenty-nine. (well, actually, she’s a year older than that, but plenty-zero just doesn’t have the same ring to it!)

    And Miz? Funny you should say that about thinking that everyone is the same age, ’cause I do that too! Until something makes me remember that I’m NOT in my thirties anymore.

  32. says

    I’m 29 – tee hee. ;)

    I say enjoy yourself in college – but take some time to exercise, too so you don’t hurt your health, you know? And remember, you won’t always be able to drink like that.

  33. says

    I’m 33 (34 in October). While I didn’t gain much weight when I went to college, my uber-toned soccer body pretty much went to mush as I really didn’t do much active at school. Sure, I’d occasionally jaunt to the gym where I’d rev up the stairstepper and prop myself up with my arms (the horrors! the horrors!).

    To me, it’s all about moderation and balance. So you know that Thursday is 25 Cent Pitcher night followed by a little pizza from the cart you walk by on the way home? Wait, that was my college days…but you get my drift.

    Make sure you work out, eat sensibly throughout the day and you’ll be fine. Heck, I’m 33 and I’m still doing this for my weekly date with my vino and pizza!

  34. says

    I’m 30, and look and feel better now than i did when i was 20.

    When i got to college I was overweight, around a size 16/18, down from the 200+ lbs I was in high school (who knows what size i was then, it was the grunge era and I was hiding in massive plaid shirts). I didn’t gain weight in college, but instead had a slow and steady decline in weight up to senior year (manic work/school schedule, and i biked/walked all over town). i gained some back in the few years after college, then began to plateau out around a size 12 for the last several years. Once I began to seriously clean up my nutrition and started running, I’ve lost a few more sizes and have more energy.

    My advice follows Robin’s, enjoy your time in college as long as you’re not going totally overboard. Don’t stress too much about some food indiscretions. When you look back over the next few decades, those vanity pounds won’t even show up on your radar, you’ll just be thinking how young and cute you looked and how fun those times were for you and your friends.

  35. says

    I’m 34, and in probably the best shape of my life right now. Though I didn’t gain the freshman 15, I think back to my eating habits through those college years and cringe at how awful they were.

    Everyone’s tips are excellent. The one thing I would add is that even baby steps, like Sagan said taking the stairs, etc, are steps in the right direction. :)

  36. says

    know what you’re saying about the age thing. the older i get the less it matters. which sounds like a silly thing for a young’n like me to say (26). in real life i’m a bit of a space cadet and often cannot tell the difference between a 20 year old and a 40 year old. especially fit people.

    as for the 21 yr old, can you join an intramural team? it’s usually Not Too Serious and activity (and drinking) are encouraged. S.L.A.P.?

  37. says

    I”m 34…didn’t lose weight til I was almost 30. I was all over the freshman 15 too…living in a dorm where you could have Captain Crunch any meal at any time…bad for me :)

    I struggle with wanting to have the odd beer and still be thin. I think moderation is indeed the key. For me it was getting portion sizes down. And exercising. When I getbusy I tend to fall abck on the exercising, but moderation has kept the weight off. Making an effort to walk and bike everywhere doesn’t hurt either…

  38. says

    I love this post because I am about to start college, but I am still going to be at home. So it will be a little bit easier for me to stick to my eating habits. I think that if you have already gotten through your first two years of college doing good, that these next years should be a lot easier! You have already learned the “ropes” of college and partying now you just have to incorporate that into a healthy lifestyle.

  39. says

    I didn’t gain the freshman 15- I gained the newlywed 15. I cooked a lot, but we also ate out a lot and were just having fun doing what we were doing. I don’t remember feeling bad about gaining, but I do remember that first year and how much fun we had- so you are onto something there!

    I think the key is to adapt to whatever your situation is. For me it was learning how to go from team sports in high school to “adult” fitness and mastering that transition. I found it for a while, and at 26 and two kids later, I am happy to say that I am finding it again and don’t plan on losing it again.

  40. says

    I’m 26, so I don’t know where that puts me in your spectrum of Miz-Readers.

    As far as the freshman 15, I was lucky enough to be so busy through college I don’ think I had time to gain the pounds lol. But after post-college in the desk-job era and many late bar nights, I did in fact finally gain a Freshman 15+ lol….to the tune of about 20-25lbs. Now looking back on it, sure I wish I would’ve chosen to exercise and eat a little better, but all those late nights eating potato skins and wings at the bar, I’m glad I had them.

