Fight the "Freshman 15"

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Fight the "Freshman 15" Many freshman or first-year students are probably delighting in their new-found freedoms at college - freedom to stay up late, skip class every once in a while and the freedom to eat and drink whatever they want, as much as they want.

Many freshman or first-year students are probably delighting in their new-found freedoms at college - freedom to stay up late, skip class every once in a while and the freedom to eat and drink whatever they want, as much as they want. This is why many students pack on what's known as the "Freshman 15."

The truth about the "Freshman 15" is that students don't always gain 15 pounds, and neither do they always gain weight during their first year of school. Studies have shown that students typically gain 3 to 10 pounds during the first two years of college, with the average gain being 5 pounds, but most of that weight is gained during the first semester.

Starting college is a major event in a young person's life, and it is common for students to feel lonely, sad or homesick. Struggling with these emotions can make it harder to seek out the best food choices, especially since "comfort foods" are so easily found in the cafeteria.

Fighting the "Freshman 15" is done the same way people do it after they graduate, get jobs, get married and get accustomed to the convenience of fast food. It's done by making better daily food choices and exercising. However, here are some tips just for college students on how they can "ace" this battle against the bulge.

Find a friend with whom you can exercise several times a week. It doesn't have to be your roommate. Find someone who will motivate you to go for a run or hit the gym.

Don't short yourself on sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to overeating and weight gain. Plus there is research that suggests weight gain may be tied to our circadian rhythms.

Don't go overboard on the weekends. Just because you may want to unwind after a long week does not mean those extra calories (even ones in alcoholic drinks!) won't count.

Start with one plate. The convenience of cafeteria trays are that they can hold everything at once, and this causes too many students to stuff it full with foods from every corner of the buffet. Fill a plate with sensible portions, eat it mindfully and then ask yourself if you're still hungry.

Lastly, remember that college is a time when people are learning skills and information they will take with them the rest of their lives, so why not make healthful eating a regular part of the curriculum!

Dining Out->Buffet & Cafeteria Weight Gain->Unwanted Weight Gain
Sep 15, 2010
Ryan Newhouse - health writer, MyNetDiary

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