How To Lose The Freshman 15

I’ve always been a little on the heavier side, so when I entered my freshman year of college I had tons of plans to keep myself from gaining the Freshman 15. But, as many college students have experienced; studying, snacking, and procrastinating got in my way. I ended up gaining the Freshman 40.  Here are 10 pieces of advice on how to lose the freshman 15 (or whatever number it may be), and help you look, and feel, your best!


After about a year of yo-yo dieting and trying what felt like everything there was to try, I have finally fallen into a plan that works for me. I am very proud to say I am about 14.5 pounds down. Although I still have quite a way to go, I am confident that I am going in the right direction. The key to losing the weight is focusing on how you feel, not about what the scale says.

1. Prepare easy, healthy snacks ahead of time to combat unhealthy convenience foods.

Things that I love to have on hand are hard-boiled eggs, as well as pre-chopped cucumbers and carrots. Also take advantage of nature’s naturally prepared snacks, like bananas and clementines!

2. Have many different options for exercise so you don’t get bored.

Sometimes the gym gets boring, but having 30 minutes of activity per day is essential to seeing results. Keep your workouts light and fun if that is what appeals to you! My personal favorites are a friendly competition (or solo play!) of “Just Dance” or taking long walks with friends. I also keep a few workout DVDs on hand in case I need to switch things up!

3. Don’t give up if you have a bad day.

Everyone has their good and bad days; even if you miss a week of working out or, binge-eat an entire pizza in one sitting, you can get back on track. Put your mind back on your goals and pretend it didn’t happen. This might be the most important tip on how to lose the freshman 15: Don’t give up – you can do this!

4. Don’t deprive yourself.

If you’re wondering how to lose the freshman 15 while not giving up on the things you love, or if it’s even possible – believe me, it is! Yes, you can still eat pizza and lose weight. If you want a cookie, have a cookie. Just don’t have a whole sleeve of Oreos. And if you do, see Rule #3!

5. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal, and eat them first.

I have found that whether I am eating out with friends, in the cafeteria, or making my own meals at home, I feel much better if I have a side of fruit or vegetables. For example, when I am out with friends and I want a burger, I still get the burger, but instead of heavy, greasy fries I choose the lighter, healthier option of fruit or dippable veggies. I also eat them before the burger so I feel fuller, faster! I usually am too full to eat the entire burger by the end and wrap up half to take home.

6. Make your rewards for reaching goals something other than food.

Personal rewards that I use are: Buying a magazine at the store, getting new gym clothes, taking an extra rest day, and indulging in a long, warm bath. I find that when my rewards are not food related, I’m more likely to stay on track and feel better about myself.

7. Plan your meals ahead of time.

College life can get busy. Can’t seem to figure out how to lose the freshman 15 while simultaneously balancing classes, jobs, clubs, etc? The key is planning ahead (trust me, I have 3 part time jobs)! When I have my meals planned out, I am less likely to get fast food or stop by the vending machine for snacks. I bring my own snacks to classes and I am fortunate that my school posts menus online so I know what I am going to eat at the cafeteria before I walk in!

8. Log your meals and workouts in a journal.

I know this gets said a lot, but it truly is beneficial! When I write down my activities/food, I am more conscious about what I am doing to/putting in my body. I also find it helpful to write about how it makes me feel! When I am planning my workouts, I go back and read how past workouts felt, and it helps me choose ones that I know will be the most beneficial to me. This also (mostly) keeps me from binging on foods that I know I shouldn’t eat. This is an important step in how to lose the freshman 15.

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9. Surround yourself with supportive and loving people.

Only share your goals with people who will support you. The kinds of people who will come over to cook a healthy dinner with you instead of going out every night will be the friends that you want to keep around. You’ll also want them to be the people who won’t judge you for wanting to order a pizza when you’ve just taken a rough exam. Sometimes, pizza is required.

And lastly, what I feel to be the most important piece of advice on how to lose the freshman 15…

10. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s.

Everybody is different. You may lose weight slower or faster than a friend who is also working on getting healthier. When you do lose the weight, your body may look different than the fitness model or celebrity that you are obsessed with. Your goal should not be to look like someone else, it should be to look and feel like your best self.


Ultimately, no matter what stage you are at, you will always be wonderful and beautiful. The number on the scale will never change that. It does not define you!!

Any other tips on how to lose the freshman 15? SHARE in the comments below!

Featured image source: bleedthefreak4.
Lindsey Donaldson

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