How I Lost the Freshman 15

You’ve probably heard of the “freshman 15,” a phenomenon where students tend to gain weight in their first semester of college. Between the lack of healthy food options, plethora of junk food available and the newfound freedom to do and eat what you want, it’s hard not to gain weight during the fall semester of freshman year. I personally did not see an increase in my weight during those first few months, but I think it was only because I came into college with some pretty unhealthy habits.

I’ve tried to adopt a healthy lifestyle multiple times, but like a lot of people, I’d give up when I didn’t see quick results; however, in January, I became determined to make a more lasting change for 2019. I’ve gradually lost about 15 pounds this semester, which I’ve dubbed “the reverse freshman 15.” Here’s how I did it.

The hardest, but most crucial, part of weight loss is eating healthy. To be more mindful of what I was eating, I started tracking my calories on an app called MyFitnessPal. I think it’s important to not get too hung up on calories because it can easily become obsessive and unhealthy. Instead, I log what I eat to simply be more aware. Just knowing that I have to log anything I eat has made me opt for healthier options in general.

Another thing I was struggling with was late night snacking in my room. I’ve heard that it’s healthier to have three filling and satisfying meals per day, rather than many small snacks, so I stopped keeping snacks in my room. If I am craving junk food late at night, I’m forced to leave my room to go buy a snack, and most of the time, I decide not to.

I do, however, think it’s important to give into your cravings once and a while. A few times a week, I like to either eat out or have a dessert with my dinner. This keeps me motivated to continue being healthy because I know I’m not completely deprived of my favorite unhealthy foods.

As for exercise, I’ve gotten into the habit of working out four to five times per week. At first, I had no desire to go to the gym, but over time, I’ve learned to love it. Not only does working out put me in a great mood, but it also boosts my confidence and gives me energy to get through the day. It’s nice to have an hour of my day where I’m only focusing on myself: I can forget about school work, stop checking my phone and ignore any stress I’m feeling.

My old workout routine was just running on the treadmill, but now I do a variety of cardio and strength training workouts. I’m also in a club called CHAARG, where I get two group workouts per week, which I find way more fun than working out by myself. CHAARG has also introduced me to many new workouts like spinning, Pilates, kickboxing and more.

I think the reason that I’ve had some success in my health journey this semester is because I think of it as a lifestyle change rather than a “health kick” or “diet.” I’ve incorporated health and fitness into my life in a way that I can maintain in the long run, and although I’ve lost weight, that was not my original intention. My goal this semester was to get stronger, feel more confident and begin to love health and fitness. I can proudly say that I am achieving that goal so far.  

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