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Eckburg: We deserve to feel neutral in our bodies

Colorful graphic line art depicting different body shapes for body positivity
(Graphic Illustration by Falyn Sebastian | The Collegian)

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Moving to college and adapting to a new, more self-sufficient environment can be extremely difficult. Whether it’s struggling to meet new friends or experiencing changes mentally, physically or emotionally, this part of growing up can be uncomfortable. In other words, being a freshman is scary!

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One of the bigger uncomfortable topics is the dreaded freshman 15, which is where incoming students gain weight as they adjust to a new lifestyle. 

First, let me be clear — the freshman 15 should not be a dreaded topic at all, but it can definitely feel like an added stressor on top of all the changes you’re already experiencing.

If you’re going to incorporate fitness into your routine, do it because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.”

We, as blossoming young adults, deserve to feel comfortable — or at least neutral — in our own skin. Adjusting to a new environment is already stressful, and we shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable with any bodily changes that come with it. We can’t always feel body positive, but we can work to feel body neutral. 

I have struggled with disordered eating for years, and when I moved to college, those feelings were amplified by the already-stressful experience of losing the routine I had at home. Everything I built up for myself in my routine was changing, and I felt like I needed to hold on to how I looked to feel some sense of security when meeting new people and experiencing new things. 

Our bodies are doing exactly what they need to be doing to keep us safe, healthy and ready to take on the world, and feeling uncomfortable with how we look — although it is a natural part of growing up — is unproductive and gets in the way of actually making memories and enjoying life. 

Now this is not to say that you have to completely fall into a body positive mindset because that’s not always the most achievable standard. Instead, we should strive to accept our bodies as they are and engage in body neutrality.

You don’t have to love every single part of your body, but you should be kind to it because its only goal is to keep you moving and living your life.”

The body positive movement can be another form of peer pressure, and it could promote unhealthy behavior because you feel like you should love your body. Your self-worth is not based on your appearance or your ability to love your body — there should be no link at all.

We all deserve to feel good about our body’s ability to be a body. It protects our organs, it keeps us warm, it heals our wounds and it communicates with us. You don’t have to love every single part of your body, but you should be kind to it because its only goal is to keep you moving and living your life.

According to Healthline, body neutrality is linked to mindfulness in many ways and “helps you recognize and prioritize how you feel in your body.”

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You can work to be body neutral in a variety of ways, such as removing the link between exercise and earning calories. Just because you ate something that wasn’t healthy doesn’t mean that you now have to go burn all of those calories off. Food is fuel for your body, but it is also for

A group of people play a game of ultimate frisbee near the Student Recreation Center Aug 28. (Lennon Brooks | The Collegian)

pleasure. 

If we spend time worrying about the physical aspect of this growth, we miss out on all of the emotional, spiritual and mental growth.”

Every cell in your body works to keep you alive, and we shouldn’t feel like we need to meet a made-up standard on the outside by disrespecting what we have on the inside.

We are so much more than what we look like, and women especially should not be made to feel like we are less worthy based on a number on a scale.

If you’re going to incorporate fitness into your routine, do it because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. 

As we grow, our bodies will grow with us; it’s a constant ebb and flow as a result of our lifestyles and experiences. If we spend time worrying about the physical aspect of this growth, we miss out on all of the emotional, spiritual and mental growth.

If you do want to incorporate fitness into your life, Colorado State University’s Student Recreation Center is a great place to get active. If you’re uncomfortable going alone, there are a variety of options for personal training sessions or group classes where you and your friends can go together.

If you’d prefer to work out when the Rec Center is slow, you can check the cameras and live counts to see the activity in certain areas before leaving to come for your workout. 

You’re not alone if you’re struggling with body image during this incredibly transitionary period. You don’t have to feel body positive all the time, but you deserve to feel body neutral.

Bella Eckburg can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @yaycolor.

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About the Contributors
Bella Eckburg
Bella Eckburg, Opinion Director
Bella Eckburg is a fourth-year journalism student with a minor in criminology and criminal justice and is currently serving as The Collegian’s opinion desk director. Eckburg hails from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, but she’s no skier. Instead, she spent her time in the mountains exploring her love for writing and painting, which she brought with her to Colorado State University in the fall of 2019. Journalism gives Eckburg the opportunity to explore the Fort Collins community and life on campus through a critical lens. She enjoys writing about local history, sex and relationships, queer culture and social media’s impact on this generation of young women.  In her free time, she loves to watch trash TV, write horror fiction and listen to podcasts. As opinion director, Eckburg wishes to help every writer build upon their AP Style skills, boost their confidence and find their voice. Regardless of your personal stances, every opinion has a place on the opinion desk, and Eckburg works hard to make the desk an open and safe environment to have discussions about the community and campus. Her favorite part about working at The Collegian is meeting so many interesting and incredible people who are passionate about telling the stories of Fort Collins and CSU.  Eckburg is excited to continue working with The Collegian for another year and hopes you’ll find the time to come to the newsroom in the basement of the Lory Student Center to strike up a conversation or sign up for the many available reporter trainings to join the team.
Falyn Sebastian
Falyn Sebastian, Digital & Design Managing Edtior
After becoming a page designer as a sophomore, Falyn Sebastian evolved from print editor to design director and has now officially begun her new position as digital and design managing editor. Originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, she chose to attend Colorado State University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design along with a minor in entrepreneurship. When it comes to arranging content in The Collegian's newsprint, Sebastian formats and arranges the visual media that readers love in a physical copy. After attending content and budget meetings with the editors of each desk, she manages how each week's visual content fits into the paper by clicking through Adobe InDesign. With a combination of original photos, illustrative graphics and advertisements, Sebastian organizes and delegates tasks to her talented and ever-growing design team. As a graphic design student, journalism was not a field Sebastian intended to work in during college, but she embraced the world of publication design through The Collegian. As graphic design focuses on the importance of effective communication, she realized she was truly designing for a fulfilling purpose. Student media will forever have a happy home in her heart. Working with other students who are passionate about what is happening in their community drives her to continue working on impactful design. Sebastian looks forward to what is yet to come while gaining new experience and memories with her staff.

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