Stop the Freshman Fifteen

Keep Off The Weight During College: Stop the Freshman Fifteen

Table of Contents

Photo By: Southern Arkansas University/ CC BY

Ever heard of the Freshman Fifteen? If you’re a college student or an incoming freshman, it’s hard not to! Most young girls switch to adult metabolic rates at the time of starting college. This can translate into the Freshmen 15 or the fifteen-pound weight gain which can be a health risk. But if women exercise enough, by their senior years, they can reach the weight they were when they started college. Men mature later, weighing more at graduation. The 15 pound gain is just an average. The actual weight gain may be more around 10 pounds. But some people reach a heavier weight and some don’t gain weight at all. Getting into a healthy eating and exercise mode can solve the problem considerably. But, bodily transitions, schedules that are extensive and the sudden independence to eat and drink what one feels like can be a counterweight, tipping the scale in the favor of the freshman 15.

Freshman 15 refers to the fifteen pounds that lots of freshmen gain during college in the first year. While the percentage of weight gain is not always around 15, it’s significant enough for the term to stick around.

But it is important to note specific weight gain is not common for each college freshman. While some freshmen gain more weight, others gain less and some gain no weight. There have been cases of college students even losing pounds when leaving for college. But this commonplace enough experience is well documented among most freshmen and should be avoided. It is also something one must be aware of. So, what is the massive weight gain experienced by college students? How can it be easily avoided?

To understand this, we must first work on understanding why Freshman 15 is a reality for many college students.

#1 No More Parental Control

For many, college is the freedom to eat. When you live with your parents and attend high school, meal plans are already decided by your parents. When what and the amount you eat is already decided in the house. In college, the very opposite happens. Unlimited food options and limited cooking expertise means many college freshmen may end up snacking on soft drinks, pizza, fast food, and chips.

What makes it worse is the lack of regularity with which a meal is consumed. Additionally, several more weeks of this exacerbate rapid weight gain.

#2 Eating & Studying: A Tempting Combination

New college students also end up studying less under the teacher’s supervision and more on their own. This is the time they mindlessly snack on junk foods without any control. If students end up doing this, it’s high time they made an attempt to stop and think about what is really being done: consuming massive amounts of junk, processed or unhealthy food, especially at times when one is not normally hungry, and not burning it off is not a healthy thing to do.

#3 Eating Late in the Night

Closely linked to the eating-while-studying process a habit of eating late at night. This is a real problem for many freshmen. Staying up late to study, it’s common to suffer hunger pangs. The main issue with late-night eating remains the lack of waking hours beyond it. So the food ends up being stored in the form of fat instead of burnt off as calories.

Convenient late-night foods include fast food. Such junk food is easily accessible nearly any point in the day. If you have a problem cooking meals or rustling up healthy snacks, deep-fried nuggets, fries, and chicken can end up being your staple diet. Check the nutritional information labels on these foods and you’ll get to know just how unhealthy chips, soft drinks, and fried foods can be.

#4 Emotional, Impulsive or Stress Eating

Life at college is replete with many challenges and changes. This includes feeling homesick, tackling academic classes and building new relationships. Most individuals combat emotional stresses through emotional or impulsive eating in times of mental stress.

If you’re eating despite being full or trying to fill empty voids with snacks, it’s time to stop and learn more about how you can avert emotional eating.

#5 Drinking Alcoholic Beverages

It’s a known fact that freshmen tend to drink. The result? You are even more prone to the freshman fifteen. Alcoholic drinks are rich in calorific value. Additionally, they deteriorate muscular tissue which lowers overall metabolic rates. Stay away from binge drinking, if you want to lower increase your metabolism and boost the rate at which the body burns fat.

#6 Lack of Adequate Exercise

Trekking from one class to another is a heavy workout. But it does not ensure people remain trim. In fact, college students are so caught up meeting their study commitments, that it is common to not find time for exercise. The consequences of these can be weight gain and obesity, another trigger for the freshman 15.

#7 Increase in Age

During middle and high school years, staying active and growing quickly is common. College years are when age really hits you. Generally, lifestyle habits change even as physical growth is complete/ This can exacerbate weight gain, leading to many putting on weight for the first time in their lives. Maintaining a healthy adult body for years ahead can be hard as a result of this.

Is This a Diet Myth?

First-year weight gain is not a diet myth. Recent studies find many first-year students or freshman gain weight. But it’s not absolutely essential for the weight gain to necessarily be 15 pounds or even in the freshman year. However, doctors feel students who pile on pounds in the first year itself, can establish a weight gain pattern that continues through life and leads to conditions like diabetes.

