Binge Eating Disorder at College: The Freshman 15

March 31, 2016 Star LaBranche

It's a common joke that people, particularly women, who go to college gain 15 pounds their first year (or semester, depending on who you're listening to), but when you have binge eating disorder and you go to college, the weight changes you could experience are nothing to joke about (Make Time For Binge Eating Disorder In College). Nothing is quite like the stress of college. When stress triggers your binge eating disorder at college, binges and weight gain can collide.

Binge Eating Disorder in College: The Freshman 30 recently went back to graduate school and my binge eating disorder was at the forefront of my mind. But I wasn't quite prepared for just how my disorder would collide with other stressors and create a cornucopia of triggers for my binge eating. When I went for my physical at the beginning of March, I found that my blood work came back completely healthy, and I had gained 30 pounds in the last six months.

If an unexpected 30 pound weight gain had happened to me a few years ago I would have been horrified and disgusted and probably have done something drastic to try to get the numbers on the scale to go back down (When Binge Eating Disorder Causes Weight Gain). But this time, I was surprised at the weight gain, but more surprised by how little a reaction I had to it.

Binge Eating Disorder In College: On Campus and Overworked

When you're in college and you have binge eating disorder, it's easy to get overworked and exhausted. You're pressed for time which might lead to skipping meals, not eating enough, eating too much out of frustration, and a variety of other problems. You're stressed out, which can also cause weight gain (Trauma Disorders and Cortisol: What Is Cortisol?). If you at all use food for comfort, it feels like a natural conclusion to binge after a hard day and it's an attempt to self-soothe.

Tips For Managing Binge Eating Disorder and The Freshman 15 in College

Whether you're just starting college with binge eating disorder or you're already neck-deep in term papers, here are some tips to manage your eating and help eliminate some of the common triggers that can stop you from eating or make you binge.

  • Make time to eat and eat hearty meals. When you're running around campus and using your brainpower, you're going to need fuel to keep going. A 200 calorie meal from a vending machine is not going to be enough.
  • Treat self-care like your job. On campus I hear lots of students almost bragging about how they don't sleep, don't eat, and are completely overrun with work. It's not a badge of honor to stop taking care of yourself. College is a lot of work and requires a lot of time. There's no getting around that. But managing your time and practicing self-care should be something you work on every day.
  • Self-evaluate. Before settling down to eat, ask yourself how your day has been going. Sometimes realizing you're frustrated and in need of comfort can help you to monitor your eating and keep you from binging.
  • Stay in contact with your doctor. Whether it's your binge eating disorder therapist or your general practitioner, make sure you are staying healthy and able to function at your best.

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APA Reference
LaBranche, S. (2016, March 31). Binge Eating Disorder at College: The Freshman 15, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 5 from

Author: Star LaBranche

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