There’s an ancient myth, told and re-told, passed down from generation to generation: THE FRESHMAN 15. Dun-dun-dunnnn. Is it true? Does the Freshman 15 exist? Are you at risk of falling prey to the mysterious weight gain? Is there anything you can do to save yourself?
The Freshman 15 is easily one of the most frightening things in college, aside from finals week and group projects. And surprisingly, it’s something that can be easily avoided! Here are 15 ways to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep. I’m talking about 7-8 hours a night. It’s so easy to fall into the pattern of staying up late cramming for that early morning exam or talking with friends.
- Eat some breakfast. Waking up in time for breakfast before classes takes some serious skill. Try your best to master it and you’ll have a more balanced diet throughout the day.
- Remember that fruits and veggies are your friends. Now that a microwave is your main source of everything, you’ll soon realize that Hot Pockets will only be appetizing for so long. Try incorporating fruits and veggies into every meal and snack to balance out your diet and get necessary vitamins that aren’t found in Ramen.
- Limit the late night fast food run. Heading out with your friends for a late night snack is a college staple. When you’re in the habit of going out every night at midnight, you’ve run into a problem. Put a limit on the times you go out and your waistline and wallet will thank you.
- De-stress. College is stressful. You’re going to need to find what works best for you to help you relax. Adjusting to your new schedule and your new classes and your new environment is enough to send your body into a crazy state of stress overload. When you take time to de-stress, your body and mind will thank you.
- Drinking in moderation. This is for all you 21-year-old freshman out there. Drinking equates to calories. Excess calories equate to weight gain. No one actually intended to get a beer gut, so it’s a good idea to stick to a limit when you go out.
- Know what it is that you’re eating. Now that you’re on your own, everything you eat is up to you. Do your best to make informed choices when you’re in the cafeteria and shy away from the same foods all the time. Your body need variety.
- Stick to the rules. The new and improved food pyramid is your new best friend. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you need fruits, grains, dairy, vegetables and protein to have a balanced diet. Focus on meeting all the goals for the day and it’ll soon become a habit.
- Get physical. Start hitting the gym, take to the great outdoors, do whatever you can to stay active. Take an hour each day to engage in physical activity.
- Join an intramural sport! You’ll make some amazing memories and new friends all while saving yourself from some extra weight gain. You can join a team on any campus, as long as you’re an ASU student you’re good to go!
- Make some friends. You are surrounded by new people (most of them friendly I hope) who are all looking for a great college experience. When you have friends, you spend less time alone. When you spend less time alone, you don’t eat alone. When you don’t eat alone, you are less likely to over eat.
- Don’t stock your dorm room with unhealthy food. It’s easy to start hoarding snacks in your small space, so when you do, make sure they have some nutritional value and aren’t loaded with empty calories.
- If you played sports in high school, be aware of the changes your body is undergoing to adjust to your less active lifestyle. If you ate six meals a day to keep up your weight in wrestling or to compensate for calories lost while swimming, realize the need to adjust and make some changes.
- Emotional eating. Do you ever eat something just because you’re bored? Has anyone ever suggested that ice cream can cure a break-up? When you watch TV, do you aimlessly snack out of habit? Eating can comfort us in almost any situation. Don’t fall into the trap of emotional eating. Learn what triggers emotional eating for you and change your behavior.
- Water is your new best friend. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your body. Energy drinks, coffees and sodas are loaded with extra sugar your body doesn’t need, so eliminate them from your diet as much as possible.