When you get into college, you will finally feel a sense of liberation. In college, you usually live in a dorm with fellow college students – far from strict authority. You are completely free to make decisions for yourself, including decisions involving your food consumption and diet. This new-found freedom will be confusing and hard to navigate, especially if all your life you have had to count on your parents for nearly everything. Freshman students would most of the time rely on fast food, snacks, or instant noodles to fulfill their hunger. This works in your favor if you have a paper to finish or you have an intense study session and you do not want to take more than an hour preparing for your own food. You end up sacrificing a healthy diet for more time to study, leading to what’s called the Freshman 15.
The Freshman 15 is the 15 lbs you gain in your first months in college. It’s not easy to remain in shape. Some people are lucky enough to have fast metabolism while others have to watch their weight and consumption every week to fit the jeans they just bought in the sale. Worry not because there are actual ways to avoid the Freshman 15. But to know how to avoid it, it is vital to know what causes it.
What causes the Freshman 15
- New eating habits. As was aforementioned, living independently is one of the top reasons why you gain weight. You begin to develop new eating habits that is also independent from what you were used to when you were still living with your parents. In college, there seems to be an array of choices to have for lunch and dinner, and it’s not always healthy options. Day-to-day consumption of fast food, snacks, chips, soft drinks, and pizza will result in a quick weight gain.
- Eating while studying. Students also tend to binge on snacks to keep them occupied while studying. This habit is vastly contributing to weight gain because you are eating unhealthy snacks when you are not entirely hungry. Additionally, you study sitting down so the food does not burn easily.
- Eating at night. The habit of eating late at night is developed in most freshmen. Many students find themselves studying at night or partying. The problem with eating at night is that calories are less likely to be burned because the body expects you to be asleep, so all the calories end up being stored fat.
- Stress eating. There is no doubt college is a stressful time for any student, with all the difficult classes, new challenges, new people and relationships, and the feeling of homesickness. Most of the time you will find yourself seeking comfort food to appease your mental breakdown.
- Not enough exercise. As a student, you may find all your time to be dedicated to studying and working on your papers, meaning there won’t be enough time to do simple exercises to burn off the calories and weight you gained. The walk you take to get to your classes may get your cardio amped up and a bit sweaty, but it is still not enough to keep you in the same shape as you entered freshman year.
How to avoid the Freshman 15
To understand the causes of the Freshman 15 weight gain gets you a step closer to avoiding it. Here are some tips and tricks to avoid weight gain:
- Follow a strict schedule. Aside from your classes and extra-curricular activities, pencil in your eating breaks. Always leave four hours in between breaks and make sure the last meal you take each day is at least three hours before you sleep. Condition your body to adopt this kind of mindset, so you can monitor your weight easily.
- Have a healthy diet. In every meal, two-thirds of your plate should be filled with fiber healthy food – like fruits, vegetables, and grain. For the remaining space of your plate, fill it with food you actually enjoy eating. Wait 20 minutes after every meal then assess if you still want a second meal. Often times your brain will decide you are already full and cannot take in another meal, but if you do not then go back in line and get that second round you deserve.
- Get active. Join campus activities or small team-building exercises with college clubs to break a bit of sweat. Find friends who also want to stay in shape and run with them. Ask around and find out if your campus has a gym as well. Exercise can help with your stress because when you exercise the body releases chemicals called endorphins which communicates with the brain and reduces your perception of pain. Endorphins can trigger a positive feeling to the body. So, not only did you lose weight you might also feel happier and stress-free every time you engage in activities.
- Fill your micro-fridge with healthy snacks. You will sometimes feel the urge to munch on some snacks, especially if you feel a bit stressed. Always opt for healthier snacks like cereal bars and juice drinks. Steer clear from junk food and energy drinks. Energy drinks can offer short energy boosts but will leave you burned out for the remainder of the time. Instead, drink lots of water to help your body function properly.
- Get enough sleep. Stick to the 6-to-8-hour solid sleep each night, and avoid taking too much power naps. Sleep, or lack of it, can contribute to stress, mental and physical health issues, and weight gain. Your body knows when to function properly and when to take a break, and it automatically slows down at night. Be one with your body and rest when it calls for it.
According to an Ohio State University study, the Freshman 15 is a misnomer because only about 10% of freshmen students gain 15 or more lbs. It is believed the average weight gain of a freshman student is between 2 to 6 lbs. However, you still need to be aware of all the food you consume and how much physical activities you do every day. Staying healthy should still be an option even with all the things you need to prioritize. All of these tips on avoiding the Freshman 15 can also help you have a fresh mind and ready for classes. Let the Freshman 15 be your motivation to live a healthy lifestyle despite all the stress in college.
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The Freshman 15 is hard to avoid if you really want to be ahead of all your classes. You will feel the need to perform well at the expense of a healthy routine. Fortunately, there are services online that offer help with your research papers, term papers, and essays. CustomEssayMeister is just among those services. We have a pool of expert writers to provide assistance with anything you might need to help you gain an advantage in college, but still, keep a slim figure – or at least not gain any more pounds. Do not be shy to contact us, and well be happy to give out information for whatever questions you might have.