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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

It was the question that inevitably popped up during every discussion about college, whether it be with co-workers, parents, friends or people I had just met. After talking about how exciting college would be and the academic and social merits, someone would always ask, “Are you afraid of the freshman fifteen?” My answer was always a resounding “Of course not.” It’s wasn’t as though I was going to start eating every chance I got just because I was going away to school.

Of course that was before I discovered the ice cream in the dining hall, the mashed potatoes and gravy at Home Zone, and the opportunity to have Starbucks every week.

Sarah Gaies, a health science freshman, felt differently. “I had heard many stories about people going to college and returning home having gained a significant amount of weight. I was scared that would happen to me, too.”

UF prides itself on offering students top-notch gyms. I was so excited about the new classes I could take. I enrolled in yoga, Zumba and Total Body. I was so proud that I was working out so often, especially considering I really dislike going to the gym. Gaies also has plans to utilize the fitness facilities. “I am lazy about going to the gym and it’s very easy to eat poorly at the dining halls. So, I am going to start exercising more regularly with my friends and other girls on my floor. I love exercising, but sometimes I just don’t have the motivation, and working out with friends will make it a lot more fun.”

Going to the gym became a great rationale for eating less than healthy foods. If I had just spent an hour in the gym, then what’s the harm in having ice cream for dessert? Adryanna Rivera-Delgado, a nursing freshman, feels similarly. “Even if I do eat fast food, I try to work out every day.”

Having to temper my ability to obtain junk food with the knowledge that it’s not good for me has been a new challenge. At home, I didn’t always have access to food options I have here. Personally, I do not think I have experienced the freshman fifteen. Rivera-Delgado doesn’t think she has gained the freshman fifteen, either, “But I have gained one or two pounds.”

I’m sure the novelty of having access to a variety of unhealthy foods will wear off and the gym will hold more appeal than a scoop of orange cream ice cream.

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