By now, you’ve heard the warnings about “freshman 15.” But is it just a myth? Many students are likely to gain weight-but it may not be the full freshman 15 and it may not happen during freshman year. Good news, right?
College offers temptations and requires many adjustments for the incoming Freshman. There are many firsts that happen in college, which make it a very challenging experience for some. Although this is a myth, there are many stressors in college that can cause eating disorders in students and the fear of the preconceived “freshman 15” just adds to that.
What causes eating disorders in freshmen?
What’s behind your first year weight gain? Teens undergo numerous emotional and psychological transitions throughout their first year in college. Sometimes they lose control over their new responsibilities and then they turn to food thinking that it is something they have full control over. This starts their unhealthy eating habits which can then shift into an eating disorder during their freshmen year. With the pressure that a new school and social life entails, stress and anxiety are sometimes unavoidable.
In addition, we currently live in a world where image and physical attributes matter a great deal. Freshmen students are very conscious about fitting into their new community and are worried about gaining weight. According to National Eating Disorders Association(NEDA), media highly influences how people see themselves. Unfortunately, media portrays unrealistic body images. This causes teens to anxiously fit into that image thinking that they would be accepted by the new community that they are in, which is college. They will also, most likely, compare themselves to their peers and have low self-esteem about how they look.
Eating Disorder HOPE reports that around 25% of students control their weight with bulimia, and around 91% of females diet to control their weight. These numbers are very alarming and are evidence that the number of teens with eating disorders is increasing.
What are the symptoms of eating disorders?
There are different types of eating disorders and identifying someone with it can be difficult. Here are red flags that shouldn’t go unnoticed, according to NEDA.
- Having low self-esteem due to body image
- Inadequate food intake
- Restricting food intake
- Having no control over eating
- Strong guilt about the binge-eating episode
What action to take?
When you experience this or encounter someone with an eating disorder what can you do? Undergoing an eating disorder can be troublesome and can even be life-threatening for some people. Treatment is important. And so is finding the root cause of your Eating Disorder. A support group is equally important to reduce the anxiety and to find people who empathize with you and your struggles.
Despite being a myth, fear of the “freshman 15” is real amongst teens that are about to enter college. Developing eating disorders from this fear can cause grave consequences in your teen life. Always keep your health in mind and eat a balanced diet-everything in moderation!