Freshman 15 is this constant coined saying that in the freshman year, college students will gain 15 pounds. Although research has indicated the reality is closer to 5 lbs., with stress, different schedules, partying, and the fact students are now faced with having to cook for themselves (a.k.a. eat whatever they want), healthy choices may not always be at the top of a college student’s priority list.
While a little bit of weight gain isn’t a bad thing, picking up unhealthy habits in our early 20s is.
With these tips you can make sure to avoid freshman 15, not just for freshman year but for all four years.
1. Eat healthy
It seems that take-out and pizza become a huge part of freshman life.
Try to skip on the cheesy crust and aim for healthier alternatives. Whether that means cooking your own meals, or picking out the right meals from your school’s dining hall, try to monitor your intake of sugar and fatty foods. As a lot of people say, it’s not just about what you do in the gym, but about what you eat in the kitchen.
(And as for the parties, watch how much you drink – not just for your limit, but alcohol could encourage freshman 15 more than you thought.)
2. And don’t eat your feelings
Terrible break up? That pint of Ben & Jerry’s is your best friend. On your period? Chocolate and chips, anyone? Stressed for that test? Eat anything and everything in sight.
Saying that post-secondary life is a struggle is an understatement. Not only are students faced with the impending knowledge they have to figure out their lives, but combined with the rest of our problems in life, sometimes it’s hard to give our diets a break.
While one way to avoid freshman 15 is to eat healthy, that also means don’t indulge too much.
3. Get enough sleep
If you thought pulling those all-nighters back in high school were great for your marks, they’re definitely not OK for your weight. A recent article indicates sleep deprivation actually leads to more junk food impulses. When you’re at zombie-status during the early mornings and in need of energy, our bodies are prone to grabbing more sugar-filled foods to give us a boost.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to a slower metabolism. Studies also showed So catch those Z’s instead of those pounds and say goodnight to freshman 15.
4. Walk when you can
It’s something we do everyday, and one of the easiest ways to maintain your weight. Along with other health benefits – such as toning your legs, preventing dementia, and strengthen your heart – it’s a great way to keep freshman 15 away. One step at a time.
Walk to your classes. Walk through your campus on a great summer and fall day (it’s not that cold yet!). Walk when you go to buy your groceries. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalators. Walk while you do your errands. Just keep walking.
5. And use your school gym
School isn’t just about classes. Use the facilities your tuition is paying for! Whether it’s before, in-between, or after classes, take your running shoes to the gym and hit up the treadmill that you can’t fit in your dorm room.
Not everyone is athletic – and no one expects you to be – but even a 20 minute jog or a couple crunches go a long way when it comes to battling the effects of freshman 15. Stay active and burn off those calories.
What do you do to avoid freshman 15?