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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CNU chapter.

College is a time of many firsts: first time living away from home, first taste of true independence, first time to choose a snack before dinner—every day.  With freedom comes responsibility, and eating right to stay happy and healthy is a good sign of a responsible college student.  The dreaded “Freshman 15” has become all too common with students these days because, for most, it is their first time away from mom and dad’s rules. It is the first taste of freedom, which is great because you can do whatever you want… It’s also bad because you can do whatever you want. 

With dining halls like Regatta’s and Commons and a host of fast food places in walking distance of campus, it is easy to pick the fries before the salad and the dessert before the dinner.  Instead of gaining the “Freshman 15” like I almost did, I am here to share some great tips on how to “lose 15.”

1.  If you, like me, love sleep and dread 8 a.m.’s, you know how hard it is to even wake up on time, let alone eat breakfast before class. Try these quick and simple breakfast ideas to start your day off right.

Strawberry Parfait (169 calories) 

Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup freshly sliced strawberries

1 teaspoon sugar

½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

¼ cup granola

Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Cheese (347 calories)

Prep time: 5 minutes

2 large eggs

1 slice cooked ham

¼ – 1/3 cheese of choice

Stir in greased pan 2-3 minutes until eggs are cooked, ham is warm, and cheese is melted

(Also available in Regattas!)

Orient Express Oatmeal (420 calories) 

Prep time: 4 minutes

3/4 C Plain instant oatmeal

1 C Almond Milk

1 tbsp. sliced almonds

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 tsp honey

1 tsp ground flaxseed

1 tbsp. low fat vanilla Greek yogurt

2. Drink at least one full glass of water before each meal. This will help fill your stomach, making you less hungry and less likely to overeat.  

3. Fruit medleys are great for obtaining essential vitamins and minerals that synthetic vitamins often leave out.  I have had to work hard to acquire a taste for many of these fruits, but it’s worth it.  Try a new one each week until you eat some of the most nutritious fruits such as watermelon, apricots, avocado, apple, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, guava, papaya, and strawberries.

4.  Make sure to work on working out like it’s a class. The Freeman Center is FREE for students, so sign up today to get in the best shape of your life.  There are also group exercise classes (which come with a small fee) ranging from kickboxing to yoga, zumba and more! Buy a fitness pass for the semester and check out the list and times for fitness classes here. Interested in a more personalized gym sesh? Ask the front desk attendants in Freeman about personal trainers.  

5. Don’t like the gym? Grab a friend and go for a jog on the Noland Trail. Enjoy a scenic tour around Lake Maury while getting into great shape.

6. Don’t even like going out of your dorm? Check out these YouTube accounts of free fitness trainers: “BeFiT,” “Blogilaties,” “SparkPeople Videos,” “BexLife,” and more! It’s the Internet; you’re sure to find some account that works for you.

7. Cut out soda and caffeine. It is an artificial stimulant and causes weight gain. Opt instead for mineral water or fruit juices to cleanse your body.   

8. Journal your journey to a healthier you. When you find yourself wondering why you even started this in the first place, you can look through the journal to inspire you to keep going. Some days will be harder than others to find your motivation, but you can do it!

9. Make sure to have a cheat day every now and then. Staying fit is hard, but rewarding. Don’t overdo it.  Having a well-earned treat is also a part of the fitness plan. Everything is good in moderation.   

**DON’T FORGET** Muscle weighs more than fat, so even if the number on the scale goes up, you are toning yourself and not gaining bad weight. 

So as the fall and winter seasons are quickly approaching and it’d be much easier to pack on the pounds to keep warm (as I used to tell myself), now is as good a time as any to take control of your life to be on your way to a happier and healthier you.