    Plus, gives me something to focus on now right?

  41. MizFit says

    Dang. Here’s hoping our emailer swings by today as you all have given such great tips and insights.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share as your experiences are applicable for college-life and way, way beyond.


  42. says

    As I’m looking forward to heading off to college-Aug 22!!! I am dreading the whole food situation. I want to lose about 15 or so lbs for sports reasons- make things easier on my knees. I know that my university of choice has been rated as having some of the healthiest food as far as college res. hall food goes in the U.S.- but what does that really mean? I’m still concerned- I don’t want my old EDs to show up again :/

  43. says

    23/female – just a year out of college.

    Freshman year I didn’t gain any weight. I was going to NYU and my classes were about 1 mile away, so I think all the extra walking helped. Plus, I was in the drama program and we had to do yoga every day. I didn’t eat very healthfully, but I didn’t have cravings and binges the way I sometimes do now. I drank a ton, but that didn’t seem to do much.

    Sophomore year I transferred to Cornell, a campus school with huge hills. I had to walk up a pretty steep/big hill every day to get to my classes. The first day, it took me over 10 minutes to get up that hill. By the end of the semester, I was powering up it in two or three minutes! No weight gain then, and I was still drinking a ton.

    Junior year I was fine until spring semester, when I went on birth control and gained about five pounds. I hate using that as an excuse, and I do think I started eating/drinking more around the same time, but ever since I went on BC I haven’t been able to get below a certain magic number weight no matter HOW hard I try. Counting every calorie I put into my mouth, exercising every day or sometimes twice a day – nothing worked. Senior year I gained another pound or two, and I spent the summer after my senior year of college living at home with my parents until my job started and I moved back to NYC, and with the sole goal of getting in shape, but I just could not lose the weight. I got it closer, but there was a certain point I just couldn’t seem to drop below, which was (and is still) frustrating.

    Once I started work, everything kind of went out the window due to my hectic schedule and constant traveling (it becomes SO much harder to get healthy food when your only choice is from a restaurant). Plus, I’m really fascinated by food now – to the point where sometimes I wonder if I have an eating disorder. Not anorexia/bulimia or something more obvious, but sometimes I realize that I’m thinking about food more than most people. Except now I know all the calorie counts and I know EXACTLY what I’m putting into my mouth, and I have trouble eating something sinful without feeling guilty.

    I miss the days of college when I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t have to think about it! Granted, I don’t think I was healthy nutritionally… but today, it seems like if I eat even one cookie, I’ll see it on my stomach, whereas back then I could munch on a box of them without thinking twice. I think the key was just that I was always active in college – not doing sports or at the gym, but always walking from place to place and just moving in general. Now I sit at a desk for 12-14 hours a day – being sedentary does NOT help.

    That was really long – sorry :)

  44. MizFit says

    Adria? In my opinion some of the battle youve already won.
    being aware.
    going into college with your eyes wide open.
    now you just need to git there.
    to search for support (people? groups? activities which dont trigger you? mentors?).
    To remember to reach out should you feel your ED MIGHTCOULD be rearing its ugly head and not to waitandsee.

    can can TOTALLY do it.
    make good healthy choices and still be loving to yourself and have fun.

    you totally can.


    (and LAURA? *love it all* never apologize as beyond my love Im confident youre helping more than a few others as well)

  45. seekatyrun says

    I gained the Freshman Fifteen, followed by the Sophomore Somemore. Eating smart in a cafeteria setting isn’t always easy — especially at a school like mine with truly delicious food. I agree with all of the others about moderation.

    And, like SlackerMama said, plan for times that you know you will be indulging. On 25-cent beer night, be sure you have a healthy salad for lunch, lots of water during the day, and get in a little extra movement. When I moved off-campus my junior year I quickly realized that it was faster and far better for me to walk home than wait for the bus. (I’m not much of a morning person, so I took the bus to campus in the morning, though!). I would usually meet up with one of my housemates and we’d walk home together, catching up on each other’s days and planning the evening while we walked. Good blend of socializing and moving.

