7 Tips for Leading a Healthier Freshman Lifestyle

Let’s talk about the freshman fifteen. The freshman fifteen is an expression used to talk about the fact that freshmen often gain around 15 pounds from the beginning of the year to the end. This is often due to the fact that they are adjusting to the college atmosphere, the stress of classes, and not having access to healthy food. The good news is that most people don’t actually gain that much weight— it is usually just a few pounds. Even better news: there are many easy ways you can avoid it without even thinking about it.

  1. 1. Walk to your classes

    Walking to your classes is the easiest way to get in your daily exercise without even noticing it. Studies have shown that walking is actually better than running if you are trying to lose weight and stay fit because walking actually burns fat rather than calories.

  2. 2. Don’t drink your calories

    Drinking juices and soda is the fastest way to gain calories without even noticing. Juices are packed with concentrate which is often just sugar water and fruit flavoring. If you are craving juice or soda, let yourself have it for one day a week— and stick to water for the rest. Don’t restrict yourself because that will just make you want it more. 

  3. 3. Try to fill up on fruits and veggies in the dining halls

    Dining halls usually don’t have the healthiest options, but they usually have some fruits and vegetables that you can eat. Whether this means you grab a bowl of fruit or make yourself a nice big salad with dark leafy greens and vegetables, always aim for half of your meal to be fruits and vegetables. This will keep you full for longer periods of time. 

  4. 4. Eat three meals a day

    You need to be full in order for your body to be able to function properly. Many times, college students will miss breakfast, causing them to be hungry for the rest of the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day if you truly want to stay full— so don’t skip breakfast! Also, this will help you avoid snacking— another big source of empty calories.

  5. 5. Don’t fall into the trap of midnight snacks

    This one kind of piggybacks off of the last one. Has anyone ever told you that you shouldn’t eat a couple hours before going to bed? Well, it doesn’t have to do so much with your metabolism, but more to do with the fact that it is an extra meal that you are adding when you should actually be asleep. If you are hungry at night, that probably means that you aren’t eating enough throughout the day. In that case, you should probably increase the sizes of your meals throughout the day. 

  6. 6. Don’t go out to eat with your friends every day

    While you might want to, social eating is the number one way to consume way more than you want to— especially when eating calorie-dense restaurant foods. Choose one day a week when you will allow yourself a cheat meal, but try to stick to healthier dining hall food for all of your other meals. If you must go out though, consider ordering a salad or any other healthy option.

  7. 7. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night

    As a college student, this is probably one of the hardest things to do, especially when you are still adjusting to the new environment. This is the time when your body especially needs sleep because you are probably extremely stressed out. Try to create a schedule for yourself to go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time. Once it becomes a routine, it’ll be easy.

The freshman fifteen is scary. No one wants to come out of their freshman year with an extra 15 pounds of fat, but it is not impossible to avoid. Just stay mindful of your habits and you will be absolutely fine!