Gaining weight while away at university is common for many students. This is usually the first time they've had control of what they eat, how much to eat and when they eat it. It may take a little while to figure out everything when it comes to selecting the right balance of foods. Also, it is not uncommon for a quick trip to Dan's Diner or Nick's Garage (restaurants in Residence) to happen at midnight or even later.
Parents need to be very careful about overreacting to this situation. You don't want your child to begin to obsess about food. Although you can no longer control what and when your child eats, you can influence how weight gain is viewed and offer helpful advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What you can do to help
- Listen to your child's anxiety about their weight, without preaching
- Reinforce that weight and body types do not define a person
- Ask if they would like to talk about how to eat sensibly and suggest that getting some exercise might help to maintain a weight that is reasonable
What may not help
- Making this a big deal and helping them into dieting
- Overreacting, thereby emphasizing weight issues over other developmental concerns, such as learning healthy eating patterns
- Imposing your attitudes about weight and body image