    As for age? Like Miz, I’m 39. For the first and only time. And easily in the very best shape of my life, even after 2 babies in 2 years. My current friends are all active, healthy, and wonderfully supportive. I’m looking forward to 40!

  46. Kellie says

    I LOVE this post — just turned 39. I never really think about commenters ages, and now that I’m finding out the numbers of some of my favorites, I’m AMAZED!! Such incredible insights from some of the youngins…and such hilarious silliness from some of the geezers…uhh…more mature. ;-) But I do notice that every time I see “university” I start reading with a goofy british accent…what’s that about?!?!?

    I lucked out and didn’t gain the F-15 because the distance from my dorm to some of my classes was a friggin’ country mile..up hill…BOTH ways and I walked everywhere. The food was crap, but man, was it good. Some of my best memories involved chili dog study nights, and being short 78 cents when the pizza delivery guy came. Ahhh, good times…

    Like the rest of The Band, I would encourage your emailer to enjoy her college experience, create some awesome memories over a burger and the occasional beer, and continue value her health and well-being. Moderation in all things. Obsess over nothing.

  47. says

    Apparently I’m the senior Statesperson here at the ripe old age of 53. I’m in the very best shape of my life now. My wedding dress (got married at 25) is a little loose, my jeans I wore before having kids (3) are too big and I can wear the sundress I practically lived in on my honeymoon (why no – I don’t ever get rid of anything. Why do you ask??)

    I feel great. So my only advice is to do whatever works for you to feel great. If what you are doing is making you crazy (obsessing over magazine images, hating your body, starving) then you are not doing the right thing. My personal salvation post baby was Weight Watchers (twice) and now it’s triathlon. I’m hoping that soon it will also include weight training – just as soon as I start doing it instead of thinking about it!

    I love the idea of embracing those few left over pounds as a fond memory but I’m not sure that would work for me. It’s a lovely sentiment, though.

  48. says

    Hi Mizfit! I am a 25 yo grad student, and have some tips for your reader.
    First off, I understand the pressures in college. It seems that everyone is eating crappy and drinking tons. The last thing you want to be is *that girl* who thinks she is too good to eat/drink with everyone else. Also, as some of your readers said, some of my best memories from college are at late night pizza joints after a night of boozing it up with my friends.
    With that said, here are some tips for your reader

    1) Focus on nutrition, but only make it work M-F. If you can, obviously, try to eat healthy all the time. But if that isn’t an option, tell yourself “okay, I am going to focus on eating clean, whole foods during the week” and let yourself party with your friends on the weekend. Over time, you will find it easier to eat healthy on the weekends. I know dining halls or meal plans can be rough, but just focus on filling your plate with 80% of healthy things, and allow for a little indulgence. Oh, and please please please eat breakfast every single day!

    2) With drinking, avoid sugary drinks. Not only will they get you drunker and give you nasty hangovers, but those empty calories are horrendous. Stick to beer.

    3)”Activity isn’t encouraged”….Two words: Ultimate Frisbee. Start a team with your friends. Google it; drinking and partying is all part of the fun! What cooler way to party with your friends than getting some activity in at the same time?

    Believe me, any weight you gain in college will be whisked away post-college if you still are this nutritionally-minded at graduation. Good luck!

  49. says

    23 and I do think that the approcoach one chooses can be affected by where they are in life. Not neccessarily age, but relationship status, social-economic, etc.

  50. MizFit says

    21stCenturyMom (a woman who is freakin amazing, People. Please to visit her blog.), thanks so much for saying this:

    I love the idea of embracing those few left over pounds as a fond memory but I’m not sure that would work for me.

    all of this, from my notions to commenters thoughts, is SO unique to the individual.

    I appreciate your saying that and Metroknow begging to differ as well!


  51. says

    I’m 37. Looking forward to 40 too.


    I don’t think it really matters. I agree that it’s just a different type of busy.

  52. says

    First, I just turned 26 last month.

    Second I am not much help because I gained the freshman 25ish. LOL It really is hard to keep the weight off during college. All I can really say is try and watch what you eat, cut back on your drinking or find drinks with fewer calories, and exercise when you can.

