The way people talk, it almost seems like gaining weight in college is a graduation requirement. However, despite what you may have read online, heard from well-meaning but less than helpful relatives, or even witnessed among your own friends and siblings, “the freshman fifteen” is by no means inevitable. There are so many ways to avoid the freshman fifteen at Connecticut College.
In my first year at Conn, few if any of my friends gained any significant amount of weight, while I even lost a few pounds. College dining halls and lifestyle changes get a bad rap as a recipe for rapid weight gain, but if you can get past the ominous stereotype, these things can actually work to your benefit. Read on to find out how Conn students avoid the freshman (and sophomore, junior, and senior) fifteen.
1. Take advantage of the location change.
Over the last 18 years, there’s a good chance you’ve developed some pretty regular eating habits in your daily home life. If some of those habits have been less than healthy, now is your chance to reset them. While freshman fifteen doomsday-ers often include the stress and dietary freedom of the college transition among their most commonly implicated weight gain suspects, we’d like to say a word on behalf of this defendant.
In college, you have complete freedom over your eating schedule, and as long as you take that “complete freedom” to mean “complete control,” you should be in good shape – literally. In this new environment, you’re completely free from both obligatory eating – like family dinners and home-cooked meals – as well as eating habits so long held they seem obligatory – like your ritual after-school snack. Take advantage of your newfound freedom to regain control over your eating and form new, healthy habits.
2. Use the gym as procrastination.
We all do it, and as determined as you may be to start off your college career on the right foot, there’s a good chance you’re going to find yourself doing a lot of quality procrastinating this year. But instead of putting off your homework by watching Netflix – or worse yet, snacking – try making the gym your go-to for procrastinating. Not only will you be getting the obvious fitness benefits, but you’ll also be getting all the mental and emotional health boosts that come with a good workout.
Using your study break for exercise will actually clear your head and make it easier to focus when you get back to work – something you definitely won’t get laying in bed scrolling through Twitter. By using the gym as a form of procrastination, you get to indulge in a bad habit in an incredibly healthy and beneficial way – really the best of both worlds.
3. Don’t keep snacks in your room.
Even if you have iron will power, you will eat more if you have snacks in your room than if you don’t, end of story. Believe it or not, we don’t need snacks to live, and even the strongest-willed among us can easily fall victim to boredom snacking if food is readily available.
If you really want a snack, you can always take a walk to Cro or any of Conn’s numerous cafes. If money’s an issue, Harris also has plenty of grab and go options available for snacking, from bagels and cookies to pretzels and popcorn. Bottom line, if you really want a snack, you can easily get one on campus, and not keeping extra snacking food in your room will ensure that you only seek out those snacks when you’re truly hungry, not just when you’re bored.
4. The salad bar is never crowded.
When you first walk into the dining hall, the first thing you see is the salad bar. Whether intentional or not, we should thank Conn for this layout that could literally save you hundreds of calories a day. Honestly, getting a salad is just more convenient in the dining hall environment than wandering through the dinnertime crowd and waiting in a long line for chicken tenders and mac and cheese. By walking into Harris and going no further than the salad bar, you’ll save yourself time, frustration, and calories.
5. The Golden Rule: Don’t Go to Cro Drunk.
Alcohol is another widely implicated suspect on the freshman fifteen wall of shame. However, if anything, alcohol is really more of the accomplice in this situation. If you’ve upped your alcohol intake in college as well as the number on your scale, there’s a good chance this correlation has less to do with the alcohol itself and more to do with lowered inhibitions. Yep, the same ones that made you text your ex-boyfriend are probably also encouraging you to pig out on greasy food that your daytime self would usually avoid.
Going to Cro – the land of curly fries, fried mac and cheese bites, and pizza as far as the eye can see – is a Conn necessity, especially as a post-party outing. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this experience, but showing up with inhibitions on the downswing will almost definitely lead to hundreds of extra calories. Try making a post-party Cro plan before you start drinking, so that drunk you is more likely to pick up a small bag of popcorn rather than three plates of fries. If this isn’t possible, try limiting your vodka-soaked Cro trips to only one or two weekends a month.
The Freshman Fifteen is not mandatory. In fact, it’s not even difficult to avoid. As long as you’re aware of your own personal fitness needs – and weaknesses – maintaining a healthy weight at college is no more difficult than it is at home. In fact, it may even be easier.