College Life

The 10 Best And Worst Ways To Avoid The Freshman 15

Yes, we’ve all heard of the “freshman 15” before. It’s no secret that when freshman year rolls around, your mom, your sister, and your cousin’s-best-friend’s-aunt all warn you about gaining weight in college. Even though you probably think the best way to avoid weight gain is to eat healthily and avoid binge-eating, we all know that in college it’s hard to eat perfectly. Here are the 10 best and worst ways to avoid the freshman 15!

1. BEST: Set a routine and stick to it

Unlike high school, in college, there is not a set daily schedule or meal time. Most college students don’t wake up, eat, or go to sleep at the same time every day. Nevertheless, setting a schedule can be crucial to improving one’s diet. If you plan your meals and snacks around the same time every day, your body will naturally regulate your metabolism. This will, in turn, impact your digestion and you will be less likely to gain weight from fluctuations in eating patterns. For more information on setting meal routines, check out this article from Delish

2. BEST: Don’t over do it

Whether you love Dominos, Papa John’s, Qdoba, or a different on-campus restaurant, over-doing it on any type of commercially prepared meal can be detrimental to one’s body. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love a girl’s night with Dominos cheesy bread, but it’s important not to overdo it. Not only do these types of meals cause students to binge eat, but they are also prepared in a commercialized way which uses synthetic ingredients which we wouldn’t normally consume. That’s not to say they are unsafe, but just that they often include high levels of sodium, sugar or fat- which should be limited. The overarching point is that everything should be eaten in moderation.

3. BEST: Find a gym buddy

Finding someone who will consistently work out with you is one of the best ways to stay motivated towards your fitness goals. Fortunately, I found an awesome gym buddy who works out with me at least twice a week. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to avoid the freshman 15. Not only is going to the gym critical for weight management, but going with a friend is also a great way to make a workout less boring.  In addition to the change you will see in your body, you will also see a change in your overall mood. Going to the gym can reduce stress, tension, and anxiety significantly and it can improve memory and thought processes.

4. BEST: Goal setting

It has been proven time and time again that people who set goals are more likely to achieve what they want. Goal setting is a massively important factor in changing your health routine. One of the best ways to set goals is by writing out what you want to do in your planner at the beginning of every week. Personally, I write down workouts in my planner and on my calendar so that I don’t have an excuse to change my plans. I also set a goal for how much water I am going to drink every day and for how many steps I am going to take. An awesome app that I use is called Achievement. This app will track your steps and exercise and once you have 10,000 points (points are awarded for different types of activity) you can choose a prize such as a $10 Amazon card.

5. BEST: Drinking water

I can’t stress enough how important drinking water is. Any health professional will tell you that one of the easiest and most effective ways to trim your figure and feel better is to drink more water. The daily recommended amount of water you should drink is 2 liters (a half gallon). Drinking water is vital to our bodily functions. Studies have shown that people who drink the suggested amount of water everyday have improved brain function, clearer skin, less bloat, less excess fat deposits, and stronger immune systems. If I haven’t convinced you yet, check out this article from Mind Body Green which outlines all of the benefits of increasing your H2O intake.

6 WORST: Skipping meals

Skipping meals is dumb. Period. End of story. Not only will it drain you of energy and warp your brain function but it is unsafe. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), “researchers found that freshmen gain between 2.5 to 3.5 pounds, on average. This is only a 1⁄2 pound more than their same age peers who do not attend college.” This statistic is frightening when we consider how much people stress not eating too much in college to avoid the freshman 15. The larger problem is that because college students are so concerned with gaining weight, they feel the pressure to lose weight in any way possible. You should always strive to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. If you go over this amount, don’t sweat it, just try to eat healthier tomorrow.

7. WORST: Too much exercise

Overdoing it at the gym is never a smart idea. Although exercise is beneficial to your mental and physical health, rest days are important. If you’re the type of person who needs to go to the gym every day, instead, go to a yoga class or go for a walk one day. Rather than doing 100 reps of heavy weights or running 10 miles with the goal of losing weight, try to set a goal to maintain your current weight or feel healthier.

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8. WORST: Dieting

While watching your intake is important for a healthy diet. Obsessing over what you eat for every meal is ridiculous. In college, most students – especially freshman- have meal plans thus making it hard to ‘diet’ in any facet. Nevertheless, attempting a juice cleanse, the Whole 30, or any of the crazy diet fads won’t be worth the stress. It’s far easier to try and watch what you’re eating. So, when it comes to choosing between a salad or a sandwich and fries, just make the smarter choice, but don’t beat yourself up because you ate a few greasy meals- it’s not the end of the world.

9. WORST: Overindulging

This one seems pretty obvious, but if you’re like me and have a major sweet tooth, a cookie after a meal is practically irresistible. Most college dining halls have a dessert station packed with sugary treats, but don’t be fooled into believing the “everything in moderation” line on this one. A dessert every day or after every meal is not “moderation,” it’s excessive. This was one of my biggest weaknesses when I first started college, so now I tell myself that I will only allow myself to have a dessert 4 times per week. A trick to beat sugary cravings is to skip the brownies and eat fruit and, or yogurt instead, this way you can get your fix without putting on weight.

10. WORST: Setting unreasonable goals

One of the hardest things for me when I came to college was my habit of comparing myself to others. I constantly felt like I was comparing myself to other women and trying to change my diet and exercise habits with a goal in mind. Although setting goals is essential for anyone trying to stay healthy, setting unreasonable goals or goals with fixation is not beneficial. It’s important to constantly remind yourself that your body is unique to you. Setting an unreasonable goal usually results in dieting and excessive workouts, which are not recommended ways to avoid the freshman 15. Bottom line, feel confident in your skin. If there is something you don’t like, work hard, but don’t expect an overnight result its a marathon, not a sprint!

Can you think of any more ways to avoid the freshman 15?!

featured image source: weheartit.com
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