The intern 15
“You’ll have so much time after work,” they said. In theory, yes, after work I do have some free time to hit the gym and do all things relaxing. In practice, however, I get back to my dorm tired from a long day at work and am not really in the mood to change into running shoes (more in the mood to put on my slippers). Not to mention, if I want to get eight hrs of sleep I actually only have three or four hours minus the time it takes to go eat dinner and do nightly bathroom/beauty routine. It’s an effort coaxing myself to get up and start moving, and it’s not because I am physically tired but rather mentally exhausted and in need of a quiet recharge.
Not that exercise can’t give me that, but like many people, I’ve never been a true fitness enthusiast. During the school year and while at home, it’s not too big of a problem because I have someone looking after me or I’m constantly on the go and literally don’t have the time or money to eat other than what I pack. Given my new circumstances as an intern – extra cash, no parental control, peer influence – I find myself eating extra stuff my body doesn’t need such as popcorn, donuts and cappuccinos. (Well, maybe a little caffeine is necessary).
I can now see why people say that it’s easier to gain weight if you’re an office worker. Before my internship I would consistently walk over 10,000 steps and occasionally take a spinning or dance fitness class at UIC. Now I’m at about 1,000 steps daily because I spend all my time sitting except necessities such as getting up for bathroom breaks or grabbing my lunch bag from the fridge. Because of the lack of physical activity throughout the day and having to concoct or gather my own meals, I have rapidly gained almost 10 pounds since starting my internship. Although I am happy with myself at whatever size I become, my situation is not ideal.
So if it’s a widely-heard myth that a new college student may gain the “Freshman 15,” what about an intern? I am still halfway through with my internship, so thankfully I didn’t realize this too late. I know the best course of action is changing my attitude towards exercise and making it a daily routine I can’t go without, such as how I’ve made eating or washing my face a natural habit. That, and managing my time.