I Gained the Freshman 15, But Here's How I Handled It

The Freshman 15 —it's something you figured you’d be able to beat. After all, high school was a time of healthy fruits and veggies, daily fitness and a quick metabolism. Nothing could have prepared you for the stimulus overload of college: the free rein at the grocery store, the drunk visits to the Italian Gator, the morning trips to Chick-fil-A when your fridge was empty.

One semester into college, you step on the scale and realize you’ve shot up 15 pounds without realizing it. It’s no big deal, but you’d feel more like yourself if you lost a couple and could start feeling healthier (and maybe fit into those skinny jeans you have shoved to the back of your closet). 

Here are my personal tips on how to get back into shape post-Freshman 15.

1. Take advantage of UF's fitness resources

UF offers lots of fun fitness classes. From Bosu to cycling, you can definitely find a class or type of exercise you like and get into it. Whether you bring a friend or go solo, having a teacher and fellow students can provide motivation. You’ll love how you feel leaving a class exhausted, and it’ll give you the mental and physical confirmation that you’re taking action in your wellbeing.

2. Don’t limit yourself too much

You’ll be miserable if you cut out carbs altogether. Focus on moderation for each food group, and if you need a treat, go with a fruit or a vegetable (and add some honey if you need to make it a little more tasty). On the other hand, if you really want a piece of pizza when all your friends are sharing a pie, go for it. If you keep your indulgences in check, they won’t hold you back.

3. Take interest in what you eat

Though you shouldn’t fixate on calorie counting, reading about the nutrition of your food and using an app like MyFitnessPal can teach you about what you put in your body and make you more invested in the food choices you make. Caring and being excited about what you eat can make all the difference in staving off binge eating and ravenous cravings. If you live in a dorm, it might be difficult, but preparing your own food (even occasionally) can create pride and portion control in your meals.

In the end, you are much more than your weight and will look great 15 pounds heavier or lighter. However, if you want that extra push to feel a sense of control over your body and empower yourself, getting healthier after a hectic first semester — or year — is an effective way to do it.