5 Ways to Avoid the "Freshman 15"

As a freshman, it’s annoying to constantly hear from adults to “watch out for the Freshman 15!” Although it seemed easy to beat, I’m only a month into college and am already obsessing over the delicious, excessive amounts of food that are available to me now that I’m not limited to my parents’ tiny grocery supply. Although it’s hard for me to do, I’m working on my healthy habits one day at a time. I thought I’d share some suggestions that I’ve learned over these past few weeks so we can conquer the “Freshman 15” together!

  1. 1. Choose healthy snack alternatives 

    When laying across the futon while watching Netflix or studying for exams and starting to get those junk food cravings, our first instinct is to go to the Cheez-It box or the candy stash. Being limited to only the food that is in your dorm room, switching out junk food for nutritious snacks will keep you eating somewhat healthy. If you need help with options, some of my favorite healthy alternatives are hummus and pita chips, pretzels and guacamole, fruit, peanut butter and celery, popcorn or granola bars. It may seem like there are not many tasty, healthy foods to satisfy you, but there is actually a wide variety — you just have to be open to trying new things to find out what you like!

  2. 2. Eat healthy on the weekdays, eat what you want on the weekends 

    Avoiding the “Freshman 15” does not mean that you need to go on some insane fitness diet, but just be aware of what you’re eating and how much you are eating. Always remember to eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re full. Eating like it’s Thanksgiving everyday will not help in accomplishing your goal. Another suggestion to help fight the “Freshman 15” is to eat nutritional meals during the weekdays, and then have whatever you want on the weekends. If you eat a salad every day for lunch during the school week, you’re definitely allowed to go eat a late night pizza at Ian’s, or grab a burger from Mooyah on State Street.

  3. 3. Do some form of physical activity throughout the week 

    Attending a large university, it’s easy to get your steps in from walking back and forth every day from class. But if you want to take it to the next level, working out a couple times a week can help keep the weight down. There are tons of fitness opportunities available at UW-Madison, too! You could work out in the Ogg Fitness Center, join a group fitness class at the Natatorium or do something as simple as using the stairs instead of the elevator once in a while.

  4. 4. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! 

    Believe it or not, drinking water helps with weight loss too. This is because it increases your metabolism and keeps you feeling satisfied. Not only does it help with weight loss, but studies also show that it helps with energy levels, brain function and constipation. It also prevents hangovers and even makes your skin look nice and clear! Drinking H2O instead of carbonated drinks can be considered a health benefit, as well. Something as easy as drinking water, which takes very little effort, can make your body happy in so many different ways!

  5. 5. LOVE yourself!

    Don’t forget! This is college, and this is your body! Every girl needs cheat days. Even if you do gain the “Freshman 15,” it’s not the end of the world! If you’re having fun, making friends, doing your homework and loving yourself, that’s the only thing that matters. Every girl is beautiful inside and out!

The “Freshman 15” is not a myth. Statistics show that 1 in 4 freshmen in college gain 5% of their body weight. But if you put in the extra effort and take some of these suggestions to heart, this infamous college weight gain is beatable!