It’s that time of year again. Students from all over the country are starting one of the most exciting, transformative and memorable times of their lives — college!
By the end of their high school senior year, most people are ready for the dramatic change that awaits them in the fall. But are they really, truly prepared for it?
The truth is, most people aren’t. Most people underestimate how much of a lifestyle adjustment they have to make to successfully get used to college life.
So what are these changes that are so vital to consider when starting college? While academic and social changes are important to consider, health needs just as much attention, if not more.
What sort of image is painted in your mind when you hear the dreaded words “freshman fifteen”?
Do you see the prom queen slowly descending from her glory days after each subsequent shot taken at a party, the mixture of tequila, salt and lime slowly contributing to the muffin top she’ll have in December?
Do you see the valedictorian chugging coffee and scarfing down a lemon loaf while feverishly studying for that first chemistry exam, food calories being of the least importance when compared to memorizing how many calories are required to raise the temperature of 25 grams of water from zero degrees Celsius to 100?
The point is, we picture different things when it comes to the freshman fifteen, and we should, because there are an infinite amount of scenarios that can result in the freshman fifteen.
So booze? A major source of the freshman fifteen is alcohol abuse, and rightfully so, because most people are so enamored by the elusive “college party” experience. If you are going to drink, do yourself a favor and drink with moderation! You and your midsection will thank me later.
Free and unlimited food! There is free food everywhere. With the enticing free food at college events and a meal plan that satisfies your every need (unless you’re at Taylor Place … shhh), you’re bound to pack on few pounds if you don’t control yourself.
Sleep? Huh? If one thing is guaranteed to change in college, it’s your sleeping habits. College is literally a year-long slumber party with academics conveniently built in. While this may seem amazing (and it is), it’s a huge detriment to your metabolism. With less sleep, the metabolic breakdown processes in your body are affected and could sharply increase the number you read on the scale.
Shoot, I can’t eat like I used to! There comes a point somewhere in our late adolescence that marks the horrid change in our metabolisms. As we mature, metabolisms slow, even if food intake doesn’t change. So, essentially, if you don’t monitor the changes in your metabolism and adjust eating habits accordingly, the freshman fifteen could be heading your way.
With all the changes you will encounter your freshman year, it’s vital to remember this key piece of information: if you don’t work out and/or eat moderately healthily, you will gain weight. It might not be 15 pounds, but some weight gain will happen.
So, make good choices! But really — work out, control your drinking habits and eat a salad rather than a burger when you use your next meal plan.