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Freshman Survival Guide part 2: How to Avoid the Freshman 15 (without really trying)

Hey freshmen Collegiettes, before you left for college this year, I’m sure you heard from literally everyone, “don’t gain the freshman 15… or 50!” And I’m sure you told yourself, “I won’t! I’m going to eat healthy and go to the gym every day!” Now it’s a month into the school year, your jeans are starting to feel a little snug and when someone asks you if you want to go to the gym with them, you respond, “what’s a gym?” The freshman 15 may be creeping up on you just like everyone warned but don’t worry because here are some tips to keep the scale under control without even having to get your lazy self to HelWell.

Get your beauty rest! If possible, try to get in at least 6-8 hours of sleep when you can. Studies show that when you don’t get enough sleep, your levels of the hormone leptin go down, causing you to feel less satisfied after eating. In addition, your levels of the hormone ghrelin increase which stimulates your appetite!?
Avoid the elevators. Waiting for an elevator takes forever and they usually smell bad and you end up squished against the wall by fifteen other people. Instead, take the stairs and burn a few extra calories.

Try to avoid snacking all day in your room. Keep some fruit in the fridge and some homemade trailmix- my favorite is almonds, raisins, dried fruit, and a VERY small amount of dark chocolate chips. If you get hungry, it’s best to have healthy options to reach for but remember to take a reasonable portion to avoid overeating.

Don’t eat late at night. No matter how late you stay up to study, or how many all-nighters you have to pull, the more you munch on at night, the worse you’ll feel in the morning. Instead, try to avoid eating after dinner time and spread your calories out evenly during the day to improve your metabolism.

Be careful what you drink. Whether it’s Starbucks, energy drinks, alcohol, whatever, consume these in moderation. If you need your caffeine fix, ask for nonfat milk and sugar free syrups. Energy drinks can have tons of sugar that leave you feeling sick so opt for sugar free. Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation and responsibly but it’s also important to look at what you’re mixing with. Soda and juices can have tons of sugar and useless calories so try seltzer or diet sodas with low-sugar juices.

Drink a lot of water! Try to carry a bottle with you at all times and aim to drink at least eight glasses a day. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before, but it really does make a difference.

Don’t skip meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all important. Even if you’re running to class, grab something on the go. Protein bars are my favorite for a quick breakfast because they get your metabolism going, give you a big dose of protein and may even curb your hunger for the day. Skipping meals does not make you lose weight so try to eat 4-6 reasonably portioned meals every day.

Avoid emotional eating. Many people reach for food when they are feeling stressed, upset or just bored, instead of actually feeling hungry. Try to recognize this and avoid it. Even if you have a ton of work to do, don’t stress out! Stress can lead to major over-eating and even overproduction of hormones that increase appetite so it is important to manage your stress.

Stock your dorm room with healthy options. Instead of picking up the phone to order pizza, Chinese food or even Crepeway, you should be able to grab things like peanut butter, yogurt, fruits and veggies, etc.

Exercise when you can. College can be crazy busy between classes, work, parties, etc., but if you have the time, get your heart pumping and burn some calories. You don’t even have to go to the gym! Instead, grab some friends and walk around town, or just do some exercises in your room for an hour. Every little bit counts!

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