The Chronicles of a University Student
Pt 1: Healthy Living in a Sea of Fast Food

The first year of university is an exciting time. Personally, I couldn’t wait to make new friends, attend new classes, and experience a brand new atmosphere. What I wasn’t prepared for was the new food. The first year of university is notorious for “the freshmen 15”, an expression describing the amount of weight that some students gain in their freshman year. Many believe that this expression is a generalization, and perhaps even a myth. I, on the other hand, know first hand that “the freshmen 15” is not a myth, but an unfortunate reality for many university students, including myself. What follows is the brief tale of how I gained, and then subsequently lost 10 pounds in my first year of university.

When you walk into the university cafeteria it’s hard to avoid the strong smell of greasy food. Pizza, burgers, grilled cheese, and fries — everything your stomach wants, but your heart fears. I wasn’t raised on fast food, so this was all very new to me. As you can imagine, I indulged. Not once, not twice, but… well the number isn’t really relevant… right? Suffice to say that I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and that was fine… until it wasn’t. There is no scale in my residence so I wasn’t aware that I was gaining weight. My clothes still fit and I didn’t think that I looked any different. I didn’t realize what was happening until one night I felt this odd sensation… a weird burning feeling bubbling in my chest and throat. That was the first time I had ever experienced heartburn or acid reflux. A week later I went home for the first time that semester. I stepped on the scale, and my fear became reality: 10 more pounds than when I left for university were plastered onto the scale. It was time for a change. Not only did I look bigger, but I felt awful. I was lethargic, grumpy, and experienced the pain of heartburn.

University student healthy living TorontoSo, I made a plan for myself. I would work out as much as my schedule permitted me to. Spynga was not an option, as I was attending a school outside of Toronto, so I had to find alternatives. The spin classes at the university’s gym did not compare to the lively classes at Spynga, but I didn’t have much of a choice. In addition to exercising more, I would stop eating fried food, limit saturated fats, and increase my protein, fruit, and vegetable intake. On top of that I would drink water and nothing else… which didn’t last for long… I mean, come on, it’s freshman year, after all!

Before I knew it, I had lost the extra 10 pounds. Although I was happy with my weight, I was even happier with how I felt. I had more energy, I was getting more sleep, and I had no more acid reflux.

For those of you entering your first year of university, please learn from my mistakes. Try to avoid the temptation of fast foods and always remember to exercise. As for me, this isn’t the end of my weight loss journey…let’s be honest, gaining 10 pounds and then losing those 10 pounds doesn’t really count as a weight loss journey at all. Nevertheless, I will continue to treat my body right and I will continue on my journey to living a healthy lifestyle.

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