Avoiding the Freshman 15

Going off to college is a major adjustment for every student. You are taken out of all the routines you have built up over the years of living at home. Not only are the classes going to be a bit of a shock to the system, but your way of life is going to take some getting used to. We have all heard of the "Freshman 15." This refers to the weight gain that many new students endure when they first go off to college. The reasons for this sudden fluctuation in weight vary. For some, it may be that they are no longer playing organized sports the way they did when they were growing up. For others, they are adapting to new eating habits as Mom is not around to make sure they eat their daily allotment of fruits and vegetables. Still, for others, it is the lifestyle changes that lead to weight gain (partying, staying up late, weird sleeping patterns.)

Your diet is the one thing you have the most control over. While the dining hall may not be your idea of home cooking, these days most college dining facilities offer a wide range of healthy choices. If you can develop a routine where you are eating three meals a day with healthy options included in each, you are on the right track to avoiding unnecessary weight gain. Seek out the manager of your dining hall and they will help you develop a healthy diet with the choices they have available. If you can stay on track with three meals a day and avoid late night snacking, you will put yourself in a position to stay at the weight you desire.

Finding time to exercise may seem impossible when you get to college. You have so many things pulling you in different directions (friends, class work, etc.) that you can’t possibly see yourself going to the gym for an hour everyday. However, if you were accustomed to practicing everyday when you were in high school or running daily, then your body is going to react negatively to your suddenly lazy habits. Lounging around with friends is fun and part of the college experience, but, early on in your freshman year, you need to develop a workout routine you can stick to.

One last surefire way to avoid these extra pounds is to occasionally pass up a night out of partying. If you start drinking, which is a reality for many college students, then you will surely see your waist size expanding. The term "beer belly" is not made up. The more you drink, the more weight you will put on. The party lifestyle will also translate into more lazy days (the days after), so be careful about how often you imbibe with your friends.

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