There are a lot of changes that take place during the first few years after college. In addition to being in a new place without the extensive network of peers and activities college provides, it might be your first time working full-time or living independently.
You might also notice changes in your body for a variety of reasons. There might be some weight gain. Although you might want to lose it immediately, experts say weight gain shouldn’t be something to panic over, and extreme exercise and diets can backfire. Here are some facts about weight gain and adulthood.
Adapting To Adult Life Takes Time
It’s pretty common to gain weight after college. According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are typically 9 pounds heavier in their 20s than at 19, while men are 12 pounds heavier.
Many factors contribute to weight gain, but lifestyle changes certainly contribute. Ariel Johnston, R.D., a dietitian, says, “For many people, this is the first time they’ve had to be more self-reliant when it comes to eating and preparing food, and that’s difficult.”
Dieting Can Backfire If You’re Anxious About Weight Gain
Breese Annable, a psychologist, “Many people experience anxiety about weight gain and respond to that anxiety by trying to lose weight through dieting.” A person’s weight alone does not indicate their health, nor can dieting make them healthier.
Think Differently Instead Of Losing Weight
Being fat or overweight is often seen as a moral failing. It would be best if you untangle your worth from your weight as soon as possible. Johnston says, “I encourage people to start from a place of self-compassion. Weight gain doesn’t mean you are bad or have no willpower.”
Changing your relationship with your body is easier said than done, especially if everyone around you is dieting or criticizing themselves.
Learn To Eat Well Instead Of Dieting
Developing a healthy relationship with food and eating habits can be a great beginning in your early 20s, as you establish new habits and routines. Annable says, “You can control your body by using food or exercise to control your mood or energy, rather than using them to control your body.”