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Her Campus Tips and Tricks on Avoiding the Freshman 15!

Does everyone really gain 15 pounds freshman year? Is all the food in the dining hall really unhealthy? Will there be time to exercise and stay fit in between classes, clubs, and going out? Whether it’s from books, movies, or fear mongering older siblings, we’ve all heard the myths about the freshman 15. It’s hard to know who (and what!) to believe. That’s why HerCampus JHU is here to help!

A recent Ohio State University study showed that the average college woman only gained 2.4 pounds in freshman year, and that the average college man only gained about 3.4 pounds in freshman year. That’s way less than 15! In addition, the study found that one in four freshmen actually lose weight freshman year, rather than gaining any.

Still worried about gaining weight? Then read on for some tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle in college! [pagebreak]

1. Stairs, stairs, stairs! Whether you’re running from the Daily Grind to Level C in Brody, or going to class, take the stairs as often as possible. You’d be surprised at how fast the extra calories you burn off add up!

2. H2O. Staying hydrated is an important part of being healthy and fit. As an added bonus, a well hydrated body won’t retain water weight! The Institute of Medicine recommends that women drink at least 9 cups of
water per day. Try purchasing a Brita water bottle or a Bobble water bottle (the Hopkins bookstore has some cute ones for sale!) and just popping it in your bag when you leave home!

3. Join a campus group that gets you moving! Hopkins has seventeen dance groups and a variety of free dance classes to join. If dance isn’t your thing, there’s also a huge number of intramural sports available—just grab your friends and make a team!

4. (Don’t) Super Size Me. Portions are a huge part of healthy eating. Don’t be afraid to indulge in delicious foods like cake or cookies every now and then. You can still eat yummy things while being health conscious—just don’t overindulge and you’re good to go!

5. Find an exercise buddy. Whether it’s going for a jog around Homewood or popping by the Rec Center’s workout room for half an hour, having a work-out buddy can make all the difference! She (or he!) will keep you motivated, upbeat, and committed to exercising.

6. Make goals. Plan to exercise a certain number of days per week, and then keep building up until you have a regular routine going. Or, choose a graduated workout plan that builds up your strength and endurance. Usually these start with 10 minutes each of cardio, lifting, and flexibility, and then keep adding on. Setting concrete goals will help you get into exercising regularly without feeling like it’s too much all at once!

7. Fruit is your best friend. Seriously. If you have unlimited meal swipes, pop by the FFC and grab a to go box of fruit. If you’re on the 14 meal plan, head to CharMar and pick up some fruit there with your Dining
Dollars! Try to avoid fruit juice in favour of real fruit—it has all the fiber and nutrients that fruit juice is usually lacking! Fruit is packed with fiber and vitamins and low in calories and fat; whenever you feel the munchies coming on, just grab some fruit and you’re good to go!

8. Catch some zzz’s. Sleep is an insanely important part of being healthy and fit. If your body doesn’t get enough rest, your metabolism can’t function properly and you’ll be tempted to reach for high energy, unhealthy snacks like mochas or doughnuts—and you’ll gain weight much more easily. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and get at least 7.5 hours of sleep per night! This way you’ll be well-rested and ready to tackle the rest of your day!

9. Breakfast! Staying up late and then sleeping in until your first class at noon might sound like a good way to get some rest in and cut down on calories, but skipping breakfast is actually one of the most unhealthy things you can do. Studies show that by missing breakfast, you’re actually slowing down your metabolism and making it more tempting to binge later on in the day! Instead, roll out of bed 15 minutes earlier and stop in at the FFC to pick up a healthy, filling breakfast! My personal favorite breakfast is some fruit and yogurt with granola, and refreshing ice-cold water.

10. Destress! Going to a school like Hopkins (or any college!) can be really stressful, especially around final season. Stress and anxiety can mess with your hormones and cause you to retain weight at a higher rate than normal. They can also lead to stress eating, a definite no-no. To avoid this trap, take up yoga, meditate, pop by MSE Library on Monday nights for a quick (and free!) back massage from the Stressbusters… the possibilities for relaxing are endless!

Whether you choose to follow one of our tips or to use them all, remember that being healthy is what’s most important, and not getting down to a certain number on the scale. If you do use our tips, or if you have more suggestions to share, feel free to sound off in the comments below!


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