  53. Allison says

    I am 39, but will be 40 in October. I actually grew an inch my freshman year in college and lost some weight…but then over the next 3 years gained 40 and started an ED. When I was growing/losing weight I was so happy about it that I seriously started restricting…led to being hungry…let to binging, etc. So just try to stay balanced. Never let yourself get too hungry. I have two kids and while not the thinnest I have ever been, I am definintely in the best shape that I have ever been in. I life weights, I do cardio, I feel strong and I am setting a good example of healthy eating for my kids. I never want my daughter to have to deal with all the eating issues I had/have!

  54. says

    26 yo. (enjoys walks on the beach, watching the sunset…)

    I gained and lost 10 lbs several times through university. (not much different from high school as I always lots weight through sports then gained through nothing) I found the best thing to help keep it off was to use the system. My university had a free gym for students. It sucked, but was relatively empty before classes. I was quite the geek (ha! was..) during the week, working out, then classes, then homework then bed, but weekends I would party and basically do all the fun university student stuff. Plus you can usually join rec sports teams for relatively cheap, or at least use facilities (courts, rinks etc).

  55. says

    Did you simply go back in time (6 years) and have me write that email? I think it is great that she is recognizing that she had some previous unhealthy eating habits and doesn’t want to go down that road again. I instead fell headfirst into an ED at the end of college/through grad school because I couldn’t find a way to juggle school, work, friends, drink, eating and working out. Instead of figuring out a better way to balance, I unfortunately did everything in extreme and I has taken years to undo the problems (which were obviously a lot deeper than a few el bees.)

    I simply think moderation is key and Mizfits suggestion that you live in the moment (and at times, calories be damned) and not feel the need to have to be perfect or guilty for a few nights where you over did it. (And I still have those nights that I ‘over do it’, I don’t know how well I am learning with age. :) )


  56. MizFit says

    yada yada yada broken mp3. you are all so GENEROUS with your time/comments and I appreciate it.

    Allison I love that youre the fittest and not the thinnest—as so often the latter is NOT the former.

    and Randi? loved your comment and LAUGHED at the walks on the beach. good point on using the system and one of my REGRETS about my college years.
    I should have taken more advantage of all the ‘for frees’ (well, really INCLUDED WITH TUITION but you know what I mean)

    and Fitz? Im with you, sister. I still have the over-do nights but pat myself on the back for LIVING and not just blogging about a fitlife.


  57. says

    I agree with Miz Fit on the first year of college stuff. I did it all too. It seems your old lifestyle (exercise and eating ) just comes back to you. You get sick of the fatty stuff and would rather eat a whole tray of homemade powerbars!!
    So enjoy it now but be prepared for the next phase of your life.

  58. says

    Dear MizFit,
    First off I love your commenters almost as much as I love you but I don’t know how you have time to read them all!

    Second, My birthday is January 23, 1980 which makes me 28 1/2 years old. I still have a hard time with this number because when I was younger (read teenager) I was very rough on my body. I took up body building and eating disorder for a while then left that for drinking, drugs and partying. I tend to be an extremist for sure. I didn’t stick with college out of drunken stupidity and gained a bunch of weight (from 165 to 330 lbs.) in the late teens early twenties. So really I never thought I would live through my self inflicted torture.

    When I finally woke up (pulled my head out of my a**) I was 22 years old and not sure exactly how I got there. I still struggle everyday to live in joy and moderation. It’s not easy but I do try.

    So I guess the only advice I can give to your emailer (is that a word?) is to enjoy your life and try not to be too extreme about anything. Moderation is the key to life, love and happiness. Trust me, I spent years learning that lesson.


  59. Ann says

    I agree that it doesn’t matter our age or specific goal, we are all the same and can relate to each other because we’re all working towards something, and trying to improve our selves and our lives (a lifelong effort, I hope). I had a couple of friends who ran marathons and the one with the slower time was making a huge deal to the faster one about how amazing she was, and the fast one says, “hey, we both did the same thing. we both RAN A MARATHON, which is a huge accomplishment. nothing else matters.” It was a refreshing viewpoint from the competitive world I work in.

  60. says

    Well it seems that everyone has already put up such great advice. I didn’t gain my weight until AFTER college. I guess I’m a late bloomer. ha ha.

    My tidbits:
    1. Take care of your teeth! FLOSS everyday.
    2. Drink vodka/soda with lemon/lime – only on weekends.
    3. Brown bag it as much as possible.

