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Don't Let the Freshman 15 Sneak Up On You

Don't Let the Freshman 15 Sneak Up On You

Starting your first year of college is so awesome because you can do whatever you want and there's nobody around to tell you not to. You can eat candy for dinner, order a pizza at 2 a.m., and avoid all vegetable matter for three months straight. And though it's technically against the rules, most freshmen also end up drinking a lot of beer. It doesn't take long for a lifestyle of college eating to turn into the dreaded Freshman 15. Here are some things to keep in mind as you delve into your first year on campus.

  • Just because you can eat whatever and whenever you want — don't. Try to be sensible when it comes to food choices and how often you eat. Try to remember not to eat when you're not hungry, especially late at night. Don't let others influence your decisions either or be a victim of peer pressure when it comes to food. If you just ate dinner, don't let someone talk you into going out for Chinese.
  • Be wary of dining halls. These endless buffets allow you to consume well beyond your daily caloric needs in a single sitting. I know there are a ton of choices and that the soft serve machine is on all the time, but try to remember how much you used to eat at meals. Don't keep going back for more just because it's there.
  • Don't use food to deal with stress. If college life is getting the best of you, then exercise, take a long shower, or talk to someone about it. And I don't mean your friends Ben & Jerry.

To find out what else can help


  • Choose healthy snacks to nosh on during late-night studying. Or better yet, instead of having a bag of snacks open all the time, take snack breaks. That way you can refuel and give your brain a break too.
  • Don't keep food in your room or in your desk drawer. If you can see it, you'll probably end up eating it, even if you're full.
  • Walk or ride your bike to class and around campus instead of taking advantage of campus transportation.
  • Join the campus gym. As a student, I bet your school has a superb gym complete with cardio machines, weights, classes, a track, and maybe even a pool. Make gym dates with you girlfriends, so you can help each other maintain a healthy weight. If you're not into the gym, take a fitness class for credit, or find some other way to stay active. Regular exercise will not only keep those extra pounds from settling around your middle, but it'll also strengthen your immune system.


