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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Why is everyone on a diet all of a sudden?

Maybe I'm imagining things, but it appears there has been a recent outburst of weight-loss frenzy among college students in the weeks before Thanksgiving.

It could be fears of going home and seeing friends for the first time in several months have prompted students to panic about weight.

Or perhaps the coming holiday season is scaring students into thinking if they don't lose weight now, they will be twice as heavy once holiday feasting has ceased.

But whatever the reason, self-deprecating rants about unwanted body fat and drastic goals to lose 15 pounds by Christmas seem to be on a lot of people's agendas - and it's starting to piss me off.

I say this mainly because lately, I have been assigned the position of Designated Moderator of my friends' daily Flab Competitions.

"Look! Look at my stomach. I have a muffin-top now," one of my skinny friends complained as she lifted her shirt in disgust, to which another of my fit friends replied, "Oh, you think that's bad? Look at my legs. You'd think I'd belong in a forest with these tree-trunks."

It drives me nuts because there is no reason for any of my friends to be upset about their bodies.

I know my friends aren't the only people who feel insecure about their weight but unfortunately, most of us are. Preoccupation with weight is commonplace in college. We are bombarded with warnings of weight gain from the beginning.

I remember thinking, "Oh man, I don't want to gain the Freshman 15," as I waved goodbye to my family on my first day of college.

But really, it's OK if you've put on a few pounds in college. It's not the end of the world. What's not OK is the way college students complain about their bodies.

When will people finally stop stressing over the little flab around their arms?

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When will women finally stop trying to win Flab Competitions?

Instead of getting frenzied about losing a pants size before fall semester ends, maybe what we should do is start feeling good about the way we look - as we look now.

My mom gives pretty good advice. When I had a pity party last year about the way I looked, she told me, "Always be thankful for what you have. I used to look in the mirror and hate myself. Now I look back at old photos and think, 'Damn! I was a sexpot!'"

So let's try to feel good about ourselves and enjoy our young bodies. So what if you put on a few pounds this semester - it happens. So what if your belly hangs over your pants a little bit - it's not going to kill you.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's OK to eat junk food and sit around all day. I'm just saying that extreme diet and exercise habits aren't OK, especially around this time of year, when people should be enjoying time with friends and family.

Plus, who honestly wants to think about calories on Thanksgiving?

Wear your elastic pants and eat an extra slice of pumpkin pie. Love your body.

Colleen Shea is a sophomore majoring in journalism. Her column appears on Fridays.

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