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We’ve all heard of it—the dreaded 15 (or 50) pounds that get packed on once a collegiette leaves the comforts of her mom’s cooking (read: portion sizes) and heads off to the world of pizza and beer. Here’s how to make sure you make it home for Thanksgiving still recognizable to your family and friends (if not for the layers of clothing you’ll have to peel off before you come inside. Spoiler alert: Northwestern gets cold before Thanksgiving. Bring your boots and jackets. Now.)

Take advantage of SPAC

Freshman year could likely be the only year you live on north campus (home to the fraternity quads and the best gym, SPAC) before you head down to south campus (home to the sorority quads with easy access to Chipotle, Andy’s Frozen Custard, and Thai takeout). This is an advantage, people! You’re going to miss your five-minute walk to SPAC when your options are waiting for one of the limited treadmills in BLOM, paying for a gym membership in Evanston, taking a shuttle to SPAC, or getting frostbite walking to SPAC. Plus, SPAC is where Northwestern guys (try to) work off their beer guts, so pull on your Lulus and get over there!

Minimize your meal plan

While an unlimited meal plan sounds great, you don’t need more than two unlimited-portion meals per day. Head to the dining halls for lunch and dinner, but for breakfast, stock your mini fridge with yogurt and fruit on your weekly trip to Whole Foods. While you’re there, pick up some peanut butter, hummus, nuts, and veggies. These power foods will make for great late-night study snacks and save you a trip to the dreaded vending machine. 

Know your dining halls

Bigger dining halls (like Allison) have more healthy options than smaller ones (like Elder). While your choice of dining hall will likely depend on your location on campus, checking the menu before you go will let you know if there’s nothing healthy you’ll want to eat there. Look up the menu in the morning and let your friends know in advance to join you for dinner in Allison when Elder is only serving carbs. And now for the awards—Best salad bar: Allison. Best vegan and gluten-free options: Hinman. Best stir-fry: Sargent. Best…nothing: Elder. You’ve been warned.

Be the girl who doesn’t understand shuttles…

…at least until winter hits. Walking instead of taking shuttles will give you extra miles of exercise a day, plus an excuse to let that cute guy walk you home (“I don’t know how to download the shuttle app!” That’s what they all say. Hint: use the web page, not the app store. This will be very important once the temperatures drop below zero.)

Shun GrubHub

When you (and 6 of your friends) are ordering takeout, your original request for a Greek salad from Clarke’s turns into pizza, a milkshake, and an order of fries. Nothing good (for you) ever comes from GrubHub, especially after 10 p.m. Break out that hummus and carrots and call it a night.

You’re finally free from your parents’ grasp, and there’s no harm in indulging every once in a while. But with college-level courses, time-consuming extracurriculars, and a busy social cal, it can be easy to make those indulgences a habit. Reward yourself by looking great, not reaching for that bag of M&Ms. You’ll thank me next summer when you’re still rocking that bikini.

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Olivia Bahou


Liv is a junior majoring in journalism at Northwestern University who hopes to pursue a career in magazine writing. Her interest include fashion, Pure Barre, Chai tea lattes, professional tennis and anything related to Italy, where she studied abroad. She loves being the CC for Her Campus Northwestern and looks forward to what the future has in store!
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