It’s your body; get what you want out of it

We have all heard of the “freshman 15 (lbs)”. For some students, the first year piles on more than the expected 15, but whatever the number, it can be a heavy and embarrassing load to carry. My experience as a first-year taught me a lot about achieving goals and taking control of my own life. The lame excuses I used to justify a literal diet of French fries and pizza became quite tired, as sweatpants became my only resort.

Excuse #1: The Food Sucks

There is nothing good to eat in the cafeteria, so it’s either French fries or death. Well, I learned by second semester that this is false. The food in the cafeteria is no home-cooked meal, or restaurant-cooked meal for that matter, but there is usually an assortment of vegetables and other foods that, when ingested in smaller portions, aren’t that bad. Salads and sandwiches became my new friends. I also learned how to buy my own food so that, if I did not like my cafeteria options, I had some healthy alternatives in my room.

Excuse #2: I have no time for the gym.

I was forced to realize that if I did not designate the hours in my day, everything would flow together, leaving me no time for mental or physical relaxation. I started out going to the gym for just 20 minutes a day. As I progressed, I increased my time to 35 minutes. There are 1,440 minutes in a day and devoting 20 of those minutes to any kind of physical activity will not ruin your day. The benefits of consistent physical exercise can be seen as early as the first month.

Excuse #3: I’ll start tomorrow.

Start today. Between now and tomorrow, you could come up with a whole other slew of excuses. Try it while you’re convinced. The gym is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sun. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Start out on the treadmill, bikes, or ellipticals; and don’t worry, no one is paying attention to you. Most of us are attempting to accomplish or exceed our own physical goals.

It’s not always easy and I recommend getting a “chubby buddy.” They don’t have to be chubby, but they should understand and be willing to support your physical endeavors. Having someone to gently remind you that Snickers isn’t the wisest late-night snack could make a difference, especially during the inevitable times that food and stress leave you feeling vulnerable.