How to Avoid the Freshman 15

By Brittany Loeffler on September 11, 2019

The myth of the freshman 15 when starting college isn’t so much of a myth after all. Many students experience unwanted weight gain during their freshman year of college due to many different factors. Students will gain weight due to poor food choices, stress, lack of sleep, and not having knowledge about good nutrition.

Don’t let the freshman 15 scare you, though. It’s completely avoidable! When you adopt these behaviors and are aware of what you are consuming, you can avoid the freshman 15 and may even return home in better shape during Thanksgiving break than when you left for school.

freshman 15

via Pixabay

Stay Active

Most colleges and universities have gym facilities available for their students. These gyms are free to use with your tuition and many offer fitness classes that you can take. Take advantage of this free gym use because it will probably be the only time in your life that you don’t have to pay for a gym membership! Add working out into your daily routine so you stay active and burn off any extra calories you may consume in the dining hall or on the weekends with your friends.

Take advantage of walking around campus rather than taking a bus when you don’t have to. Remember, getting in 10,000 steps a day is the goal for most people!

Educate Yourself About Healthy Choices

Some people may think they know what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, but with so many fads and trends going on, you may be making some big mistakes. Spend some time educating yourself about what type of foods are the healthiest choices and other activities. One of the biggest tips is to eat less processed foods and more natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.

Get Enough Sleep

It’s hard to make sure you get enough sleep as a college student, but it is essential when trying to avoid the freshman 15. When you do not get enough sleep, a hormone called ghrelin is released, which causes you to feel hungry, and the hormone that suppresses hunger, leptin, is not produced. So, if you notice that after pulling an all-nighter or only getting a few hours of sleep that you are constantly hungry the next day, this is why.

Manage your time well and make sure that you are getting 8 hours of sleep every night. This will contribute more than you think when trying to avoid the freshman 15.

Don’t Drink Your Calories

You don’t have to count your calories. However, you should have an idea of how much you are consuming throughout the day. Surprisingly, a lot of your calories will come from what you are drinking. Sodas, teas, and juices can contain hundreds of calories in just one single-serve bottle. Those fancy Starbucks coffees you order when studying are also packed with calories. Not to mention the alcohol you’re drinking on the weekends. During the week, only drink water and black coffee. Then, on the weekends limit yourself to how much alcohol you consume. You’ll save a ton of calories and avoid the freshman 15.

Manage Your Stress

We get it, college is extremely stressful. However, it is important to learn how to manage your stress. Not only will it help you stay sane and avoid the freshman 15, but you will have this skill throughout your life for all of those times you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Managing stress looks different for everyone, but the best way to start is to find something that makes you happy. When feeling stressed, take a step back from whatever is stressing you out and do something that releases that stress. It will clear your mind and allow you to go back to the activity feeling refreshed and ready to take it on.

Take a Nutrition Class

Many universities offer sports nutrition or nutrition classes that you can take as an elective. While it may not help you advance in the field you would like to go into, it will give you lifelong skills to live a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Take advantage of a professional teaching these lessons and adopt a new way of eating and looking at food!

Avoid the Freshman 15

Since it is probably the first time you are living on your own, you may not know how to make healthy choices right away. It takes some time to learn how to take care of yourself. However, with these healthy behaviors, you can avoid the freshman 15 and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle wherever you are. Remember to stay active, get enough sleep, watch your calories, stick to natural foods, manage your stress, and educate yourself about nutrition and healthy behaviors. These habits will take you a long way throughout life!

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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