There are a lot of stereotypes about college life. Perhaps none is more unfortunately true than the dreaded “freshman 15”—the 15lbs many new students put on in their first winter at college. Between a lack of time to exercise, the tendency to make poor food choices and the stress of maintaining good grades, many students pack on a little extra winter weight in their first year… and keep it on.
It’s not just students, either! Faculty and even alumni often find themselves with a little extra around the middle when school starts up again. The reason? Winter is a difficult season to cope with when it comes to making good choices about food and exercise. Let’s face it: No one wants to drag themselves to the gym in subzero temperatures and “comfort food” is far from healthy.
So, what are college students, professors and alumni supposed to do when they feel the freshman 15 coming on? Here are a few tips for avoiding winter weight gain and losing the freshman 15 if you’ve found yourself carrying it around:
- Say no to snacks.
Snacking is easy when you’re in college, but it’s a major contributor to the freshman 15. If you feel like you’re always on-the-go, make sure to plan meals instead of grabbing a snack. Meal prep is a smart idea and taking time to plan breakfast, lunch and dinner will keep you from
making unhealthy snack choices throughout the day.
- Keep cravings under control.
Stress eating, binge eating and comfort eating are all bad habits every college student will need to fend off. Stave off your body’s cravings with healthy foods and planned meals. If you’re ever feeling insatiable, it might also be a good idea to try a weight loss program (see if they work), so you don’t feel like you’re starving yourself.
- Get organized.
College life doesn’t have to be disorganized! Start planning out your days to introduce a little order. With more structure you’ll be able to develop routines and avoid the poor food and exercise choices that come with uncertainty. Build in time for healthy meals, moderate exercise and plenty of sleep. This combination will help you fend off the
- Hit the gym.
College is a very sedentary experience for most people. They do to class all day and sit, then go back to their dorm and sit to relax. And don’t forget all those long study sessions and all-nighter spent hunched over a computer! The point is, you need to get up and move or the calories will catch up with you. Even if you hit the gym a couple times each week, a little motion will go a long way towards keeping the freshman 15 away.
Don’t let the freshman 15 visit you in your first year and stick around for the rest of your life! Take part in another college stereotype and rebel against weight gain! If you follow the above tips, you’ll do more than just
protest the freshman 15—you’ll open the door to a happier, healthier college experience and beyond.