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6 Steps to Achieving the Freshman (Negative) 15

Most people would agree that their freshman year of college brought them loads of stress, homesickness and an average 15-pound weight gain. The first two may be somewhat unavoidable, but since the start of my freshman year was just two months ago, I’ve actually lost fifteen pounds, dropping to 135 from 150!


Here are six steps to follow to avoid gaining the freshman fifteen and (hopefully) losing weight!


1. Take advantage of your FREE gym membership!

My roommate and I have been going to Fike (almost) every weekday since school started this semester. Before coming to college, I had a relatively inactive lifestyle, mostly because I wasn’t involved in sports and gym memberships are EXPENSIVE. We’re blessed with an awesome gym that has diverse equipment, a running track, a basketball court, a sauna and steam room and even a lap pool. Find what fits you best and try to stick to a routine of going to the gym frequently! Tons of websites outline exercise routine schedules and these were super helpful in getting my roommate and me started on our fitness routines. I strongly recommend the sauna for about five or ten minutes after working out; it’s super stress-relieving and has positive health benefits! And again, IT’S FREE! Hopefully you’ll find that the gym not only improves your physical wellness, but also your mental wellness. Working out is a perfect stress reliever. Even if your schedule seems packed (like mine), try to find time to workout as often as possible. It won’t hurt your grades or your social life like you may think!


2. Remember that the dining hall food calories are not worth it!

As a freshman, I’m required to have an unlimited dining plan. I’ve learned to take advantage of being able to go whenever I want while not consuming extra calories by simply reading the nutritional facts conveniently provided with every food item. Remember, the pizza, pasta and desserts really don’t taste THAT great. In my opinion, the roasted chicken, turkey, or pork with a salad is much more worth the calories you’re consuming. Find a balance in the dining hall by limiting carbs and eating your fruits and veggies that can be found at all of the food stations! While unlimited meals seems like inevitable weight gain, making smart choices and trying to eat light throughout the day (rather than 2-3 large meals) will boost your metabolism and actually aid in your weight loss!


3. Skip on Fike and take a hike!

On particularly pretty days in which you may have an extra hour than normal, skip Fike and get your workout in the form of a hike! Connecting with nature will help you spiritually more than you may think, and hikes can be awesome with groups of friends or even by yourself! In fact, some of my favorite hikes have been by myself (Of course, I always love to be accompanied by my boyfriend and puppy). There are tons of awesome hiking spots around campus. I’d recommend downloading the AllTrails app. It has pictures, reviews and maps of locations near you to take a nice stroll through the woods. I’ve personally only been to a couple places near Clemson. Some places to check out include Isaqueena Trail, Yellow Branch Falls, Waldrop Stone Falls, Fants Grove Lake Trail and Wildcat Falls/Six Mile Creek. Waterfalls, rivers, mountains and greenery are often refreshing views in comparison to sweaty people and the pool when on the treadmill.


4. Stick to a grocery list!

Shopping for my own groceries has really opened my eyes to how much easier it is to eat junk food rather than going for healthier options. My roommate and I went grocery shopping the day before classes started and felt so much pain having to say no to cheap bags of chips, cookies and pizza rolls. We had to spend tons of money on pretzels, peanut butter and fruits instead. Especially in a dorm when only a microwave is available for cooking purposes (let’s face it – we’re not going to the first floor kitchen to cook), it’s difficult to grocery shop healthily. Writing a list of options that will keep us feeling good and also feeling full was our best bet. We could go in and stick to JUST our list and we knew how much money we’d be spending before walking in and dropping $100 before realizing it.


5. Don’t binge drink!!!

I put tons of exclamation points for a reason, this is CRUCIAL! As a freshman who isn’t in a sorority, I think it’s much easier for me not to party than it is for girls who are new to the college lifestyle and attend frat parties. I’ve seen many friends of mine from high school go crazy with partying in these first two months, from semi-formals to constant frat parties. Alcohol has TONS of calories and you can’t expect to lose weight when indulging in Natty Light five nights a week. Stick to partying only during the weekend and be responsible about your drinking. Not only will your body appreciate this, but your grades will DEFINITELY be appreciative! An exam is more important than going to a frat. So, maybe pretzels and peanut butter in Cooper is a much more responsible option than sweat and cheap beer at a party.


6. Stop religiously watching the scale!

I found out I’d lost weight when I had to go to the doctor for a cold that I (inevitably) caught after the first month of school. I definitely felt skinnier before the appointment. I’d noticed my pants getting looser, my stomach feeling flatter and an overall improvement in my fitness level, but I hadn’t intentionally weighed myself or set a target weight. Unless you’re seriously struggling with weight maintenance or health problems attributed to weight, I suggest not weighing yourself more than once a month. It’s discouraging when you work your tail off in the gym and eat better for a week and don’t see any weight loss. How you FEEL is more important than a number on a scale and that number will drop if you’re responsible during this crucial freshman year!


It’s never too late to employ these ideas in your time here at Clemson, even if you’re a senior! Good luck on your journey. You got this, girl.

I'm a first-year Microbiology major at Clemson University with a forward-thinking attitude in all aspects. I aspire to become a psychiatrist so I can help people take control of their lives using the incredible brainpower they already possess!
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