Image: Suju (via pixabay)
By Francesca Ionescu
American universities have coined the phrase ‘Freshman 15’, where students gain 15 pounds in their first year. This is due to many things, like moving from home and mum is not the one cooking anymore, and Pot Noodles become everyone’s best friend. It might also be the constant drinking as a form of socialisation, but it is far easier blaming it on having a lack of time to cook.
Usually the weight change comes with a change in normal life, which can happen due to far more than just starting university. Maybe you have moved to a new house, or went travelling, or finished a really good show, or any other big change which might affect the way you eat. The same thing happens with relationships.
Usually the weight change comes with a change in normal life, which can happen due to far more than just starting university
I have always struggled with my eating, and while I definitely started to overcome that on my own rather than because of my relationship, I’ve realised my eating habits have changed.
Without getting too soppy, my boyfriend decided to go to Cardiff to be with me (rookie mistake, I know). Which meant we were each other’s best friends in first year, and with that came spending a lot of time together. He is someone who eats a lot, but on the other hand is not someone who is a massive cook. So, I often cooked more so we could both eat, and it made me cook more even just for myself, just out of habit.
There is nothing wrong if the sole reason you have overcome your eating issues is due to a relationship. A good partner will pay attention to how you react to the world around you, and as a result that will often include food. I have noticed my boyfriend would often remind me to eat or ask whether there is anything else I needed. Making sure I ate enough meant changing his habits too, to sit at the table long after he is finished, to wait around for me and have food he would not have had otherwise. This made me a lot less anxious about taking too long eating, and eating around other people, which meant I would finish meals out, and offer to go out for food with my friends more often.
A good partner will pay attention to how you react to the world around you, and as a result that will often include food.
Another difference has been the amount of times he can eat a day. I learnt to eat when I am hungry, which is twice or three times a day, but I often forget if I am busy, and living in halls so far from my lectures made that even harder. My boyfriend is always hungry and becomes increasingly upset the more he has to function without eating. I’d be leaving lectures forgetting I did not have time for breakfast, but staying with him meant we ate every morning, and it became a habit to eat whenever he was hungry. That made me a lot more conscious of eating even when he wasn’t with me, and it became a very good, but expensive, habit.
Gaining weight should not be seen as a negative side effect of changes in your life
All of these obviously had an effect on my body. I gained about 8 pounds, so while I was slightly off the Relationship 15 mark, it made a massive difference to my health and how I saw my body. And as my life changed massively, there is no surprise my physique did too. Gaining weight should not be seen as a negative side effect of changes in your life, it should just be seen as a side effect which coincides with growing and going through changes, whether these changes happen in your body, brain or heart.