Studies also show getting adequate exercise, practicing portion control and maintaining healthy eating habits are some ways to ward off freshman 15. Other ways include practicing meditation techniques to lower anxiety and stress.

Research shows students gain anywhere from 3 to 10 pounds during the first couple of years in college. Most weight gain takes place during the freshman year.

Many temptations abound at college. You are not only free to eat what you wish but when you want to gorge as well. Piling on pounds in the dining hall or cafeteria, eating dinners of ice cream and french fries or indulging in sugar-filled, sodium-rich snacks becomes a cause for weight gain, as exercise suffers.

College heralds big change. Anxiety, sadness, stress, peer pressure or feeling homesick can trigger emotional eating and lead to the freshman 15 phenomenon.

While some increase in weight is natural, as the teen body grows and the metabolic rate shifts, rapid or pronounced weight gain can be an issue. Weight gain carries its own share of health risks and pushes your body to obesity. Most individuals with huge weight problems suffer from medical conditions like high BP, high cholesterol, joint ache, and breathlessness.

People who are obese when younger have more chances of being overweight when they become adults. Poor exercise and dietary habits in college can push you down the path that further leads to heart disease, obesity or type 2 diabetes, and even triggers chronic cancers of certain types.
Despite the weight gain, unhealthy or unwanted food choices lead to a lack of a properly balanced diet with enough nutrients your body needs. Bingeing on junk foods causes energy lags and memory and concentration issues. Studies further show students often get less than five servings of veggies and fruits each day, way below the recommended daily requirement.

For those gaining weight, it’s high time they looked at exercise and dietary habits and made adjustments. In one study where freshmen gained four pounds in over 12 weeks, students were only consuming an average of 174 additional calories per day. Small steps like cutting down on midnight snacks or soda and being active and alert can help you. These approaches don’t keep weight off in the long run. Make small adjustments to the diet that you can adhere to, to begin with.

Avoiding the Freshman 15

The key to beating weight gain is preventing it. Good diet principles, balanced diets, consistent exercise, and adequate sleep are the key to preventing pounds from piling on. They also help in staying healthy and avoiding problems further down the line. Such simple practices can impact immediately and within the years.

Following Dietary Habits

It is important to take a sound approach to eat. Some easy ways to adopt healthy food attitudes range across the following.

• Opt for a sound approach to eating.
• Avoid eating when stressed
• Eat at a slow pace.
• Eat regularly.
• Don’t skip meals
• Don’t snack between meals or late at night.
• Opt for nutritious foods. Pick low-fat options like toned or low skim milk and light salads instead of full-fat dairy or salad dressing.
• Watch your portion size.
• Don’t opt for additional servings
• Don’t choose fast foods or junk foods from vending machines.
• Keep healthy snacks at hand.
• Choose water or skim milk over liquid calories in soft drinks.

Be clear about your approach towards foods. If you find yourself obsessed with food or weight or feel guilty about your dietary habits, approach the student health center or counselor immediately.

Most schools come equipped with diet and nutrition counselors and medical centers. Talk to the health services staff regarding your eating and exercise patterns, if you find you need help.

Are Lifestyle Changes Essential?

Even making lifestyle changes can help individuals to manage weight. Keep an eye on alcohol consumption, to start with. Excess drinking leads to weight gain and beer bellies besides other health problems. Another culprit is smoking. While cigarettes can suppress appetite, smoking can make everyday exercise and normal activities hard to do.

There are also higher chances of heart, lung and cancer diseases associated with weight gain.

Quitting such unhealthy habits builds e more energy, therefore making it essential to combat extra pounds by exercising regularly Weight gain is just one negative factor that can be removed among many if you stop drinking and smoking. Student health and smoking-cessation programs at school can be a good choice.

Getting adequate exercise is equally critical. Research studies show students exercising a minimum of 3 times in a week report better health, greater happiness and even better grades than those not exercising. Those following a regular exercise regimen also use time more productively.

Exercise offers a lot of benefits. The first and most important fact is that you need to undertake 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in a single day like jogging, walking, swimming or working out at a gym. Hiking or biking trails or martial arts classes can also help. Attending these workout sessions regularly can be motivating when it comes to adhering to fitness goals.

If one does not prefer organized types of exercise, try working the exercise into your daily routine, by taking the stairs in the campus whenever you can. Take out time to move, stretch and be aware and active. This can yield a lot of benefits for those plagued by a sedentary lifestyle on campus.

Another point is that one needs to get enough sleep. Maintaining a healthy weight is easy when you cope with stress by resting, rather than gorging on calorie-rich foods. Make it a priority to sleep for 7-8 hours each night.