Join The Conversation
classysassy classysassy 8 years
For the first two years of college junk food, drinking, my buffet style choice choices at the cafeteria caused me to gain plenty of weight. It wasn't until the end of my second year when I was living with roommates who strictly ate organic and exercising was their regimen that I started to follow suit. Healthy eating plus utilizing my school's gym with their free classes has definitely improved my healthy love style. I love it, six-pack here I come!
scottdavis0676 scottdavis0676 8 years
I didn't gain any weight my freshman year in college, although I was a self-avowed gourmand LOL. I was very active, playing pickup basketball for hours on end each day, and working a full-time manual labor job. My typical lunch would consist of me scarfing down two or three double cheeseburgers at a time, along with multiple servings of french fries and numerous refills of Pepsi. Then at night after getting home from work, I would consume multiple pepperoni pizzas at one sitting. Luckily I am a ectomorph/mesomorph combo, which makes losing fat and gaining muscle less difficult. Even now in my thirties, I can eat similarly and not gain TOO much weight. However, once I purchased a treadmill, the weight literally fell off over night. I started running 20-30 miles a week, cleaned up my diet, and woolah, six-pack abs!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
Gained about 40lbs when i went away to college and ironically enough i was in one of the fittest cities, San Diego. -sigh- i regret i didn't take advantage of that. i ate waaaaaaay too much junk, drank loads of beer, and didn't walk as much as i should. it was only my last year and a half did i start trying to get healthy. i joined classes at the gym, worked out and tried walking more. though my diet didn't change much so i didn't see instant results. now i know better, changed my diet, and have worked off all the pounds, plus some and intend to lose more. :) yay!
cvandoorn cvandoorn 8 years
I slowly gained about 23 lbs during my four years at college from eating out all the time. Every night was a different restaurant. I enjoyed it a bit too much in Los Angeles...I am still trying to work it all off! (10 more lbs to go!)
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
If only I knew this during my first semester in college! I ate healthy at home before college, and I had phys ed. at high school, but I never thought major weight gain would ever happen to me until the holiday break when I saw pictures of myself!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
ahh yes - the memories of my freshman year in college - i don't know if i really enjoyed it all that much - cause i drank and ate and basically participated in all those greek life things that make you gain weight. it's definitely hard especially if you come from a smaller town where you don't have as many options for food and you go to a school that offers a large variety of things. i started to eat a lot more chinese food in college and i had pizza a lot more too - and that's where the weight came from i think. it's DEF a good idea to follow some of these tips though so you feel good about yourself when you come home for thanksgiving or winter break the first time and you see your friends - then you'll still look as great as you did when you left for school.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
I lost weight my freshman year at college - but I definitely saw a lot of girls who seriously ballooned within one month of being there. They were not the same size from orientation week! Then again, one of my school's traditions was cookies and milk 5 nights a week for every dorm at 9:30. :true: A tradition since 1838. So I'm not surprised that people gained weight!
glampop20 glampop20 8 years
I gained 30 pounds in 6 months at school my freshman year! Even though I had to walk up 3 flights of stairs to get to my dorm room and I walked to classes 3 times a day I still managed to pack on pounds because I didn't watch what I ate. My boyfriend and I would go out to eat almost every night and sometimes order wings at 1 AM. Thinking back now I am disgusted. I couldn't do that again. I suggest limiting your meals out to just on the weekends and keep healthy snacks in your dorm room; that way when your tempted to snack you'll save calories. I replaced carrots with chips for their crunch and sugary snacks with apples to curb cravings. It seems easier said than done but they become lifestyle changes and food that you love to eat.
havok636 havok636 8 years
i went to college and lost weight. but i gained it back when i went home
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
I lost 10 lbs my first semester at college, but gained 15 my sophomore year. Luckily a summer backpacking in Europe on a severe budget melted that right off. I agree with tlsgirl: all the walking around campus (and house party dancing!!! and random one-night "exercise routines") should more than make up for any extra food!!
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
The food at my college cafeteria was so bad... no risk of putting on weight from that! I did gain a few pounds when I moved off campus and started buying my own groceries.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Honestly, all of the walking that I did in college (and I didn't live that far away, just enough that it was pointless to drive), helped me to totally avoid the freshman 15. You'd be surprised at how much exercise you get just walking to classes.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 8 years
i gained about 20 pounds during my first two years of college, which i blame on dining halls and a lack of self-control around the yummier things there. once i really got serious about my eating, started working out regularly again and moved a 15 minute walk away from campus (which i did there and back 2x a day), i dropped the weight really quickly, to below my already-lean high school weight.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I didn't really gain weight when I started college because I'm lucky to have a decent metabolism and I worked out a lot, but man, I remember A LOT of pizza and beer.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I gained 30 lbs in my first 3 months of college because I basically loved the fact that I was surrounded with great food all the time. At home, my breakfast options were pretty much limited to cereal, a bagel, or maybe an egg or something. In college, I could grab a donut or a couple of Poptarts and a big cappuccino for breakfast if I wanted. And I ate cheeseburgers and pizza every single day because I COULD. Once I realized that I was eating myself to death, I started eating like I should...more fruits and veggies and whole grains and no more pizza and ice cream!
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
I actually lost weight in college, and toned up and improved my fitness level a lot! It was only about 5-8lbs (I varied from 110-118lbs, the 118 being when I left home for school and 110 at the end). I went in to the college years knowing to make smart food choices, not over eating or eating at none meal times, eating til I was just right- not gulping down all-you-can-eat . . it's not rocket science to avoid gaining the freshman-15! P.S. butter/fat free popcorn was a lifesaver for a healthy late-night snack. Also water- it's the perfect drink for late nights and to not consume unnecessarily calories!
alikat07 alikat07 8 years
I managed to stay in decent shape in college since I worked out all the time. The worst was the first year, though - with the all you can eat dining hall. I agree with Frenched - the new job gain is wayyy worse!
lolococo lolococo 8 years
Ugh... I def gained the freshman 15 (plus 20 extra pounds the remaining three years!) in college..
Frenched Frenched 8 years
What about the "New Job 15", eh? ;) I've gained 15 pounds ever since I started my new job. I blame it on the fact that there's always food aroudn and the fact that since it was stressful to learn everything there is to know about my new job, I comforted myself with food once I was off from work. But yeah, I'm really out of topic here...
JessicaLE JessicaLE 8 years
Same Jkat.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i don't really understand how students can afford freshmens 15... i can afford less than was offered at my parents house.
syako syako 8 years
I gained 28 pounds freshman and sophomore year - mainly because I did all the things Fit said not to do. So I warn all you college kids out there reading these suggestions - listen up! Or you'll be like me who during the end of her junior year found that she had gained almost 30 pounds without even noticing. (I lost all the weight by eating right and exercising, but it would have been nice to not have to have done that at all!) Good luck!
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
I couldn't imagine having to wait until 21 to legally drink. We had booze at our proms when we were 18 and legal, it was fabulous.
jkat jkat 8 years
All good advice, but all I can think right now is "MMMMMM PIZZA..."
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