Yep, you know what I am talking about. You are excited to go to college. All set to get your studies underway, and to indulge in all that other fun college stuff that freshman look forward to when preparing to head off to school. One thing you are about ready to gain is not such a good thing. It has been referred to in many ways but the most popular terminology used to describe this phenomenon is the “Freshman 15,” or the 15 pounds many new incoming freshmen gain once they head off to college. The Freshman 15 plagues many new students and the sad part is, the 15 might be too conservative, as some students gain 20, 25, or even 30 pounds within a year or two from the first day on campus. Here are some tips to help keep your weight and health in check.
The Big Time Problem with College Freshmen
Freedom! You can do what you want to do, without parents watching over your shoulder. You can drink as much beer as you want to drink and eat as much pizza as you want to eat. Nobody is looking over you, telling you to eat your greens. Even worse? Most of these binge drinking and eating fests occur in the middle of the night, and since you are not exactly burning a ton of calories during these time frames you are going to be gaining fat — and a ton of it — if you eat too much during these late-night feasts. Now, if you commit fully to staying in shape and keeping your weight down, you can deal with this problem and avoid the Freshman 15; however, you really need to make a strict, and disciplined, decision to remain healthy on campus.
Write Down Your Goals in Detail
One of the most powerful techniques to reach your goals, whether they are in the classroom or in the weight room, is to write down your goals with pen and paper. A tangible goal feels more real and serves as a mental compass when temptation arises. And yes, the temptation will arise if you are a college freshman. You will be asked to head out for a late-night pizza, late-night meaning a takeout pizza from a 24-hour joint, ordered at 2 a.m. If you do this every few weeks and exercise regularly, you will not gain too much weight. Unfortunately, many college students eat like this each day, and their weight balloons up fast.
Make Healthy Food Choices at Least Most of the Time
If you can go out to get a pizza, you can go out to get a salad, too. Instead of getting a massive soft drink, opt for bottled water. If people make fun of you, laugh them off. It is your life and your health. Make smart choices daily, and you can more easily avoid gaining the Freshman 15 that plagues so many incoming college students. This does not mean totally giving up tasty foods but just making smarter choices more often. You want to think long-term and all these little decisions can add up to big-time savings when it comes to the number on the scale.