Starting college is a huge change in the lives of most students. The vast majority changes their lifestyle, habits, social circles, and priorities completely. If you’re headed out for your first year of college, you may have been warned about the phenomenon called “the Freshman 15”. It’s an expression used to point out how much weight are you likely to gain during your Freshman year.
Due to all the changes, deadlines, pressure, or heavy partying, many Freshman students simply neglect their former healthy habits, and the weight begins to pile on.
To avoid becoming another victim of the infamous Freshman 15, make sure you check out the list below and see the tips for avoiding it.
Stop Skipping Meals
College life can be quite turbulent and hectic, so freshmen students find it hard to keep their life together.
When student obligations start to add pressure, Freshmen start skipping meals and putting their diet at the end of their priorities list.
However, skipping meals is bad for your body and your metabolism, and can cause weight gain. Here’s how it all works:
- when you skip meals, your body is hungry
- it feels endangered so it starts storing fat
- it also slows down its metabolism, to keep the fat supplies for as long as possible
Slow metabolism and stored fat don’t sound so good, do they?
Eating on a regular basis will keep your body up and running, energized, and in a good shape. Therefore, make sure you have at least three full meals a day:
- find the time to go to the cafeteria
- make food and carry it with you
- listen to your body and give it what it asks for
Regular meals are the number one rule to avoiding Freshman 15.
Pack on Some Quality Snacks
We know it sounds harder as we go, but it’s your health that’s at stake, so let’s keep it rolling.
What you eat in between your meals matters just as much as what you eat for your regular meals. Let’s talk about your snacks.
There’s probably no need for us to point out how bad junk food is for your health. Not only will it certainly make you gain weight, but it’s also bad for:
- your cholesterol
- your skin
- your immune system
Therefore, you should always carry some kind of a healthy snack with you, so as to avoid falling under the temptation of eating junk food. The best healthy snacks include:
- fruit salad
- walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds
- dry fruits
- a light sandwich
- dark chocolate
- Greek yogurt and some berries
- granola bars
All of these snacks are nutritious yet healthy and will help you keep your diet straight until your next big meal.
Don’t Drink Your Dinner
College life is going to be filled with parties, especially if you live in a dorm or are a member of a sorority.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t party. We just think you need to be careful about alcohol.
If you think that skipping dinner and drinking alcohol instead will help you lose weight or is a good idea for any other reason, you’re wrong. Here’s what happens when you drink your dinner:
- most types of alcoholic beverages have no nutritious value but are high in calories
- when you drink alcohol, your body puts emphasis on processing it instead of burning sugar or fats
- alcohol increases cravings for rich, fatty foods
Therefore, make sure that you eat a light dinner before you head on to a party and watch out for the amount of alcohol you drink.
Invest in a Healthy Breakfast
You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And that’s true.
That’s why you need to put in some extra effort to make your breakfast as nutritional and healthy as possible.
This will prepare your body for all the upcoming challenges and kick start your metabolism from the early morning.
Here’s what you can do:
- buy a blender for your dorm room
A blender isn’t that expensive of an appliance, and you and your roommate may buy it together. It will enable you to make a nutritious smoothie and ensure your morning is starting with fresh fruits and veggies.
- prepare in advance
If you have a mini fridge, the sky’s the limit for you and your breakfast. You can prepare a healthy breakfast the night before, and enjoy it first thing in the morning. Make sure you try out:
- overnight oats
Prepare it the night before and just add the fresh ingredients in the morning.
- veggie-packed sandwiches
Make a nutritious sandwich and pack it in your fridge.
- granola and some yogurt
Prepare your favorite granola mix and just add the yogurt in the morning.
Mix all the ingredients in a freezer bag, and just put it in your blender in the morning.
All of these require minimum effort but have the maximum beneficial effect on you, your health, and avoiding the Freshman 15.
Make Sure you Hydrate
Water might just be your number one ally in the fight against the Freshman 15.
You might be wondering why is it so important to drink those recommended 8 glasses of water every day. Let’s see what are the benefits of drinking enough water:
- provides energy for the entire body
- boosts your immune system
- helps your metabolism work properly
- gets rid of toxins from your body
- increases brain function
You may even squeeze some lemon in it, to boost your metabolism even further.
To put it simply, water will help you stay in shape, think straight, and stay energized. It will definitely help you avoid the Freshman 15.
Avoid Emotional Eating
When college obligations start to pressure you, do you tend to spend more time hanging out in front of your fridge?
Emotional eating is a common thing amongst students, but it’s what helps you reach that Freshman 15.
Therefore, instead of eating your problems away (but food won’t actually make them go away), you could:
- ask for help from a friend
- deal with the problem
- look online for useful resources to help you out (for example, these reviews for essay writing services might be of use)
- go for a walk or do some exercise to relief the stress
Don’t turn to food for emotional support, because it won’t provide any and you’ll end up with those extra pounds you’ve been trying to avoid.
College life is going to be filled with challenges and it may be hard to get it together and control every aspect of your life.
However, a healthy diet needs to be your priority since you need all the energy and strength you can get.
Make sure to read our advice carefully, and start applying them as soon as possible. If you do, there’s no way you’ll be joining the Freshman 15 club.
Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a contributor to Ratedbystudents. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is traveling and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experience.