Freshman 15: Mindful Eating for Students

By Michelle May, M.D.

There are many stressors for young adults heading off to college: How will I find my classes? Will I like my roommate? How do I prevent the Freshman 15?

Navigating a college campus and a roommate from h*ll are just part of the college experience. Worrying about managing their new independence with food shouldn’t be.

Eating 101

College is a time for self-discovery, growth, and learning, including how to manage the essential skill of nourishing one’s body. Without a doubt, most students are managing their food intake completely on their own for the first time.

They’ll have to learn how to contend with late night pizza deliveries, free food at special dorm and campus events, meal cards, and other opportunities to eat what they love. They’ll have to deal with the stress of homesickness, exams, and roommates, any of which could trigger emotional eating. They will face the pressure to fit in (good news: it was probably worse in high school!), make friends, and date. And they will be bombarded with confusing messages about nutrition, diets, and health that can lead to disordered eating and contribute to eating disorders.

Rather than college taking a toll on a student’s health and well-being, it is the perfect opportunity for them to learn how to listen to and trust their body’s wisdom about why, when, what, how, and how much to eat (and to learn from the inevitable mistakes they will make along the way).

15 Mindful Moments to Fuel the Life You Crave

Here are my Freshman 15 (which of course apply to any young adult, not just freshmen!). These are fifteen key messages from Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Students: A Mindful Eating Program to Fuel the Life You Crave.

Freshman-151. Dieting makes your life feel smaller. Self-care makes your life feel bigger.

2. If hunger doesn’t tell you to start eating, how do you know when to stop?

3. Each day is composed of a series of conscious and unconscious decisions that lead you closer to or further from what you really want.

4. If you don’t like your results, ask yourself what you were thinking first.

5. The moment that you notice that you were mindless, you are mindful.

6. When a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it.

7. Get rid of guilt and make eating for enjoyment an intentional decision.

8. When you are free to eat whatever you want, food loses its power over you.

9. Nutrition information is a tool, not a weapon—or a religion.

10. If you love to eat, act like it.

11. Set your intention to feel better when you’re finished eating than you did when you started.

12. Eating the right amount of food isn’t about being good, it’s about feeling good.

13. When you make a mistake, don’t miss the lesson.

14. We don’t all wear the same size shoes; why should we all wear the same size jeans?

15. Care for yourself because you love and accept yourself, not so you’ll love and accept yourself.

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Free download of chapter 1 Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Students: A Mindful Eating Program to Fuel the Life You Crave from https://amihungry.com/eatwhatyouloveforstudents

 

Free download: 101 Things to Do Besides Eat when you subscribe to our Mindful Eating E-Newsletter!

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