Hey guys! I had such a great time with the party that is WIAW yesterday! Now back to regularly scheduled programing. 

Since I have less than a full week left of classes in my freshman year, and about a week and a half until moveout, I thought this would be a great opportunity to reflect on the healthy living journey that was Freshman year- the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 

I guest posted for Avery a little while ago about tips for staying healthy in college. I came up with the list through some trial and error. And error. And error. I’m going to go through the journey that brought me where I am today, including future plans. Hopefully my experiences will help those of you making the transition soon!

I came into college planning on walking on to crew. I had always wanted to try it, and I am never one to pass up on a new and intense workout. I also came into college in phenomenal shape- probably the best shape I’ve been ever. Throughout high school, I loved nutrition and had my healthy eating figured out well enough. In addition, I had been training for a 10k all summer, which I completed the weekend before move in. Since most of my friends began college a month before me and softball ended around the same time, I had literally nothing to do for a month except workout to my little heart’s desire.


(Right before they left.)

I did my training runs, spin classes, weight lifting with a trainer, and agility training with a trainer. I worked out 2-3 hours a day, partly in preparation for crew, but partly because I loved these workouts, and knew I wouldn’t be able to do them when I got to college. No lie-the thing I was most sad about leaving was my gym and weight lifting trainer. 

I spent the fall rowing crew. I loved it. I was with all walk-ons, and since I was in such great shape to start with, I was one of the fastest. I loved being on the water, despite the brutal 5:15 am wakeup call every morning. I was in great shape again, though I didn’t lift weights as much. However, I fell into the trap of a new eating situation. I ate like crap. I never gained the freshman 15 because I was working out a ton, but I wasn’t fueling my body that well and didn’t feel that great. I would have morning practice, and then go back and gorge on pancakes with syrup and muffins galore, and then leave with a stomachache and an energy crash. And, it was sleep deprivation at its finest. But I loved what I was doing (rowing, not eating crap), and it was a great way to meet people and maintain fitness. 


I started having problems around the holidays-I absolutely love the holiday season, and am super into the holiday spirit and doing everything associated with that. This was the first time I really got homesick- I went home quite a bit around the holidays to do things like decorate the tree and make gingerbread. I think these emotions led me to eat as much holiday food as possible to try to fit in all that I had missed or was missing. Image

By the time it was finally Christmas, I was in a food-induced misery because I felt so awful. And as we know, sugar messes with my emotions…a lot. By the time I got to training camp (a few days after Christmas), I had lost a lot of what was left of my healthy habits.ImageI was only home for 10 days at Christmas before training camp in San Diego. This was where the walk-ons mixed in with varsity, Olympic athletes an all. I also found that while everyone else was getting faster, I was actually getting slower. I was in such great shape when I got to school that I really had no room for improvement. However, I returned from the trip stronger and more confident. ImageWinter quarter was extremely difficult for me. I was spending 5 hours on crew, taking hard classes, and getting maybe 6 hours of sleep a night. In addition, I didn’t like varsity’s workouts as much, and felt I wasn’t getting as much out of them, despite the time commitment I was putting in. I also missed doing my own workouts, which I had had time and energy for in the fall. The only way I could go to a Spin class was if I woke up at 5, finished my erg early which was only kind of possible given when the gym opened, did the spin class, and then ran. I did that maybe once. My eating habits once again weren’t great- I feel like I never really “fixed” myself from the holidays. In addition, I finally discovered a likely nut allergy, and a major problem with crashes after eating certain types of carbs. Since I had zero time or energy, I was kind of isolated in my dorm. My classes were really hard for me, and I had no time to put in to them. I could barely stay awake in class. I was really struggling. After my first Ochem midterm, I seriously considered quitting, but I loved the team, working out hard, and the athlete status. And then I got sick. One afternoon, I felt sore all over. We had a freezing cold practice on the water, and I could not warm up from it. The next morning I had a 100 degree fever. I tried to do my morning erg, but it wasn’t happening. I made plans to make it up that weekend. Then, the next morning I was still sick. I was struggling to figure out when I’d make up all these missed workouts. Before I knew it, it had been a week, and my fever was up to 103, leading to a trip to the ER. Long story short, I had Mono. And strep throat. And a cold, which led to an ear and sinus infection. And stomach flu. All at once. It was awful. I had to go home. I couldn’t get out of bed for weeks. I have never been that sick. I had to drop Ochem and math, but given how much I was struggling, this probably saved my GPA. I barely finished my last 2 classes with some extensions and really difficult days. For 2 weeks, I could barely eat at all. First, it was the stomach flu. Then, it was the swollen organs that made my stomach the size of a pea. I must have dropped at least 10 pounds during this time, although a lot of it was muscle. 

