How To: Avoid The Freshmen 15!

The summer before entering my senior year, I had tons of high school alum tell me that gaining the freshman fifteen was inevitable. Guess what, they were right. Although in the beginning I was determined to come home from college looking the same way I had left, I put on the weight and didn’t even know it.
 
The first week of school started with high hopes. I joined clubs, organized all my binders and notebooks in color order according to class, went for a run around the track everyday, and picked the healthiest food in the cafeteria. I was sure I would stay on top of my game all year. But week two came and all had changed.  I was swamped with homework and reading, busy with making friends, and occupied with going out.  My hectic schedule resulted in some poor choices such as ordering late night pizza and being too hung over to exercise.
 
After continuing these not-so-healthy habits, I left college twenty-five pounds heavier without even noticing I had put on the weight. I wore t-shirts and leggings to class everyday, so when I grew, my clothes just adjusted to my new weight gain.  As a result I ended up confirming the stereotype that all freshman gain the Freshman 15. I was so disappointed. I came home and my mother said she couldn’t even recognize me. I was insecure and uncomfortable going out with my high school friends and had wished I just took better care of my body all year.  
 
I eventually lost the twenty-five pounded by working hard, eating healthy, and exercising daily, but I could have prevented the weight gain if I had only made the right decisions in the first place. It really is as easy as that. A lot of people think keeping healthy in college is much harder than it sounds, but if you consciously make good decisions, you should beat the freshman fifteen and leave your first year the way you entered it! Here are some of my tips for staying healthy. It helped me shed the pounds.

 
Eat three meals a day.

Don’t skip breakfast especially.  You need that food to fuel your body and start your metabolism for a long days work. By skipping meals you are actually slowing down your metabolism and hurting your body more than you’re helping it.

 Drink skim milk. 

At home your parents may only stock the frig with fat-free milk and you may be anxious to arrive at the cafeteria only to add some creamier 1% or 2% milk to your cereal, but don’t give in to your urges. Fat-free milk will keep your calorie count low while still tasting good. Use it with your tea or coffee as well!

Ask the cook to make you eggs with as little butter as possible.

Although eggs seem like a healthy breakfast option, the cafeteria kind is filled with whole milk and butter to make it taste great. So what ends up being a supposedly healthy choice ends up being full of calories and fat. By asking them to make you an individual omelet or eggs, you can avoid extra calories.

Avoid overloading your salad with dressing.

Salad always sounds like the best calorie conscious option, but if you look at nutrition content at fast food restaurants you’ll find that some of the foods with the highest calories are, in fact, the salads! Make sure you are aware of how many calories are in a serving (2tbsp) of salad dressing. This could be anywhere from 60-200 calories! And most people use more than one serving of dressing!

Be conscious of the amount of fruit you are consuming. 

Although eating an apple or a banana is a better choice than ice cream or a cookie for dessert, choice one piece of fruit, not both. Fruit, although high in vitamins, is still rich in sugars and should be eaten in moderation.  A banana is about 120 calories and a medium size apple is give-or-take 80 calories. Eating both at lunch or dinner will set you back a substantial amount.

Eat prepackaged food when you can.

Yogurts from the container or oatmeal from packets can help you accurately count calories.

Avoid soda and drink water instead.  

This will help prevent bloating.

Watch out for the carbs.

Be mindful of the amount of carbohydrates you are in taking. If you have a sandwich, remember that one slice of bread is one serving. If you can, have half a sandwich. The bread is about 130 calories per slice unless it says that it is lite bread.

Don’t go up for seconds, ever.
 
Have one plate of food and avoid going back to the cafeteria for seconds. Also remember to eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for you to realize your full so if you are eating quickly and running up for seconds before the 20 minutes is up, you wont realize how stuffed you actually are.

Lastly, keep your body healthy by doing some exercise.

Although eating right is great, make sure you are keeping your body in the best physical shape it can be. Without exercise you’re body still lacks tone. Join Planet Fitness, use the temporary union gym (its free!), or go with a friend or two to some group exercise classes. They have cycling, zumba, yoga and much more!
 
These are all lessons I learned from my time spent at the nutritionist while I was anxiously working towards my pre-college weight. Hopefully by sticking to some of these tips, you’ll avoid gaining the freshman 15 and prove that not every college newbie has to gain weight after their first year.