Every college freshman begins the school year with the same goal: beating the freshman fifteen. Healthy habits last a few weeks, but when schoolwork piles in and parties abound, little time is left to focus on nutrition and exercise. The truth is, most college freshmen will gain weight during the course of the year, but the actual amount depends on the person. In addition, all students are subject to weight gain, but freshmen tend to pack on a few more pounds as they take longer to adjust to their new college lifestyle. Studies show that one in four freshmen gain at least 5% of their body weight, an average of about ten pounds, each year. For those who wonder why their favorite skinny jeans just won’t fit, here’s a list of the three main causes of the Freshman Fifteen:
1) Lack of exercise
As college freshmen become overwhelmed by more work and more parties, a healthy exercise routine becomes less of a priority. To get back on track, buy a calendar and designate three to four days a week to be “workout days”. The calendar will remind you to work out, and crossing it off your calendar can be oh-so-satisfying. Also, exercise helps with stress, so spending time at the gym can actually maximize your studying efficiency. Remember that before pulling your next all-nighter!
2) Eating late at night
Freshmen tend to eat mindlessly while studying, watching TV, or playing video games, which leads to unconscious overeating. Try to replace your late-night snacks with healthier, more filling options. Of course, no one wants a salad for a late-night snack. Nuts, oatmeal, energy bars, and yogurt are healthy and satisfying, and they’re pre-packaged to designate serving size, so you won’t have that awful feeling after polishing off the entire bag of chips.
This one’s the hardest to control. After a few shots or beers, you lose track of how much alcohol you’ve consumed. Each shot of vodka contains about 90 calories, so after taking five shots, you’ve already consumed close to 500 calories! Adding sugary chasers into the mix, you’ve got close to 600 calories in one drinking session. Keep track of the number of shots or beers you’ve thrown back by creating a tally on your arm; not only will this allow you to be mindful of your calorie intake, but it will encourage healthy drinking habits!
Beating the freshman fifteen is not easy. It involves self-control and responsibility, which most college freshmen tend to lack. However, if you develop healthy habits from the beginning, you’ll get used to them quickly and you’ll be able to withstand the temptations of unhealthy food and excessive alcohol consumption. So remember: stock your shelves with healthy, filling snacks, exercise three to four times a week, and keep track of your alcohol intake. Your skinny jeans will be thankful for it!