To get the most out of sleep, here are the key tips you should follow:
• Adhere to a regular sleeping schedule.
• Get up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
• Don’t nap excessively.
• Avoid caffeine during the evening.
• Don’t exercise, listen to loud music or watch television before bed.

Gaining weight during college is not a disaster if you know how to manage your daily routine to stave off the weight. The trick is to stay physically and mentally fit.

While navigation of college life can be a bit tough, with new friends, classes and another living environment, this does not mean it’s time to let loose and eat junk foods. Eating healthy means avoiding temptations.

To avoid freshman 15, be clear about the goals and objectives your fitness schedule seeks to meet. Stock your dorm shelves with snacks that are healthy. Additionally, find an exercise schedule that adjusts to your needs. Keep pounds at bay by eating healthy in the dining hall and making the right choice when it comes to exercise, sleep and regulating your life.

Adjusting to a change in campus life from home is a considerable transition. Students are faced with new conditions and challenges, which impact stress and increasing body weight. Even a small amount of weight gain of around 5 pounds per each of school adds up by the time you graduate. Studies show most freshman gain around 5 pounds.

How to Stock Your Dorm Room

The paucity of cooking skills and lack of cooking resources can often prevent students from preparing healthy meals. Few small and portable appliances and healthy grocery staples add value when it comes to meeting nutrition goals. Microwaves, toaster ovens and a mini-fridge can be the key to create quick, yet healthy snacks and meals.

Dorm-Friendly Grocery

Stock up on the following dry goods:

  • • nuts, trail mix, seeds
    • nut butter
    • low sugar granola and cereal
    • Tuna
    • Whole grain bread or tortillas
    • Low sodium chips
    • High protein & low sugar snacks and bars
    • Low-fat popcorn
    • No sugar, instant oatmeal.
  • Here’s a list of refrigerated goods you must stock:
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • String cheese
  • Deli turkey
  • Hummus
  • Greek yogurt
  • Water bottles
  • Skim milk
  • Fresh fruit
  • Baby carrots and other veggies.

For the freezer, have whole wheat waffles and frozen microwave veggies ready.

College dining halls also offer healthier options.
• It’s important to select a small plate and make a proper rule regarding plate division. Half the plate should comprise fruit or non-starchy veggies. A quarter should be of protein-high foods and 1/4th of the plate should comprise starchy veggies or whole grain like brown rice.
• Choose high-fiber cereals for breakfast. This includes whole grain bread, poached eggs, fruit, and non-fat milk or yogurt.
• Start a salad regime by opting for spinach, lettuce or kale with low-calorie foods that are nutrient rich like corn, low-fat cheese, beans, and veggies. The creamy dressing should be
• Do be alert about high-fat items used in descriptors – this includes items buttered in butter sauce, fried, crispy creamed in cream sauce, in the gravy au gratin or hollandaise or even cheese sauces, oil marination or scalloped casserole.

Choosing healthier foods is essential. To ensure this, opt for garden fresh, steamed, roasted, poached and broiled items.

Be Watchful on Social Outings

Social events like frat parties and outings can quickly become a calorie fest. But it is important to remember alcohol consumption harms health and leads to increased weight gain. Junk food items like sodas, donuts, pizzas, and chips are convenient and cheap, but cost a lot when it comes to your health.

For those requiring a certain jolt of energy post a long evening, calories dumped in coffee should be watched out for. Full-fat milk, sugar, syrups, and whipped creams can add to the calories remarkably fast.

Lower Stress

Making the adjustment to form life, the pressure of grades and challenges of fitting in can trigger stress for students. Most freshers turn to alcohol and food to soothe the stressed mind, leading to bad habits which last for life. Students should be ever ready to ace college life stresses and find ways to detox.

Another positive step forward is exercise, as it keeps the brain stimulated and the body energized through the release of endorphins. Before presentation or tests, exercise can jog the brain and boost memory and concentration. College campuses have gyms here as well, so students can be fit and socialize in a good environment.

Finally, sleeping well at night is crucial. There is a close link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Lack of sleep robs energy levels, leads to irritability and results in sleeping off during class.

For many years, incoming college students have heard about freshman 15, but it’s actually more like freshman 5. Studies reveal typical weight gain is 4-10 pounds during the freshman years. Several studies have looked at weight gain in college freshmen.

An Auburn University study found only 5% of freshers gained 15 pounds during their first year of study at college. A Journal of American Dietetic Association research study found average female freshman gains 5 pounds in the first year. Further, a study from Utah State University found 25% of freshmen both women and men gained 10 pounds on average at the time of the first semester. A study by Rutgers University found one-third of students in a study gained 7 pounds on average from consuming over 112 calories per day.

