Avoiding the Freshman 15

Avoiding the Freshman 15

So, you’ve moved to college, what now? It’s time for classes and parties and exams, but it is also a time for the so-called (and much dreaded) “Freshman 15.” Did we lose you?

According to various researchers and studies over the years, college freshmen – about one in four – gain 5% or more of their body weight in the first semester after moving to college. That usually translates to about 10 or 15 pounds. So, where does this phenomenon come from?

Just think about it. If you aren’t a college freshman but were one once, you probably remember the food court, easy access to food delivery, and all those vending machines! Plus moving out of Mom and Dad’s for the first time can translate into some real unhealthy eating. Oh, and all those all night study sessions? They just don’t work without all those late-night snacks that can really pack on the pounds.

College doesn’t have to be the reason for gaining 15 extra pounds, though. You can actually fight the Freshman 15. So, if you think that moving away to college might mean you’re about to experience your own Freshman 15, let us share some of these suggestions with you.

Set the Ground Rules

Though you can fight the Freshman 15 even after the first week, it is important to set some ground rules right away. So, if Mom wants to send you a care package, maybe let her know that you want only healthy snacks – what about nuts, dried fruits, and whole grains. Or better yet, ask Mom for shampoo, change for the laundry machines, and other non-food items.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Sure, you’ve heard it before, but we’re telling you again. Don’t skip breakfast! We know how tempting it is to roll out of bed and head over to the lecture hall for that early morning class, but skipping breakfast is a surefire way of packing on the pounds. At least grab a granola bar or an apple on the way out of the door.

Schedule Your Workouts

The first semester of college is crazy – parties, new schedules, friends – but that doesn’t mean you should skip your workouts. Just like you schedule your classes, you can schedule your workouts. Do this and you won’t be sorry – it’s a great way to reduce stress from school and the move to college, but will also help you keep trim and fit.

Limit Your Portions

The dining hall is a poor college kid’s best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy. All those free-pouring dispensers don’t really help you get a good idea of the proper serving size. Train your eye to limit your portions to something the size of about a cup – the contents of a coffee mug or baseball should give you an idea.

While these aren’t all the ways you can help battle the Freshman 15 once you move to college, these tips should put you in the right direction. We wish you the best of luck this year!

Jon Huser.