If this is your first year in college there’s a good chance that you’ve been warned about the freshman 15. It’s for good reason too, it’s not just something that people talk about, it’s a real thing. Take it from someone who had to deal with it. But don’t worry there’s plenty of ways that you can avoid gaining that extra 15 pounds during the year. However, the most important thing to remember that you look great no matter what size you are, and it’s possible to love your body while still wanting to improve it.
Avoid Meal Plans
When first coming to college it can be really easy to think that meal plans won’t be that bad. But trust me, they are. If you live in a dorm with a kitchen or off-campus apartment chances are you won’t want a meal plan anyway. But if for some reason you’re still considering it because it’s easier and you don’t have to cook anything, I encourage you to think about it more. Just because it’s easier does not mean that it’s better. It can be really tempting to constantly drink sodas and eat the desserts because they’re there, but that’s one of the fastest routes to the freshman 15. They’re also super expensive if you compare it to just grocery shopping, you don’t eat as much as you think you do I promise.
If you’re living in a dorm it can be really challenging to not have a meal plan, but you can get through it. If you aren’t sensitive to dairy at all they usually have some kind of yogurt, granola, and fruit bar that can make for a really great breakfast. I would also recommend not eating pizza every day, which is available literally every single day. Try to branch out and see what else they’re offering for dinner, not just what you know. While it is okay to have a cheat day, just try not to indulge every day.
Working out during college is a great way to keep off the extra freshman 15. You can just simply go to the gym and do a mix of cardio and weights, go to a fitness class, or join an intramural sport. There are tons of ways to stay active during college. If you live on campus try and utilize the school’s gym. Chances are it’s giant with up to date equipment, which makes going even easier.
Don’t stress over not going, just feel proud of yourself when you do. It also helps the more consistent you are in going. The faster you get into a rhythm of going and a routine, the more likely you’ll actually go to the gym. Working out isn’t just great for its ability to combat the freshman 15, it’s also a great way to relieve the stress of everyday college life.
Going away to college can induce a frenzy of eating junk food no matter what class you’re in. As discussed before, having a meal plan makes it really difficult to maintain healthy eating habits. However, if you don’t have a meal plan that limits your options you aren’t in the clear of sticking to healthy meals. Grocery stores are filled with temptations that won’t help you fight off the freshman 15, but there are plenty of healthy options as well.
I would recommend meal prepping over the weekends because the number one reason most of us choose non-healthy options is that they’re not as time-consuming. Just think of how many times you’ve made instant macaroni or ramen because you don’t have the energy to make an actual dinner. However, with meal prepping all you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a little bit and you’re all set.
Get Enough Sleep
I know that getting enough in college can seem like an unreachable goal. But it is super important to make sure you get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can actually make you hungrier. It’ll most likely lead to late-night snacking, which usually doesn’t lead to eating anything healthy.
Obviously, there will be ties when you need to stay up late and cram for a test, but its important that you try to make up that lost sleep. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can sleep when you’re dead, you should sleep when you’re tired. You’ll have more energy throughout the day and will be more motivated to catch your workout after class.
This is one of the most important things that you can do throughout the day. Staying hydrated has a ton of beneficial properties. Not only is it amazing for your skin, but it also helps detox your body. It speeds up your metabolism and makes you feel fuller longer.
This helps prevent you from snacking even when you aren’t that hungry. It also helps you eat less during actual meals. If that hasn’t convinced you to try to stay hydrated hopefully this will. Drinking water can help you stay energized longer. Yup, that means no more falling asleep during a particularly unbearable lecture.
I know that this sounds ridiculous but beer is full of wheat which not only makes you bloat, but it also contributes a lot to putting on weight. Going to tailgates every weekend and drinking beer doesn’t help keep off the freshman 15. In fact, I would say that it contributes to most of it, which sucks. However, with the increasingly popular White Claw and non-beer options you should be better off. Alcoholic beverages, in general, is full of sugar so avoiding beer isn’t the only answer, but it will help to avoid it if you want to cut down a little.
So while you can have fun every weekend just be mindful that you’ll be drinking a lot of calories during the weekend. Drinking usually ends with indulging in some delicious, but non-healthy meals. Just be mindful of using your cheat days over the weekend and plan accordingly. Incorporating too many cheat days throughout the week is a sure way to gain the freshman 15, so just be mindful.