Generations of college students from all walks of life have experienced the gradual and persistent weight gain known as the “freshman 15,” and despite advances in dietary education this phenomenon continues unabated today. Confronted with the freedom to choose the majority of their meals for the first time, most college freshmen invariably succumb to temptation, and binge on junk food, sweets and fast food fare. When the urge to indulge is combined with the stressful nature of a full-time schedule, college freshmen usually adopt poor dietary habits out of convenience and tend to gain significant amounts of weight during this period. Studies have shown that college students gain an average of 15 pounds during their first year attending a university, giving rise to the pejorative term “freshman 15”, which describes this rite of passage. Even though many factors contribute to the freshman 15 phenomenon, there are several effective measures available to help you stay in shape while you stay in school.
How to avoid the Freshman 15?
While the typical college diet certainly plays an important role with weight gain in freshman year, the simple fact is that dorm rooms do not offer much in the way of food preparation. If you are unable to consistently prepare fresh, healthy meals for yourself because of your residence hall’s culinary limitations, you must be willing to burn off excess calories accumulated from a fast food diet. College is a time of exploration and personal growth, so take a chance and try physically challenging activities and exercises which will keep you in shape. With intramural sports, recreation complexes and gymnasiums, the typical college campus, from community colleges to Ivy League universities, will likely boast a rich offering of outlets for physical fitness. Many of the top colleges for business administration recognize that business majors are especially susceptible to the freshman 15 because of the stressful, competitive nature of the financial world. These business-based colleges usually provide students with gym memberships, country club access, and other programs designed to encourage beneficial physical activity. If structured exercise isn’t really your thing, a simple jog or bike ride around campus every morning can work wonders for weight loss. To build extra strength and turbocharge your metabolism, slowly ease into strength training routines, such us high intensity interval training workouts.
Example of a High Intensity Interval Training Workout
Keep a Healthy Lifestyle to avoid the Freshman 15
Monitoring your caloric intake is the key to controlling weight fluctuations, but as we have already discussed, the typical freshman diet is not exactly a model of healthy eating. Nonetheless, any effort you can make to reduce your consumption of empty calories, such as soda and sugary drinks, will greatly improve your odds of avoiding the freshman 15 in your first year at school. Many universities are now offering water stations and vending machines which dispense juice or other healthy drinks, in a plan to limit student’s dependency on fatty coffee or energy drinks. Many of the top colleges online have followed suit by offering students coupons or vouchers for healthy dining options while participating in their distance learning programs. By watching what you eat and exercising more often, you can easily dodge the dreaded freshman 15, and maintain your weight in college.
Sarah Danielson is a freelance writer and part-time student at California State University Northridge in Northridge, California. She writes for a variety of clients including Top Colleges Online.