College induced stress with body image

BOSTON — Many college students fear the dreaded “freshman 15” and will go to extreme measures to keep their comfortable, youthful image.  Eating disorders, obsessive gym habits and stresses over body image are all too common with college students.  I, myself, struggled with maintaining my desired physique.

Beer and pizza…Need I say more?  The late night call to Dominos is definitely a popular event in the world of college students; especially those living in dormitories.  The food at my university’s dining hall is repulsive.  Often those cravings for a good delivery pizza take over and afterward I wonder why I gave in to such temptation?

beer_consume.jpgAlso, the amount of weekly drinking in college has nearly doubled from the amount consumed in high school, between both males and females.  Shockingly, 12 ounces of beer has between 100 to 175 calories!  Statistically on average, male college seniors could consume over 2,000 calories a week from beer alone.

Some of these students indulge in unhealthy eating habits and forget about exercising, either because of lack of time, or disinterest.  Let’s face it, after a long day of classes and work, it’s difficult to get to the gym.

Other students counteract the food and drinking behaviors with working out or playing sports.  As we all know, college is a time to grow and mature as individuals.  During those years our bodies are adapting to new lifestyles.  The new schedule of balancing classes, work and homework can become very intense at times.  Many students live off campus, which make their days longer and adds yet another stress factor.  Therefore, not only are students exercising to burn off those guilty calories, but also as a stress reliever.  A recent survey, conducted at the University of Indiana, of over 300 college students has found that a quarter of that group turn to exercise to relieve the pressures that college can bring.

istock_000007286834xsmall.jpgExercising does aid in the battle over stress, but only in moderation.  Quickly, working out can become an obsessive habit that ultimately could harm eating habits as well.  If I don’t make it to the gym on a daily basis, I counteract that action with watching what I eat.

Noticeable results from working out can be very pleasing.  Who wouldn’t enjoy shedding a few pounds or toning that one little spot on your stomach?  These quick little fixes can lead to unhealthy exercise habits, such as over attending the gym and ultimately becoming extremely paranoid about working toward the “perfect body.”

At the end of the day, there isn’t a specific “perfect body.”  If we all focus on our own individuality, rather than the societal view of body image, we will find a special beauty.  Being comfortable in my own skin is what I personally strive for.  Changing lifestyles and images come and go throughout our lives.  Finding the constant peace and beauties within ourselves are the ultimate conquerors for any fluctuations that may come in our path.

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