Simple Steps to Beat the Dreaded ‘Freshman 15’

College students in an in-campus salad bar. Afraid of gaining the dreaded "freshman 15" when you're about to start college? Here's how you can avoid that from happening. // Photo Source:

When you’re an incoming freshman student in college, the one thing that you won’t be seeing for quite a while are your mom’s home-cooked meals. Next thing you know, you find yourself gorging on pizzas, breakfast cereal, leftover takeout, and ramen noodles on a near daily basis. The result: you’ve gained some considerable amount of weight often referred to as the “freshman 15”—so-called because the general weight gained by freshmen students during their first year in college is 15 pounds.

While this phenomenon is a common occurrence for many new college students, the exact weight gained actually varies from person to person, thus making the freshman 15 more of a myth as opposed to a full-on fact. Common culprits of the extra weight gained during freshman year include unhealthy eating habits and irregular eating schedules, as well as consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs. So how exactly do you beat the dreaded freshman 15 if you’re about to start college? Here are some tips for you to stay focused with your health and nutrition while starting college.

Be smart with your cafeteria choices

Most in-campus dining services are now diversifying their menus in order to address the issue of unhealthy eating from their students. While it may be tempting to grab several slices from that unlimited pizza station, practice some restraint when it comes to your daily cafeteria meals and include more healthy options on your meal tray such as decent portions of fruits, vegetables, and food items that are low in fat and sodium.

 

Always be on the move

While walking in and around the campus to get to your classes and extra-curricular activities is an ideal way for you to burn calories, you need to be more committed when it comes to keeping your weight in check. Make it a habit to include simple and achievable exercises to your daily schedule such as running, biking, or swimming to ensure that your body remains active and you’ll always feel energized after a good workout.

 

Practice cooking or ordering healthier food

You’re bound to rely on no-cook food items like breakfast cereals and instant ramen noodles when you’re hungry, but there’s no reason why you should always default to the easy option. When your budget allows it, buy fresh proteins and vegetables at a nearby supermarket and cook a simple yet filling meal in your dorm room or off-campus apartment. If you have no time for cooking, order healthier takeout alternatives beyond the usual pizza and greasy fast food options so you can enjoy satisfying your hunger without the guilt.

 

Be discreet yet firm at parties      

Attending an off-campus college party will inevitably lead you to two things: alcohol and drugs. If you are committed to living healthy while in college, it’s best to avoid these two common social lubricants. Furthermore, you can have fun at any party without having to consume beer or any sort of recreational drug. Make sure you politely but firmly decline any offers for drinking or taking drugs and stick to being clean and sober while having a good time with your friends.

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