When I gained my appetite back (before I was better), I went a little crazy, indulging in all the I couldn’t eat in the previous weeks and all the food from home I had missed out on all year. Fro-yo was an everyday thing. ImageImage

I regained my sweet tooth that I had lost while I was sick, and boy did I gain it. Losing and then gaining weight rapidly kind of messed up my eating habits further. Around this time, I made the difficult decision to not return to crew. Mono was a wakeup call: what I was trying to do was not healthy. And although I do miss it, I know I made the right decision.

Soon, I was able to work out again, and boy was it hard. When you can’t even sit up in bed for weeks, imagine how hard a sit up is. I started with yoga, and didn’t lift weights until later (due to organ swelling). I wish I could say I figured out my eating habits, but the illness really messed me up. 

At the beginning of this quarter, I had such a great time- I could talk to friends until 1am, and it wouldn’t matter because there was no morning practice. Late night food parties? Sure, why not? Yeah, those habits caught up to me pretty quickly. When I finally eliminated sweets a few weeks ago, I felt way better. Now, I would say I am eating much healthier than before, but the lack of 5 hours of crew everyday is catching up to me a little bit. I never seem to have problems getting workouts in- I love them! But Id be lying if I said my eating habits are where I want them to be. 

As you can see, this has definitely been a year of ups and downs. I am currently suffering from lack of a sport- softball consumed my life all through high school, and rowing replaced it until now. I always thought that a sport was what was holding me together-before I was cleared for crew, I was going insane. Now, I am going a little bat-shit crazy, haha. I really hope my little journey helped some of you. Going home for a long time when I was sick really helped me- buh bye homesickness! However, as you can see, I am not where I want to be. So what does that mean?

Instead of taking a ton of classes this summer, I want to take some time to myself. I am taking only 5 units because I don’t want to be burned out. I want to spend this summer finding my happy place with food and fitness, and I want to put some serious work into the ol’ blog. My class schedule is going to be much more intense in the fall, so I really want to figure myself out before then.

Despite the rough patches, I can honestly say I had an amazing freshman year.

What was your freshman year of college like? Did you struggle at all?

5 comments on “Reflections on My Freshman Year: Food and Fitness

  1. Carleigh

    I finished my freshman year about a month ago and I definitely struggled with some of the same things as you. I played varsity tennis all through high school as well as marching bass drum in the band. That gave me about 4-5 hours of built in physical activity a day. Over the summer, I did the Insanity workout program so that I would still be on some type of schedule. When I actually got to college, my random class schedule made it really difficult to fit in lengthy workouts and all of the indulgent food choices messed with my attempts to eat the same healthy way that I had at home. I think that I figured things out pretty well toward the end of the year, but I know (or at least hope) that the healthy living thing will be a bit easier when I live in an apartment next year. There are so many more options when you actually have a kitchen to make things. As far as workouts go, I know that I just need to schedule things better ahead of time. I think that everyone struggles a little with figuring things out when they start college, but I wish you the very best with ‘finding your happy place’ over the summer and starting next year stronger, happier, and wiser! 🙂

    1. Aurora

      Thank you for letting me know how you figured it out! I am confident I will get it, but it will take time.

  2. maddy726

    Woah, I can’t imagine having all those sicknesses at once…way to go making it through all that!
    I definitely struggled with fitness my freshman year of college. Living in the dorms, it was pretty much impossible to cook, and that left me with a ton of processed foods or dining hall food (which wasn’t much better). I ended up stress-eating a lot too, and ended up gaining about ten pounds. I also had a lot less time/energy to exercise, and although I never did sports in high school, I always worked out on my own consistently. I had a huge breakthrough in March of my freshman year when I stepped on the scale one of the few times I actually hit the gym. After that, it was consistent exercise and healthy eating for me, and the weight came off pretty quickly.
    I’m confident you’ll find your happy place with fitness and whatnot this summer-I’ve always found summer is a great time to re-prioritize my life and create healthier habits. (:

    1. Aurora

      Thanks for sharing! I’m hoping some consistency will help me out!

  3. Pingback: Freshman Year Recap | Fitness is Sweet

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