In light of the fact that colleges begin in just a couple of weeks, I wanted to take a few seconds to share my thoughts on something that tons of freshmen fear…that vague expression “the Freshman 15.” We’ve all heard it, whether someone is using it negatively or jokingly, and I’m hear to tell you that it does exist on some campuses, and it doesn’t exist on others. Sometimes the Freshman 15 isn’t campus specific, though. Actually, more often than not it is not campus specific. The Freshmen 15 really just depends on the individual. It’s completely up to the person attending college for the first time what his or her health is going to be. But, if you’re one of the people fearing the Freshmen 15, I’m here to offer five quick tips for avoiding gaining the 15 pounds when you get to college.
1) Only Keep Healthy Snacks in your Room | A huge part of people gaining weight in college is mindless eating while studying. Make sure you don’t have a year’s supply of Top Ramen, potato chips and mac n’ cheese in your room, as this will only lead to consumption of fattening foods, and thus weight gain. Aside from possible weight gain, these items really aren’t good for your body, and you want to stay as healthy as possible throughout your first year (and the rest of your life).
2) Walk Everywhere or Ride Your Bike | Get exercise in the easiest way by walking around your gorgeous campus or riding your bike to class. This may seem simple and really not a big deal as far as fitness goes, but honestly walking around campus will give you a little bit of exercise each day, especially if you go to a larger school. My freshman year, I lived across campus from most of the places I spent my time (the dining hall, the library, etc.), so I ended up doing a ton of walking, and ended up losing a few pounds.
3) Get a Workout Buddy | Find someone in one of your classes or in your dorm that likes working out, and ask her if she wants to workout with you once or twice a week. This will motivate you to go because someone is relying on you. Also, it’s a good way to make a friend. However, make sure you choose someone who is positive and simply enjoys working out, not someone who is obsessive about losing weight, this may have a negative impact on your fitness, your self-confidence, and your self-esteem.
4) Read the Fine Print in the Dining Hall | Most college campus dining halls will post nutrition facts by the serving areas. To make sure you’re eating healthily, read the calorie amount, the ingredients, and the ‘contains’ sections. Some items may look healthy, but are actually really fattening. Also, steer clear of the pizza station. So many people end up eating pizza or pasta for every meal because it looks the best, but be mindful about how many carbs you’re actually consuming. You should also avoid eating fries, and other fattening foods late at night!
5) You Don’t Have to Drink | Let’s talk about the elephant in the room for a second. Most college freshmen get to campus, and suddenly realize they don’t have parents around to tell them when to go to bed, when to be home, and mostly, that they should’t drink alcohol. However, what a lot of freshmen don’t seem to understand is its perfectly okay not to drink, or to only have one drink. Alcohol consumption is the number one source of weight gain in college. People start drinking more frequently and at higher volumes, and suddenly the weight catches up to them. I didn’t, and don’t, drink so I didn’t really struggle with this aspect of weight consciousness, but I realize it is definitely a contributing factor to the notorious freshman 15. Be careful!
So, there you have my five tips for avoiding the freshman 15! Now, just as a general aside, I’m not writing this post because I don’t think people should gain weight or because I think everyone needs to be skinny. I’m writing it more or less as a general rule of thumb for staying healthy and fit your first year in college. A lot of people worry about gaining weight in college, and these are a few ways I avoided gaining weight. When I was getting ready to leave for college I joked that I was going to lose 15 pounds before I left so that if I gained weight I’d look nornal. This didn’t happen, and I ended up losing weight when I got to school, but only because I was really happy, I was walking everywhere, and I avoided unhealthy snacks, opting for fruit or granola instead.
How do you plan to avoid the Freshman 15?