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Top 10 Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15

Written by: Editorial Staff

August 31, 2011
Filed Under Fitness 

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A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Top 10 Guru

The freshman 15: It’s almost a (dreaded) right of passage.

Anyone who has managed to get through their freshman year of college without packing on weight should be given a big, fat (well, maybe not fat) award. So how are you going to avoid those pesky 15 pounds that are likely to attach themselves to you during that first year?

You may be one of the lucky ones and not gain 15 pounds (or, cringe, even more) but the likelihood that you are going to gain some weight is very good. Most of that weight gain occurs the first quarter or semester. It may be that you are not getting as much exercise as you did in high school where you were active in sports. If you are eating as you always did but not moving as much you will gain weight.

Here are the top 10 ways to avoid the dreaded FRESHMAN 15:

10. Eat regular meals

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Try to eat at regular times –morning, noon-ish and early evening, and avoid snacking. The calories from the late-night snacks, which you don’t have time to burn off before going to sleep, are going to add up. If you’ve gotten carried away eating back off on your food consumption, the next day but continue to eat. Fasting, binging, purging and all of those drastic avenues that girls, in particular, take to stay thin will ruin your health, your teeth, your heart, your hair, your skin and put you in an early grave. We all need daily sustenance. Skipping meals doesn’t work either. You’re end up ravenous and eat more than ever.

9. No vending machines

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Step away from the vending machines. Nothing good is going to come from eating out of one of those machines.

8. Don’t skip meals

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

You don’t have to starve yourself. That’s never recommended. Eat what you want but don’t eat too much of it. Depriving yourself is only going to lead to binge eating and temporary fixes that have permanent ramifications.

7. Stay home

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Avoid going to college altogether. Nah. Bad idea. Go to college and have a great time. You’ll probably still gain the freshman 15 while working in a factory or at Walmart because that first year post-high school is a tricky one when it comes to weight gain so you might as well gain it while you’re getting an education.

6. Recognize homesickness

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Some freshmen are terribly homesick or feeling insecure, and this can prompt them to overeat. Some people are stress eaters and eat more during exams. If you are homesick, feeling stressed or overwhelmed, recognize this and go see a college counselor, who understands how difficult the transition to college can be. Getting a grip on your emotions may help you control your eating and the subsequent weight gain.

5. Sleep enough, regularly

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Analyze your sleep patterns. If you aren’t getting enough sleep you will gain weight. Keeping erratic hours, staying up late or sleeping too much or not enough can disrupt your metabolism and cause you to gain weight. Make your bed in your dorm room both inviting and sleep-inducing. Buy good supportive pillows, a warm duvet and pretty sheets. Do your laundry.

4. Skip the booze

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Although college freshmen are legally too young to drink alcohol, many manage to do so. Alcohol is high in calories. If you are packing away the booze too frequently, not only are you going to gain weight, but you’re likely to have a brush with the law, and it may end your college days.

3. Keep good eating habits

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Because you are no longer at home and under the scrutiny of your parents, you may be breaking all the good eating habits that you had established under your parents’ watchful eyes and are now eating far too much junk food, pizza, and drinking too much soda, which interferes with calcium absorption. Keep in mind that you are still building bone mass when you are 18 years old. Eating right, taking a daily multi-vitamin, avoiding bad habits, such as drinking, smoking and illicit drugs, will keep you healthy and allow your body to finish developing as it needs to do to ensure that you are going to be bone-strong later in life. When you are 40 you will be glad that you took care of your body at 18.

2. Weigh in

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Know going into your freshman year that you are likely to gain weight. That is half of the battle. Don’t look down at your thighs in December and think, how did THAT get there? You know how it did. Bring a scale to college with you. You don’t have to be an extremist, but you should try moderation in regard to everything. This will prevent you from getting too heavy, too drunk, being too late for classes too often and failing classes. Think MODERATION.

1. Get moving

A list of the top ten ways to avoid the freshman 15

Exercise. Buy some hand and ankle weights and make your muscles work after a long stint with the books. You may not want to do formal exercise, but you can walk all over campus or ride your bike to class. Not only will this maintain a healthy weight, but it will jump-start your endorphins, which are the chemicals in your body that make you feel good. When you work out regularly you can cut some corners now and then, and it’s not going to show up on your butt. It’s a fair trade-off.

Fitness Catalogs for College Freshman


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