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How To Avoid The ‘FRESHMAN 15’

It's that time of year again, it's back to school. Moms across the country are elated and kids across the country are sad to see the carefree days of summer coming to an end, but if you're heading to college then you need to be wary of the Freshman 15. Here are some great tips on keeping the Freshman 15 at bay, which anyone (even those of us not heading to college) can apply to his or her daily lives.

  • Make time for the gym. Often freshmen that were very active in high school sports, don’t participate in sports at the college level. Suddenly they lose the active lifestyle—and calorie-burning ability—they once had. Most colleges offer at least one, if not numerous, gyms around campus that are free to students. Make gym time a priority and pencil it into your planner. Students can also take advantage of intramural sports activities or enjoy areas for walking or running that are available on most campuses.
  • Keep track of what you eat. Keeping track of food intake and eating times is one of the most important steps in weight management. Using a log, such as the DayTimers Fitness Organizer, will help keep students aware of what they are putting in their body. This awareness tool is often the deterrent needed to say no to those extra calories.

There are more great ideas for beating the Freshman 15, so

  • Get all the facts. Dorm food can often be one of the biggest problems. There is sure to be an abundance of snacks and fried foods right at your fingertips. However, there are healthy options available, as well. When first moving in, speak to the chef at the dining hall and ask for nutritional information for the regular dishes. Discuss healthy food options, and take advantage of salad and cereal bars. It may even be possible to arrange for a special diet or additional meal options.
  • Take snack breaks. It’s easy to get in to the habit of mindless eating while studying. Chances are, if you sit down to read with a bag of chips, the bag will be empty by the time the study session is over. Instead, make a plan regarding snack breaks in the middle of studying. Instead of candy or chips, choose healthier snack options, such as light popcorn, fruit, or veggies.
  • Alcohol monitoring. Alcohol contains lots of hidden calories that are often stored as body fat. In fact, each alcoholic beverage has at least 150 calories and should be counted as one carb (15 grams of carb). Limiting alcohol consumption will help avoid unwanted pounds, and since less drinking means killing less brain cells, maybe it will even help increase test scores.
  • Utilize school programs. Students may not realize the wide variety of free programs offered by schools, such as meetings with nutritionists. Also, if there is room for elective courses, look into an aerobics course or healthy cooking class, and earn credits while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Have an accountability partner. To hold you accountable, befriend a person who has a similar goal of avoiding the ‘Freshman 15’. Having someone to go to the gym and study with may be just the support you need to not only skip the late-night pizza, but to maintain your weight and reach your long-term health goals.