A Utah State University study found 25% of freshmen both women and men gained 10 pounds on average during the first semester. Research by Cornell University further found freshmen gained 4.2 pounds on average in the first 12 weeks of school.

Even 4 additional pounds can be a burden, as weight gain can stick around for the entire college years or even beyond.

Researchers have also found that transitioning to college life is a massive change. Freedom from parental supervision leads to bad choices in everything from study to food, sleep, and socializing habits, many times. The ready presence of unhealthy food is likely to contribute to weight gain in college students, according to researchers.

Research points out that decreasing physical activity, skipping breakfast, overdoing dining, and engaging in stress-induced eating as well as pizza and other late night refreshments can cause students to pile on the pounds.

Other unhealthy food choices include social drinking which is excessive. Further, research has found students are prone to take high-calorie liquids and there’s lack of control over how food is prepared or culinary choices. An excessively high calorie is the result of eating larger portions. Additionally, students get too little sleep.

The Freshman 15 is a real threat. It is present for college students entering academic life, and even a weight gain of 5 pounds during this period could be associated with a health disaster.

There are several issues associated with freshmen weight gain. One major problem is eating late at night. Then, there’s also the likelihood of eating unhealthy cafeteria food. Keeping unhealthy snacks and food in the dorm room is another no-no. Drinking too much soda or alcohol, resorting to energy drinks or even food coupons, deals and discounts can impact health negatively.

There’s also a problem of fast food delivery to dorm rooms or an issue of skipping meals. Then, there’s a lack of exercise and poor education or nutritional skills also at the bottom of this health crisis. Poor sleep habits and sleep deprivation are other issues. Students need to understand that the body needs to be nutritionally healthy and for this, they need to make healthy food choices.

For those heading out to college, the experience is one characterized by new beginnings and transition where the break from familial routines leads to independence.
Further, parents and elders need to provide guidance and limitations on lifestyle choices. The focus is on doing what one wants when one wants and this includes eating and drinking. While certain students stock up on veggies and fruits, a vast majority do not pay attention to what the body needs. This includes student-athletes. Even when individuals are trying to eat healthily, they are not educated about nutrition to see factors like hidden fats, sugars, additives and ingredients that bring about weight gain and additional health issues.

According to researchers and experts at the University of New Hampshire, students remain an understudied population. They are hard to reach so understanding the nature of obesity and weight gain can be really hard. Interest has risen and studies have yielded important information.

Cornell University research which studied eating, exercise and sleeping habits of college freshmen in the first 12 weeks found the students gained 158 grams or 5.5 ounces per week. This is around 174 calories more than the energy expended. The amount represents a small change in behavior but has enormous consequences for weight.

While Freshman 15 is around 5-7 pounds of weight gain, it is followed by a further weight gain or 2-3 pounds in the sophomore years. Additionally, there’s no chance of losing the weight in the second year or later.

The number of pounds gained is less than that widely believed, but the focus of studies on this generation of students is that learning patterns of gradual weight gain can spell trouble beyond graduation. National Institutes of Health report that conservative estimates of obesity in students aged 18 to 29 are 19.1%. A Mayo Clinic study further concluded that in 2004, the number of overweight kids aged 12 to 10 rose from 11 percent to 17 percent from 1994 to 2004. This means more overweight students are headed to college in modern times.

Impact of Obesity and Weight Gain: Social Factors

Students make poor diet and exercise choices. There’s no doubt about that. But in addition, they become heavier as a consequence of whom they choose to have as friends and how families behave.

A Harvard Medical School study which examined the longitudinal impact of obesity over 32 years found voluntary eating and exercise patterns are as important as social networks and appearance or behavior of those around as well. Weight gain in one individual can impact weight gain in others.
A person’s chance of being impacted by obesity has risen by 57 percent, especially when an individual has a friend impacted by obesity in a given period of time. Among adult siblings, if one sibling is impacted by obesity, others are affected by it as well to the tune of 40% higher chances of this. Individuals of the same sex have more influence on each other than the opposite sex.

Obesity spreads through familial and social ties as well. Social contact with obese individuals or unhealthy social eating patterns can impact a person’s chance of developing obesity. Studies show that for college students, food and movement behaviors, factors in the ecosystem and even friends and family can impact weight gain.

Research has found that traditional weight management plans fail because they target individuals with excess weight or obesity without consideration for the wider social network or surrounding group.

