I was browsing my Facebook feed, as you do when you’re bored at work and have a midterm coming up in, oh, two hours, and I came upon this article that once again hit very close to home. It talks about how ED’s statistically arrive into our lives around the time we go to college – and gives tips on what parents should do.
What it doesn’t discuss is why the problem itself arises. Now, jokingly mentioning the Freshman Fifteen, they kind of touch of the subject, yet there is no explanation as to why eating disorders seem to prevail around the time of freshman year at university. Well, my own personal perspective could offer a little insight, I suppose.
See, college, to most teens, is about freedom. It’s about leaving the nest and breaking out from the natural habitat of one’s parents’ house. It’s about embarking on a journey on your own. In my case it was quite literally a journey – I had to skip halfway westward down the European continent to get where I am today. And the trouble with detachment from the family home is just that – you’re jarred out of your comfortable, parent-provided existence into a life.
We tend to think that something as simple as eating should come naturally. That it’s something we all know how to do and when to do and so forth. Most people do, I suppose. But that brief euphoria college students experience upon having been liberated from the family dinner table and put into a new scene – one with house parties, booze, cheap snacks, – it makes you lose your perceived caution.
It’s true that our parents know what’s best for us. And that includes what goes on our plate. I’m not saying this is the general case, but yes, parents mostly care about the nutrition of their children. Then the children break out and want to try all those wonderful sinful things we’ve dreamed about: eat a whole bag of chocolate-covered Doritos or survive all week on bacon and french-fries alone. So we try these things.
Now, at this point some people start sobering up and taking care of themselves, some carry on (I’m looking at you, college boys), and some fall victim to the Freshman Fifteen and start struggling back. That was my case.
See, I was so used to the fact that I never fluctuated in weight back home without having to control my food, I did the same in college. But the food here is different. There is more fat in it. College diets are generally not healthy, yet we as student who’ve just been removed from our comfort zone, we don’t realise that. And then comes the chilling thought of, oh God, it’s too late, I will be a pile of lard forever and ever more, and lo and behold, we have a freshly deep-fried anorexic or bulimic on our hands.
This is why.
We need our mommy to tell us what to do. But we can’t expect our parents to take care of what goes into our ravenous little tummies forever. We need nutritional education.
It’s your call, world.