Join The Conversation
skigurl skigurl 9 years
we used to make time for poutine on a sunday night at 11pm i would get a call from the guys, and we would literally tour the town to find an open restaurant to make us frieds, gravy, and melted cheese now that is just unhealthy
designergirl designergirl 9 years
Dorm food was definitely the problem for me. I gained 7 pounds because of the all night availibilty of food. When I moved out of the dorm after a semester (roomate problems), and started cooking for myself, I lost fifteen pounds. Just be careful if you choose to live in a dorm.
melda melda 9 years
i wish iw as still underweigh :(
melda melda 9 years
i lost alot of weight when i was in university i was underweight then
Feesje Feesje 9 years
I also gained ten pounds in college. And now that I'm almost out of college, I'm losing them again. :) For me, it wasn't the lack of exercise that caused he weight gain as I walked and cycled to all of my classes. It were my very unhealthy eating habits. Pizza, fries, chips, candy, sodas, alcohol, hardly any vegetables,... It's SO easy to eat unhealthy in college.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i totally gained weight when i went back to school - i still haven't lost it! I am still in university again though. i used to walk during lunch breaks and in the evenings and hike a lot when i had a full time job and didn't have a desk job either so i stayed fit that way...but i sit all the time now with being in school! :( i went from 95 pounds to about 110. i think i have lost about 10 of that, but what to do? i walk a lot now but i admit that i do not go to the gym...mainly because i can't afford membership. i prefer being outside anyway.
rlveronica rlveronica 9 years
LOL! Omg, I meant 115.
rlveronica rlveronica 9 years
Yeah, it was the Freshman 15 times two~! Crikey... I was 85 lbs (I know, scary, but I was naturally skinny and I hate A LOT) then my metabolism caught up with me and the fact that I didn't exercise... 105 lbs is fine with me, but it's all in my mid-section! :(
pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
It was the freshman 20 for me . . .
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
I went to college in the middle of Wales. 5 minutes walk and you were at the edge of the small village I was located in. =) Danger Zone for weight loss! I ended up doing nothing all day long and exercise seemed like such a hassle. I gained like over a stone but I left Wales and lost all the weight again. =)
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
I honestly think Im gona lose weight b/c I will be so busy... right now Im a big couch potatoe and eat tons of junk food...
AshleySunshine AshleySunshine 9 years
Such good tips. One more thing that I did after I gained 5 pounds my first semester is add a workout class. Since must tuition is all inclusive regardless of units it doesn't cost anything to add a 1 or 2 unit fitness class. Plus, it only takes up about an hour a day 2 or 3 times a week. Not only will it keep you in shape but you can try a lot of different things. I've taken everything from pilates, to jogging even karate. Also, it's a great way to meet people outside of your major or dorm.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
That is great advice. When I entered college was overweight and was so concerned with gaining 15 pounds that I lost 40 pounds. I have gained half back during my year since college and I am looking to take it off. I am going to refresh my body on my college workout and see if I can't break my plateau and reach my goal weight.
EcannDallas EcannDallas 9 years
i gained about 20 pounds in college! ack! i never drank in highschool and had my dad cooking every night college was a huge shock to my body! thank goodness i got back to my high school weight with a little tweaking.
allthingsgrow allthingsgrow 9 years
I start my freshman year in a week, so thanks for the advice!
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 9 years
I lost weight at school school was in the mountains, so everywhere seemed like uphill. The big things for me were to not just eat whatever was in the cafeteria just because it was there....a lot of them serve dinner sized portions ALL day. Another thing is to stay away from the wheel of death in the dorms! Sometimes next to the vending machines, they have a refrigerated machine with tiny 300 calorie bagels, fake chocolate milk and Hot Pockets...bad idea and gross to boot!
allisonblue allisonblue 9 years
Awesome advice! My downfall were the soda fountains in the dining hall -- my parents never kept soda in the house, so what was once an occasional treat turned into a daily pick-me-up. Go for coffee or tea instead! Regular exercise will also help you avoid depressed moods and be more efficient when you need to study -- I would say it's more important for those reasons than for anything else.
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 9 years
I am going into my sophomore year, and the Freshman 15 is real! I gained 13 lbs since high school last year. That's because the cafeteria at my dorm was unlimited, all you can eat. Yikes! I've lost about half of the weight I gained, and I feel great now. But fall is coming, and I hope I don't slip up!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
College was a wake-up call. I had no idea of a FRESHMAN 15. After the holidays during my first year was when I realized that people as young as kids can gain weight and make good food choices and work out regularly.
lintacious lintacious 9 years
"i love student gyms because they're open so late" -- DOUBLECHECK the times of your gym! Of the 3 colleges I am familiar with, NONE of the gyms were open later than 11p. Don't take the bus!! Just plan your schedule to allow walk time, you feel better and the bus is just annoying, plus it saves you money (no bus pass!). Unfortunately, while the gyms close early, the pizza places do not. Watch out for the 3a hungers. Just go to sleep instead :) Honestly, it's the caf that gets you. They have SO many options available ALL the time. Make sure you always eat some veggies and fruits. Try to have a fridge in your room if possible to keep veggies and yogurt in. Also remember that beer has calories... :)
Passion4Fashion Passion4Fashion 9 years
Really great advice
mrbunsrocks mrbunsrocks 9 years
If you live in dorms, definitely take a good look at what you're eating!!!!!!!! It's SO easy to succumb to the second dinner/snack bar run (at about 10 or 11) and THAT is what's going to make you gain weight. That late night pizza runs. Don't do it. Keep some lower calories snacks handy in your room - things like pickles, rice cakes, etc. are good to munch on and won't make you huge. :)
misswaikiki misswaikiki 9 years
I lost 10Ibs my freshman year,too, just because I only ate when I was actually hungry, and only stuff I was in the mood for. best part, I forgot the eating part while studying....not anymore though :(
Ashlyn-Rose Ashlyn-Rose 9 years
I lost weight when I went to college (somewhere between 5-10 lbs). My campus is huge and I walked to all of my classes.
llendril llendril 9 years
fantastic advice, fit. i wish i had had this list when i was in college. i suppose i was counting on my metabolism to get me through those few years. but with ucla having some of the best buffet dorm food in the country AND with my sitting around a lot more studying . . . the results weren't fantastic. lol
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