Strategies for dieting with friends is known to be a negative way out. This is because group boundaries can impact the possibility of weight loss. Research suggests effective long-term weight loss strategies should involve dieting with friends or families outside the known social network. As a college student adjusts to new social settings, it is essential to form a partnership with the health center counselors or healthier social groups for inducing weight loss.

The food chosen can impact memory, energy, and concentration. The brain and the body need to be well nourished to function effectively. Unlike adults, nutrition for students should consider the issues of physical development and growth. This is more so up to the age of 19 where peak bone mass takes place, setting the stage for stronger bones lifelong.

Students also tend to consume refined sugars, sodium, cholesterol, and unhealthy fats. College youngsters are more likely to eat food that tastes awesome, is easy to grab and simply a popular choice. These are foods that are convenience based. Consequently, these processed foods are lower in nutritional value and high in calories, sugar, fat or sodium/salt.

These foods offer nutrition, but not of the quality that leads to healthy outcomes.

When a body has to operate at peak levels, energy needs to be in place to repair oneself and compensate for any deficiency, rather than providing nutrients and energy so the brain and body operate in an effective way.

This minor increase in calories a student’s intake comprises can impact weight gain over the years. Sudden weight gain also sets the stage for chronic obesity-linked conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

If students with too much weight or excessive obesity continue down this road, they can expect more health problems later in life than their parents.
While obesity has been identified as a tough public health issue to eradicate, the research suggests harmful effects extend beyond physical health. As students pile on pounds, self-confidence drops and they become aware and self-conscious of weight they are putting on/ This takes away the focus and mental concentration needed to study and excel at college life.

This cycle of eating and depression is simply hard to manage. Combined with other social and environmental factors and lack of activity, it becomes clear that college weight gain can shoot out of control in just a few years.

Research by Cornell University in 2008 revealed 2/3rds of a study’s female college students reported a moderate concern about Freshman 15 which is connected to shape and weight concerns. A 2002 study further showed that women students worrying about freshman 15 had a negative body image and a greater chance of eating disorders.

Girls with obesity can also skip school, be prone to mental health issues and have negative self-images. Academic study is consequently negatively impacted because of this. How students perform academically impacts on how they react to others and fit in often. Thus, weight gain during the freshman years can impact obesity in distinct ways.

Whether you’re a college freshman, student, graduate student or parent of a student, some tips pertaining to school-related weight gain can be really beneficial. Valuing yourself to care about health and well-being can make you feel good. It can also make you stronger and healthier.

Here are the ways to stop this disastrous weight gain from marring your college years.

How To Give Freshman Fifteen a Miss

#1 Snack Regularly

Eating mini-meals or snacks after 3-4 hours can avoid you from going on a food binge. The big emphasis here is on small snacks. Don’t replace meals with several of the large amounts of snacks, if your aim is to lose weight or stay your trim, svelte self. Eating contributes to a rise in the BMR which is the number of calories being burnt when the body remains stable. The more snacks of small proportions are consumed at regular intervals, the more weight loss results as the BMR shoots up. Studies have found that participants who ate 17 small snacks over a period of 24 hours lowered insulin and cholesterol levels, lowering the chances of gaining weight.

#2 Don’t Ever Skip Breakfast

Students are often in a rush to get to classes. As a result, breakfast becomes the most neglected meal of the day. The American Society of Nutritional Sciences has found that breakfast calorie intake makes it possible to lower calorie consumption in toto. If the first meal of the day is skipped, it can lead to calorie fests later in the day.

#3 Stock Your Shelves With Health Food

Stocking up your dorm with fresh veggies and fruits, trail mixes, granola bars and so on will increase the chances of binging less on unhealthy foods. As against food in dorms, you can pack some snacks to eat on the move. This will save you from the junk food most college vending machines dispense.

#3 Alcohol Can be a Buzzkill. So Can Liquid Calories

Alcohol Can be a Buzzkill. So Can Liquid Calories
Photo By: George Mason University/ CC BY

Each beer mug averages a total of one hundred and fifty calories. Drink only 3-5 of these and you can imagine the calorie overload your body goes through. Add munching and late night binging, and there you have it– the freshman 15 becomes a reality for you. You need just 3,500 calories to gain one pound of fat. Don’t eat less and drink more because that will never work. Drinking on an empty stomach is dangerous and also leads to a fall in blood sugar, triggering hunger. This along with lower inhibitions can prove lethal when it comes to succumbing to fried, processed or junk foods. If you think drinking juice is healthy, this might give you some food for thought. Most juices are not 100% fruit and come heavily laden with sugar, the ideal recipe for weight gain. So don’t give in to sugary drinks and colas, because you will be paying with your health, and the price of overeating can be dangerous.

