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Health

Lose the Freshman 15: A Note to High School Grads

Happy Saturday, collegiettes! Last night my little sister graduated from high school. And as I sat waiting for her to walk across the stage, I couldn’t help but think about how much my life (and body) has changed since going to college. I’ll willingly admit that I dread going back to my alma mater because I’ve put on such a significant amount of weight since I graduated. But I saw people last night that I haven’t seen since our class graced the field in 2010, and those people reminded me that I’m not the only one who’s changed. The “Freshman 15” impacts a lot of people – girls AND guys – and can be a struggle to lose (we’re still dealing with it three years later – welp!). Going to college is undoubtedly an exciting time in any young person’s life, but it’s easy to get caught up in the newfound freedom that comes with being a freshman. Unlimited dining hall food, booze and lack of exercise during freshman year can take a huge toll on your body, but it doesn’t have to!

  • Eat as you normally would. One of the best things about freshman year is being on the meal plan. Cherish the unlimited food options, because one day you will be forced to budget for groceries and make time to cook for yourself (hello, real world!). But just because the options are seemingly endless it doesn’t mean you should overdo it. I know it’s tempting to eat greasy food and sweets for every meal, but would you be eating that way at home? Include some variety in your diet and take advantage of all the options your dining hall has available (like the awesome salad bar!). Remember that your body needs to have the good stuff, too. Even though you may not be looking to Drop 10 just yet (or hopefully ever!), utilizing SELF’s super foods at the dining hall will help to keep your body healthy and trim.
  • Realize the dangers of drinking. You’re 18, you’re off on your own and you get invited to parties every weekend. I get it – I’ve been there, I’ve done that. But falling into a habit of habitual binge drinking is not only dangerous, but can help to pack on the pounds FAST. Do you know how many carbs are in a can of beer, or how many calories are in a mixed drink? Look it up… it’s scary. So before you decide to let loose on the weekends, think about what you’re actually consuming.
  • Make it a point to stay active. I went from weekly high school marching band practices and walking around my neighborhood every afternoon to doing absolutely nothing once I got to college. And trust me; the pounds will creep on. Learn the ins and outs of the Rec Center and make it a priority to exercise. Also, walk around campus as much as possible. Since UGA is a bigger school, I got into the habit of taking the bus or driving everywhere freshman year. Allow yourself extra time to walk to your destination and embrace a little calorie burn. Preventing weight gain will be much easier than trying to get rid of it!
  • Love your body. Whether you’re going away to college or staying near home, you’re going to be surrounded by a whole new group of people. When I started at UGA I didn’t feel skinny enough to be hanging out with all of my gorgeous new hallmates, and that was before I gained the “Freshman 15.” But I was happy with who I was and that’s what mattered most. Being confident in yourself is the most precious piece of advice I can give you. We all have something about our bodies we don’t like – which can and does extend beyond the realm of weight – but having a positive body image will do wonders for your self-esteem, especially when meeting so many new people.

Even though I don’t look the same now as I did in the first picture below, I’m still happy with who I am. I’m actively working to continue to be the best that I can be, and that’s what matters most. I wish you all the best of luck with your college journeys and I hope you all go out and change the world!

 

(And for all you “Lose the Freshman 15” challengers, don’t forget to weigh-in on DietBet and see how much progress you’ve made! The end is near!)

Xo,

Morgan

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