10 Tips to Prevent the Freshman 15

The Freshman 15 has gained significant notoriety (and fear) around college campuses. It refers to weight gain that many college students experience as they transition into a new lifestyle.

It isn’t always 15 pounds, but it’s a rough average. The truth is that many students gain between 5 and 25 pounds within their first two years of college.

Wondering what causes this weight gain?  A few common factors are:

– All-you-can-eat dining halls
– More flexible schedule
– Lack of sleep
– Additional stress
– Inactivity/laziness

If those sound familiar, you’re not alone. But don’t worry, college doesn’t have to be a body image death sentence. There is plenty you can do to prevent the dreaded Freshman 15:

1. Sneak in fitness

It’s tempting to hit the snooze button, stay in sweatpants, and take the shuttle to class. However, walking to class and taking the stairs are easy opportunities to add a little exercise to your day.

2. Get active

Not in the mood for the gym? You can burn lots of calories playing frisbee, bicycling, or swimming. A few minutes of jumping rope will really get your heart pumping.

3. Beware of liquid calories

Soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and juice are full of sugar and pack a mighty punch of calories. Switch to water and buy a box of the drink mix packets for a much healthier option.

4. Don’t skip meals

How many times have you skipped a meal and later proceeded to eat anything in sight? This type of binge eating can be avoided by eating regular meals and filling the gaps with healthy snacks.

5. Avoid late-night eating

Late-night eating is a common practice when you’re up late studying or hanging with friends, but if you know the pizza delivery guy’s name by heart, it might be time to cut back.

6. Get enough rest

Studies have shown that people not getting enough sleep have a harder time controlling their hunger. Aim to get 6-8 hours of sleep, and try to snag a nap on days you’re feeling extra groggy.

7. Eat healthier snacks

Ramen noodles and M & M’s won’t get you far in curbing hunger. Stocking up on healthier snacks will give you more energy and they contain far fewer calories.

8. Cut yourself off

The buffet style of most dining halls invite you to an all-you-can-eat spree. Avoid getting that second helping by popping a mint or stick of gum.

9. Find a buddy

We all need a little motivation from time to time. Try to partner up with a friend that will go to the gym with you or pitch in for a bag of apples at the grocery store.

10. Join an intramural team

Participating in an intramural activity keeps you active a few days a week and is a great opportunity to meet some new people.

What tips have worked for you? Do you have any to add? Please share!

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