#4 Don’t Diet

Don’t Diet
Photo By: George Mason University/ CC BY

Dieting such as those based on fads like the lemonade diet or the sleeping beauty diet will cut down your calories, but also your nutrition. The body needs complex vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to function effectively. Depriving yourself of food at a time when your body needs it can have serious consequences for physical and mental health later in life, besides creating a problem when it comes to weight gain in Freshman years. Go to reputed sites for more on healthy eating, rather than thinking there is a magic bullet for your weight gain problems.

#5 Embrace Fitness

Embrace Fitness
Photo By: Gunnery Sgt Brian Tuthill/ CC BY

Most schools have sports clubs and varsity teams. If there is a sport you excel at or even like, why not join these? And you don’t even have to be a star athlete to succeed. All you have to do is engage in regular and disciplined exercise. Boosting metabolism is easy if you exercise hard and are fighting fit.

#6 Eat Right

This is another golden rule you need to follow. For larger meals, replace carbs with lean meats, nuts, fish and other forms of proteins. The body burns more calories when digesting protein. Moreover, protein is the basic building block for muscle repair and growth. Muscles consume energy and help you to tone your body and lose calories. The resting metabolism rises only if you eat correctly and exercise well.

#7 Hydrate Yourself

This is another important rule. Don’t give H20 a miss. Your body needs water to keep it running properly. Water is needed to process calories. Dehydration leads to a slowed metabolic rate. Eat fruits and veggies rich in water for the boost to your body. Carry a regular supply of water through classes to last you. Check if the metabolism can be boosted and prevent your body from over-eating by drinking enough water. If your body is dehydrated, it can interfere with the capacity of the brain to register satiation.

#8 Go For Pizza Only After the Salad

Don’t miss out on a delicious pizza or a tantalizing cheeseburger. But pair it with salads and veggies for the best results. Sharing your meals can also lead to smaller portions and cut down on weight gain.

#9 Build Muscle

Muscle weighs the same as fat but takes up less space. This means building muscles boosts the BMR. For each pound of muscle, burn around six calories a day by doing just about nothing. Burn two calories per day each day if you choose fat instead. So, by gaining fat, you trap yourself in a vicious cycle of weight gain, which is self-perpetuating.

#10 Get Regular Sleep

Massive workloads can keep you awake at night. But don’t be tempted to pull an all-nighter and show up for class the next day. Disrupted patterns of sleep can lead to weight gain. When you are exhausted, there is a greater chance of opting for unhealthy foods and sugary drinks. Sleep deprivation can damage your metabolism. Poor food choices will result and when you are lacking rest, ghrelin, a hormone which tells you to start eating malfunctions. Sleep loss also disrupts leptin, a hormone that tells you when to stop eating. Get 6-8 hours of sleep at least each night.

#11 Regulate Stress

Regulate Stress
Photo By: Better Works Break Room/ CC BY

Stress can be a silent killer. It can also lead to a piling up of the weight. Having a packed schedule and tons of work can start haunting you, destroy your peace of mind and lead to emotional or stress eating which can have serious consequences. Hormonal reaction to high stress means your body will register hunger pangs that are insatiable. Hormonal imbalances can also add to the weight gain and so, you need to eat slowly at meal times, avoid getting tense and certainly work on your stress reduction techniques to manage the source of your stress

#12 Don’t Skip Meals

Meals should not be skipped. The body needs to fuel the brain, immune system and every other organ to be a successful college student. Skipping meals prevents the body from garnering fuel to run an engine. The problem is that further, one may develop headaches, fatigue, lightheadedness and poor concentration. Instead, simple steps like packing a fruit, yogurt or granola bar can help.

#13 Don’t Skip Breakfast

Eating a great breakfast is equally crucial. Breakfast is an important meal as it breaks the fast and energizes the body. Studies and considerable research has shown skipping breakfast detracts from academic achievement. Packing a portable snack like fruits, bagel, yogurt or juices can be a great option. Additionally, one can skip fast food breakfast sandwiches. Carbs, fat or calories are not needed.

#14 Avoid Unhealthy Foods

Avoiding unhealthy cafeteria food is a good idea. This is harder to do as college cafeterias don’t offer too much in terms of healthy options. Combine foods from different sections of the cafeteria like grilled chicken with salad or veggies from a salad bar to a wrap or sandwich is a great idea.

#15 Avoid Late Night Snacks

Avoid eating snacks late at night. Arrange your schedule so you are not up late studying or doing homework. Make work a priority and focus on balancing relaxation with it. The more you get tired, the more you are likely to overeat. Heed your body signs and rest sufficiently.

