Top 10 Tips to Avoid the Freshman 15

Health, Home & Family, Kids
on August 15, 2012

A study in the Journal of American College Health reported that half of all college students gain weight during their freshman year.

Defy statistics and stay fit with these 10 easy steps to avoid the Freshman 15!

1. Walk to Class
That morning walk to class is just enough activity to get your body awake and ready for the day. A brisk pace and goo d posture will increase the benefits and help hold back additional weight.

2. Get Involved
College is about forming relationships. Participate in an intramural sport to form a community and stay in shape. Enjoy your favorite sport while meeting new people and exercising.

3. Create a workout routine
If you want to lose or maintain current weight, creating and maintaining a varied workout routine is key. Scott Simpson, an undeclared sophomore at Samford University, works out four times per week. “I look forward to it now because I started my routine.  It’s a good time to think, clear my head,” he says.

4.  Sleep
While college has its share of late nights, sleep is essential to maintaining healthy weight. Clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Breus says that not getting enough sleep results in hormonal imbalances, which negatively affect appetite. The body is also drawn to high-calorie, quick energy foods to get through the day. Quick snacks add up to excess pounds. By getting between 6.5-7.5 hours per night, your body should be able to maintain hormonal balance and make it through the day.

5. Fast Food: Lasting Results
Finding cheap, healthy, off-campus food can be tough. Dr. Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat, says large portion sizes at fast food restaurants can trick you into eating more than you actually should.   Instead of grabbing a greasy burger, purchase some healthier options from your local grocery store.

6.  Snacking and Studying Don’t Mix
The combination of reading and Ruffles could destroy your diet.  “I try not to [eat while studying]. I lose track of what I’m eating,” says Sarah Wilson, an undeclared freshman at Belmont University.  If you do snack and study, try eating healthy foods like fruits and nuts.

7.  Take a class
Taking a physical education class keeps you fit and can count toward your course credits. Lauren Rogers, a sophomore English major at Belmont University, says she exercises in her tap dancing class.

8.  Eat Smart
Vary your diet and make wise food choices, making sure to include good proportions of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Substitute a dessert with an apple. Eat enough to have energy, but know your limits and when to stop. And do not settle for pizza every meal.

9.  Avoid Alcohol
It’s called a “Beer Belly” for a reason. Even “light” beers pack on the calories. Natural Light, one of the cheapest and thus most popular beers at many universities, has 95 calories per 12 oz. bottle. Drink responsibly—for your sanity and your weight.

10.  Don’t Stress Eat
You can find healthier alternatives to deal with stress than eating a jar of peanut butter.  Alicia Ayers, a sophomore nursing major at the University of Alabama, says she runs or practices yoga to unwind.