  61. MizFit says

    Jenn? I love and laughed at this:
    I love your commenters almost as much as I love you but I don’t know how you have time to read them all!

    not sure what it sayeth about me (Loserville. Population: The Miz) but I adore the comments and read every one.

    I also wanted to thank you for your heartfelt comment.

    Ann? PEOPLE KILL ME. (yep. that’s it)

    POM? as always you made me giggle. ‘late bloomer’


  62. says

    I gained my freshman 15 and found that it was just a matter of making a routine for myself that I could easily follow that helped take some of it off. (Still working on taking the rest of it off 4 years later at 26). My freshman 15 came from eating dorm food and still getting used to living on my own – once I got over that I definitely became healthier.

  63. says

    47 almost 48 for me.

    No college for me. However, should you find yourself pregnant and gaining too much weight. I can go there with you..

    Miz. and Bag Lady Please pen books. You are killing me.

  64. Heather says

    30 years old.

    I wouldn’t even know where to begin about college. I’ll just say that it can be a really rough time, especially the first year. You’re figuring out who you are independent from your parents and most people are learning to manage their own meals for the first time in their life (choosing whether to eat in the dorms, what to eat in the dorms, etc). Sometimes who you are becomes tied up in how much you eat. And that has a lot of long-lasting consequences. I teach college freshmen, so I don’t just know this from my own experience. For some girls (& guys), the first year or two of college can be pretty gut-wrenching. Since food, alcohol, sleep, and studying are often the main things parents control during high school, guess what is most likely to go awry? I wish someone had told me that it would be rough so I wouldn’t feel so alone/surprised. So that is what I do for my students. They still have trouble establishing study habits, sleep patterns, alcohol limits, and a healthy relationship with food, but at least they know that this is normal and will pass if they seek moderation and healthy choices.

    (am I Debbie Downer today or what? Blame it on toddler-big-boy-bed problems that kept me up well past my bedtime–not to mention his)

  65. says

    Turned 40 this year.

    If I could do college over again, I’d do it with the confidence I have now. I was an anxious nervous wreck during my freshman year. But I lived and I learned, and I’m a wiser person because of it.

    I’m with MizFit on the Freshman Fifteen. If keeping it off, keeps you in the gym for hours, away from all your friends and away from late-night pizza parties, forget it. Some of my closest friends today are the ones I made in college. I wouldn’t trade them for anything — including a smaller size!

  66. says

    I love the attitude you had while in college, MizFit. You had fun, you soaked up the experience, you didn’t criticize yourself, and that’s more important than obsessing over weight!

    Having the right mindset is important. As others have alluded to, you have to pay attention to what you’re doing, what you’re eating, make overall healthy choices, and get in some exercise – but not obsess about it! Obsession leads to the extremes – trying to be the skinniest, the prettiest, most popular, smartest, etc – and that can eventually sap the fun (and the whole point) of going to college.

    I have to add that I thoroughly enjoy reading your “please to’s.” That’s how I actually talk sometimes! :)

  67. says

    Thanks Miz, I do my best to pass my experiences on as sometimes it helps to hear that:

    1. You are not alone in your struggles

    2. It could be worse

    3. You can make it better

    I really think that all of these lessons would have helped me back then and could help others now. Live and Learn, and then get Love. ( sorry but I just love that slogan, It works for so many area’s of life)


  68. says

    Ack! I think I’m the oldest. I turn 50 in 18 days. Since I feel like I’m in my mid-to-late 30s, the number bothers me about as much as the scale number does. There are moments, but for the most part? It’s just another number.

    My college experience wasn’t the same as most folks. I went from high school to the workforce and then attended college part-time for a Very Long Time. Working full time, going to school, and being a 20-and then 30-something didn’t leave a lot of time for healthy choices (Krystal cheeseburgers at 11:00 p.m .on Monday nights–ick!), but I didn’t gain weight either.

    If I felt qualified to offer advice, it would be the same as I recommend to anyone at any stage of life: try to achieve balance as much as possible and be mindful of what you’re doing.

  69. MizFit says

    Cammy if it’s any consolation I thought you were 39.

    and will there be a big shindig in the blog world in 18 days?!

    in the real world of Cammy?!


  70. says

    Me? 20, female. Wish I had as much perspective as Charlotte on being anorexic.