#16 Don’t Opt for Cheap Junk Food

Giving in to cheap food offers is not a good idea. College campuses are littered with offers for pizzas and sandwiches. There’s a host of processed foods that can be delivered to the door. While the deals are great, giving in to temptation is not a good idea. If you need to eat junk food, choose with wisdom and try for nutritious deals.

Keeping unhealthy snacks in the room is also not a good idea. The campus is filled with good-tasting but unhealthy junk foods. You need to exercise care and caution when it comes to these factors.

Snacking while studying causes mindless eating. It can also promote overeating. Rather than snacking while studying or reading, work on small snacks at scheduled breaks. As blood sugar remains stable, the eyes and the brain will reward you and you’ll avoid 1000s of calories in a week.

#17 Check the Fluids

Staying hydrated and checking your fluid intake can also benefit in inducing weight loss. The body can take fluid in different forms, out of food. Staying hydrated the whole day is important but beware of empty liquid calories. Sodas, sports drinks, and juices are loaded with sugar, adding up to the pounds. If one drinks alcohol, bear in mind that it has zero nutritional value and lots of calories. Instead, choose water.

#18 Opt for Various Fruits and Veggies

Eating ice cream every day is not a good idea. Instead, balance your food by eating veggies and fruits. That way, you will balance your diet and get more nutrients.

#19 Watch the Portion Size

Supersizing your portions is not a good idea. Instead, eat only 250 grams of different types of foods like cereals or legumes. Learn how to engage in proper portion control and pare it down.

#20 Avoid Lingering

Remember that you can hang out with friends in the dining hall post a meal, but this can keep you munching on snacks. Rushing through the meal is something you should avoid. But do leave the cafeteria once you’re done. The more food is available and tempting, the more you will rationalize it.

#21 Limit Sugar and Fructose Corn Syrup

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup or HFCS are essentially two problem areas you need to watch out for. Despite what commercials say, sugar is not balanced in many products like BBQ sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, and even bread and yogurts. HFCS and sugar intake should be regulated. Excessively consuming these sugars can make you even hungrier.

#22 Watch Trans Fat Intake

Watch out for fat intake, especially trans fat. Learn the difference between bad and good fats. Saturated and trans fats are bad fats. Fried foods come with saturated or trans fat. Watching fat intake and asking questions regarding fat content is important. Limit this by totally eliminating fat. Fats need to be healthy so watch out for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

#23 Get Plenty of Quality Protein

Pile up on protein. This does not mean red meat or hamburgers, though. Try lean meats like fish, chicken, pork tenderloin, turkey, ham. Opt for vegan sources of protein like beans, dairy or eggs. Sliced sandwich meats are also a good idea. Watch the sodium content and HFCS.

#24 Stock Up on Fruits and Veggies

Eating fruits and veggies regularly is important. It helps in boosting health and well-being. Work for optimal food habits and good culinary philosophy. Don’t see foods as good or bad. No food is off limits. In moderation, portion control can be a really powerful tool for warding off weight gain

Every calorie or fat gram should not be monitored so intricately though. Instead, the focus should be on keeping the diet varied and balanced.

#25 Walk to Events and Classes

Walk at least part of the way, if not all, when classes are really far off. Or walk and take the bus back. Try to go for a minimum of 5,000 steps in a single day. 10,000 steps are even better. Take a pedometer to work in additional steps.

#26 Avoid Sleep Deprivation

Avoid late nights and get plenty of sleep. Studies show sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality are critical factors in weight gain. Watch out and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Even opt for short naps, if the need be.

#27 Benefit from Exercise Facilities

Colleges and universities have many exercise facilities. It should be easier to work out with your social buddies and try the gym, pool, tennis court, track, and other facilities. Think of exercise as a movement. Enjoy dancing, fitness or playing basketball.

#28 Learn About Nutrition

It is important to stay informed about the nutritional value of fruits and veggies you eat. Certain universities have diet specialists at their health centers. Staff and health care professionals here can assign you healthier meal plans or nutrition courses.

#29 Track Your Calories

Some dining halls and university cafeterias post the calorific value of foods. This can help you to make the right food choices. To regulate your appetite, start with a salad or broth-based veggie soup. Always follow healthy food management methods. Fill your plate with veggies and fruits, a quarter with lean meat, plant protein or fish. The last quarter should include whole grains.

Besides each plate, include low-fat or fat-free dairy or milk alternatives. What is equally important is to skip desserts and sweet treats and stock your dorm with healthy foods and zero calorie beverages.

