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The true meaning and myths of “freshman 15”

March 16, 2021

You have probably heard of the term “freshman 15” somewhere in a post-secondary educational environment. If you have not heard it or you are accustomed to this term, this is the perfect article to read! This article touches base on the meaning behind freshman 15 and how it is false and over-exaggerated.

What does the term freshman 15 mean? 

Let's begin with what does freshman 15 mean? It is the belief that people gain fifteen pounds freshman year in post-secondary education. Freshman 15 is a slogan thrown around the freshman year of post-secondary. There are countless myths associated with this term, and it has turned into a phrase that can scare students and contribute to additional stress.

Myth #1: You will gain 15 pounds your first post-secondary year

The number 15 used in this slogan is just thrown around and has no evidence behind it. Every student approaches university differently, so the weight gain or loss will be different for everyone. Just because you are heading into university does not mean you are guaranteed to gain weight, and if you do gain weight, there is no reason to feel ashamed of it. 

Myth #2: Weight gain is mainly seen in freshmen and not sophomores 

Weight gain is not dependent on the year you are in. It is assumed that new students will be more prone to weight gain because they are unfamiliar with the university environment. 

Myth #3: Students often exercise less upon entering college, which in return causes weight gain. 

Although post-secondary does offer a higher workload and keeps students busier, the rates of exercise by students are dependent on the individual and not the atmosphere. Every individual is different; some commit more time to physical activity than others, and there is nothing wrong with that. Everybody has their own interests. Even getting a five-minute walk around campus is an excellent source exercise. 

Myth #4: Weight gain is always a bad thing

The media leads the public to believe that the only good weight change is the loss of weight. The media also distorts the perception that weight gain is always bad and that one should only be losing weight to be healthy. It is common for celebrities and big influencers to make weight gain seem negative. They also make it seem as though weight loss and being fit are only associated with attractiveness. One should not try to lose weight for other people. That goal should be for oneself. Although it is good to work towards weight loss goals, the most important thing is happiness. People shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of weight gain as it is not always a bad thing. Instead, they should prioritize the tasks and activities that make them happy. It is important that everyone does what makes them happy and what keeps them in a state of peace. 

To wrap things up, the myths mentioned above create a stigma of acquiring the “perfect body” portrayed by the media. It is important to learn about these common myths and make sure that they are not dictating how you live your university life. These are called myths for a reason. As long as you are happy with yourself, there is no reason to change your university lifestyle.

By Samer Owiar