    I came to college super-skinny and in total (obsessive) control of what I ate. I didn’t realize my mentality was unhealthy until gaining the freshman 15 from weekend indulgences made me totally hate my body. I proceeded to “fix” the problem by getting down to 100 pounds (at 5’3″) and staying there for another year or so.

    When my hair started thinning, I realized being anorexic wasn’t attractive, so I got help. Once I started eating normal amounts again, I gained thirty five pounds because my metabolism was totally shot.

    *aghem* A year later, and thanks to lots of exercise and controlled healthy eating habits, I fit into most of my skinny clothes and (think) my metabolism is back to normal. I still struggle with body image, but running helps me replace the negative thoughts with healthier ones.

    Long-winded, sorry. As much as the experience has changed me for the better (more mature, much calmer, etc.), I hope one day to help reduce the number of people who have to endure something similar. Running for an ED charity, perhaps? :)

  71. says

    I’m 33 (34 next month). I gained the Freshman 15, then lost it, then gained it back…and on and on. It was pregnancy that really packed on the pounds. I still struggle with the yo-yo weight trap, but at least I now enjoy exercise so I’m getting more fit (if still a bit fat).

  72. says

    22. And out of college for one year now :-).

    I didn’t put on any weight in college. In fact, I lost weight. But it wasn’t because I was particularly active. It had a lot to do with having a variety of dining hall options open to me, which ensured that I ate healthier than I was ever able to before (vegetable is somewhat a dirty word in my family).

    But I dropped some serious fat after I got into triathlon. I was fortunate enough to have a solid collegiate triathlon club team. That provided great training incentive as well as a great social scene. And yes, we drank. And ate nachos. A lot.

    My theory is that the easiest way to get fit is to find something that you really love. I love triathlon. And to me that’s the key :-)

    BTW, to the e-mailer, I got involved in triathlons during my freshman year.

  73. says

    Great post. Love the follow up comments, too.

    Your “please to” and other quirky ways of writing always make me smile.

    I’m 38 and counting down to age 40, when I plan to run my first marathon. Am in the best shape of my life now. I want to be saying “I’m in the best shape of my life” for as long as possible.

  74. CR says

    I am the emailer! I do not have a blog, hence no web link.

    Thank you all so much for the tips. It’s reassuring that we all face the same struggles to live balanced, healthful, and fun lives. Sometimes I think I’m not meant for the “college” life, as I enjoy being very active, eating well, and not drinking often. It can be isolating but it’s much better knowing that I’m living as I want to live, as opposed to living the so-called ‘college’ (and all-too-glorified) experience.

    Once again, I greatly appreciate all your input, and I admire all of you in your quests to live rich lives! It is so nice to read the comments (and let’s not forget MizFit’s posts!) of such empowered and strong women. Cheers to us!

    Thanks again,


  75. says

    35 here, nearly 36…and I have to say I do think there is a difference in how we approach fitness and health depending on age. I don’t think it’s the same for everyone though. I think some people are much more conscious of it when younger, because they’re dating a lot and worried about self-presentation. For me, I didn’t have a clue about real health or weight management (that didn’t involve Slim-Fast or a similar gimmick) until I got older and started realizing that I was, you know, mortal. :-)

    I do think that for a lot of people, as you mature, you start to realize you aren’t going to live forever, and you start to take notice of little aches and pains and stiffnesses…and that’s when you begin to understand that this is for real. This is forever. This body is the only one you’re going to get for this life, and it’s up to you to take care of it. Youth seems to carry a certain sense of indestructibility and invulnerability, unless you’ve had a brush with a serious health problem. I think having children also tends to make one more aware of the fragility and finite nature of life.

    I know this isn’t universally true, but it’s certainly the way it’s happened for me. I am finally at a point in my life where I understand the importance of real health and real fitness – not a number on a scale, because I weigh more now than I did when I was 25, but I’m a heck of a lot healthier; and not how I look, because of course I’m never going to look as fresh and smooth as I did 20 years ago! But real health, that starts on the inside and grows outward.

