Help, I'm having body issues

August 31, 2014

I have a lot of image issues. This year, it just got worse since I started college, and was stressed and kept eating. I put on a lot of weight and now that I’m home for the summer, my family can’t stop talking about it. It stresses me out and just puts me in a bad downward spiral. Help?

Mama Luv: 

Please do not ever let another person’s words affect you negatively. That being said, It’s completely normal to eat when stressed especially since many people find comfort in food (trust me, my go-to is a tub of chocolate ice cream). However, Mama Luv would suggest trying few activities that can help you deal with stress as well as help you stay healthy. Perhaps go for a leisurely walk to clear your mind or take a few fun dance classes. You might even meet wonderful friends while doing so! Don’t forget to keep your chin up, strut with confidence, and shake what your mama gave ya!


It’s a shame that that’s the first thing many families comment on when they open the door after months of not seeing you.

We all need to stop policing each other and our own bodies. What really matters is a person’s HEALTH and how you feel. People of all weights, shapes, and sizes can be healthy. But if you lose or gain weight faster than usual, then something else might be going on. So maybe the slight change in your body just got your family worried, and what they really mean to say is, “how are you?” 

It sounds like college has got you stressed and you turned to food as a coping mechanism more often than you would have liked. The real issue here is stress. Well, now that you know that about yourself, you have the power to do something about it. What else can you do to tackle this stress? Like Mama Luv said, some form of exercise will do wonders for stress. A walk outside, a hike in the Berkeley fire trail, or a run in the Berkeley Marina. Try a little bit of exercise 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes and pay attention to how you feel. 

… BUT PLEASE don’t stop eating! To love our bodies means to nourish them too. See if you can pay attention to what foods make you feel good in the long run, and what foods don’t. The better our bodies feel, the more capable we are able to handle stress. and school sure can be stressful!

I’ve been stressed lately and have been drinking too much. My roommates frequently have get-togethers throughout the week and I end up getting hammered with them. I'm not happy with the amount I've been drinking and have noticed that I've gained weight too. How can I remain close to my roommates while letting them know that I don't want to drink with them every night? 

Mama Luv:

Mama Luv is proud that you recognize this and want to put an end to it! Since your roommates see you every day, perhaps they’ve noticed your behavior but are unsure of the next steps. Mama Luv would recommend being honest with your roommates and explaining the situation. Limit your alcohol intake and have your roommates hold you accountable. Another (perhaps even better!) solution is to suggest alternative roommate-bonding activities that can be equally fun. If your roommates are understanding and great friends, they will want to help you as well. In the meantime, don’t forget to keep your chin up, strut with confidence, and shake what your mama gave ya! Mama Luv is here to help. 

College stress is real and I’ve fallen into some unhealthy eating habits. I’ve gained some weight and, even though I’m not too bothered by it, I would like to try to start eating better. The problem is that when I hang out with my friends, I end up skipping the gym and eating fast food. Is it possible to get healthier while still spending time with my friends?

College stress is definitely real. Feeling like you have to choose between friends and your health can make things that much more stressful. The good news is, it’s possible to have both! 

First, kudos to you for wanting to get back to your healthy habits. Eating better and working out are both great ways to take care of yourself that can have a positive impact on your study habits and grades. Unfortunately, these are often the first habits to go once the pressure of the semester hits. Some things to consider:

Suggest new ways to spend time. Hike the Big C. Sign up for a local 5k supporting a cause your friends may be passionate about. Take a dance class together. The idea here is to focus more on fun than fitness.

Have a plan. Chances are you will still end up at that taco truck or fast food spot after late nights together. Make a choice you feel comfortable with and know it's okay to not feel guilty about eating.

Focus on the way you feel. Shift your focus to the way you feel and other healthy side-effects of eating better and working out, like increased concentration!

Good Luck! And if you still need some tips, you can always set an appointment with a health coach at UHS.