    It’s all about balance. I truly believe this, in every aspect of life. Anything that gets seriously out of balance in either direction is going to create problems, whether it’s eating habits, activity levels, weight or anything else. Learning to balance a joy in life (that can encompass nights out with friends, days spent at the mall or the beach or even at the gym, and YES, the joy of exercise-endorphins) with a sense of purpose and responsibility to oneself and one’s body is, I think, both the hardest and most important step you can take toward true health.

    And that would be my advice to the emailer, as well as to my own college-freshman-in-two-years daughter. Live life. Don’t spend time obsessing about how you look or how much you weigh. Just pay attention to what your body really wants and how it feels, try to give it the things that make it feel good and right and strong, and enjoy every moment you’re given. If that means you’re a size 14 – if you feel strong and healthy and energetic, that’s fine. It’s the health that’s important, not the size or the number on the scale.

    I think I wish I could have told myself that too. heck, I think I wish I could tell myself that right now…


  76. MizFit says

    V? I always welcome a long comment when it’s as thought out and heart felt as yours is—-never apologize up in herre!

    and all y’all? Ive bolded a comment above from the emailer—she, and I, thank you.


  77. says

    Chiming in a little late here…

    And I thought I was the youngest one round these parts, Sagen I had no idea!

    Anyway, I didn’t gain a lot of weight until I got out of school, just over one year ago and got a sedentary desk job. This is something I have had to learn to balance and am oddly enough scared to go back to a school environment (law school starts in two weeks!)

    I think the biggest tip I could give you is to watch out for dorm food. Eating at the 24 hour burrito joint once a week wont kill you, but the salt and fat laden food served in most dining halls will. I would say if you don’t mind check out the vegetarian options because often they are fresher, tastier, and full of nutrients. If they have salad bars hit that up instead of getting fries all the time. Also if they do omelet bars on the weekends go for egg white omelets every now and again. (A trick I always use at Vegas buffets). Also, try not to get addicted to the soft serve machine like I did!

    Feel free to email me via my blog if you want to chat about it further! Good luck, try not to stress!

  78. says

    22 here, graduated May 2007.

    Emailer/CR – I totally know how you feel. I too felt that I was not cut out for the drinking/partying/crazyness of so-called college life. I much prefer hanging out with friends in a more intimate/intelligent capacity than passed out near a keg of beer.

    What helped for me was to join a group. I met like-minded individuals and we went out for the odd beer together but mostly hung out and indulged our interests. Depending on the size of your college, you might have a group that are like-minded to you, perhaps an ultimate frisbee team like someone suggested, or maybe a slightly more serious sports team.

    Good luck with it :)

  79. says

    Ok… after reading all the comments (and feeling like I should note that I’m 47, eek)… I think I should mention that in some sense, I’ve been in college my whole life. Undergrad, and then a masters degree, and then a Ph.D., and then teaching… and so I just never left. And so I’ve had loads of time to experience about every facet of this, and to some extent, to see how things change.

    Really big thing that has changed is that on the whole, most colleges over real healthy food options, most of the time. And there are gyms and often exercise classes and so on, so the infrastructure that lets you keep fit is a lot better than when I was first in school. And at least at the college that I teach at, there is much more awareness of it. I’d say that the majority of my students play a sport, at least on an intramural team, or take dance classes, or spend time at the gym. And they’re building good habits that will become better habits over a lifetime, hopefully (instead of doing it the other way around, like I did, sigh).

    I’m with everyone who says that to some extent you shouldn’t worry about it because this is a rare time in your life (possibly anyway; I hated being an undergrad!), but on the other hand, it’s also a time when you’re learning how to become YOU. And the you that you want to become is one who will do what she wants to, what she feels is right, rather than one who will feel compelled to do what everyone else is.

    So my best advice is, enjoy who you are, and find friends who enjoy who you are, too. Don’t make compromises based on what other people think you should do or be.

    (And on a purely practical note, what everyone’s said about beer in particular is perfectly right. No nutritional value, high calorie, high carb, and it’s the easiest way to screw up fitness and motivation. It’s a huge part of weight gain in college students, and it accounts for tons of other issues, too. Moderation in everything is just a really good way to live.)

  80. says

    Just wanted to let you know that I actually write a blog on this very subject.

    It’s about finding unique weight control solutions for the unique college lifestyle and also addresses the body image issues that are so rampant in the 18-21 age bracket.

    Hope your college reader will stop by! (and anyone else interested)