#30 Don’t Eat Alone

Social lives can play a major role in college experiences. Social interactions should be enhanced while sharing food can be good for weight loss. It costs less when you split food and it’s also a healthier option. Isolation leads to disordered eating.

#31 Build adequate muscle.

Muscles weigh around the same as fat; the only difference is that they just take up less space in the human body. Around one pound of muscle weighs exactly the same as a pound of fat, but that muscle takes up less room in the body than fat

Building enough muscle also boosts the basal metabolic rate/ BMR. For one pound of muscle, six calories are burnt by simply remaining immobile, as per WebMD. If it were one pound of fat, only 2 calories per day would be burnt.

#32 Get enough beauty rest.

The extensive load of school work and late nights can easily lead to fewer amounts of sleep by as much as 50%. Disrupted sleep patterns can put individuals in a vicious cycle of weight gain.

When one is tired, comfort snacks and sugary drinks are a common choice. , One cannot exercise when tired. What makes it worse is that sleep deprivation disrupts the metabolic rate preventing it from functioning well Lack of correct food choices and not enough exercise can hamper sleep patterns.

Hormones impact the body when it comes to sleep and freshman 15. When sleep deprived, there is an imbalance between leptin and ghrelin, causing humans to eat more. When you are sleep deprived, ghrelin levels are high. These are the go hormone which tells individuals what to eat. Leptin, on the other hand, is satiety inducing hormone that signals when it’s time to stop eating. When sleep deprived, you have less leptin. Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep to avert this condition.

#33 Aim for Sound Sleep

Getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep is absolutely essential. Try not to sleep or nap excessively. As per WebMD, studies show individuals sleeping for 9 to 10 hours each day were 21% likelier to be obese as against those who slept for 7 to 8 hours, as per a six-year long longitudinal study.

#34 Don’t Be Hyperactive At Night

Avoid exercise or even activities like watching television, listening to loud music or watching phones or laptop screens before bed. The screen light mimics daylight and convinces the brain it’s actually not the night. It blocks the production of neurotransmitter melatonin which helps in sleeping.

#35 Manage the Stress

When you move into college dorms and face coursework and a grueling schedule, stress is inevitable. Stress has a negative impact on health, physically and mentally. Chronic stress blocks weight loss even if individuals eat well and exercise.

Because of deep stress, the body releases the hormone cortisol which makes individuals feel hungry.
Rather than opting for veggies, the tendency is to veer towards fat-rich foods which cause addiction. The same hormone that stimulates the appetite, cortisol, also promotes fat deposits in the human body.

#36 Aim For Moderation

For avoiding dangerous binge eating and cutting down on cravings, maintain a balanced diet. Don’t swing by that fast food restaurant. Avoid the last cookie. Most fad diets avoid bad foods. But you often lack the will power to resist pie or a burger. Many sources like the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics encourage individuals to not eliminate any foods from the diet. By decreasing portion size, calories and stress can be cut into half.

While giving in to cravings once in a while is okay, try going for a cube of chocolate instead of the entire pack.

#37 Eat Slowly

If one consumes a meal or snack in less or no time, one can head back into the kitchen. The reason for this is simple. It takes 20 minutes for the body to realize it has is full. The mind registers satiety only after a period of time.

A Journal of American Dietetic Association study found those who consume food slowly have fewer calories and take in more water.

Rescheduling the meal around 20 to 30 minutes or letting your hands move slowly can be a good option. For those eating out, divide food and practice portion control after the time has passed from the first portion.

#38 Be Active

Instead of resorting to buses, try walking or biking. Don’t opt for the car. Even if you take the bus, get off earlier and walk the remainder of the way.
Unless an apartment is a skyscraper, ditching the elevator and taking the stairs is essential. Do this after a trip to the mall or a store. Make tasks like watching television into calorie burners. When the commercials come in especially in sets, do push ups, sit ups or try a yoga pose. ‘

#39 Use Health Facilities at Campus Gyms

Get the best value for money and make it a goal to use the campus gym once in a week. Pick up games of basketball or volleyball or handball. Check into fitness schedules at the gym. Try every aspect from cardio kickboxing to yoga. You’ll be able to fit this in. Schools have biking, rock climbing, hiking, trekking or even kayaking programs. Relieve the stress and burn enough calories by engaging in these community sports activities at the college fitness center.

#40 Get Credits for Health Activities

Many colleges and universities offer majors like sports science or public health. These majors offer few activity classes focused on nutrition as well. Nonmajors can even take these courses for credits.

The next time registration comes, look for the classes the school has on offer and get the right credit for being healthy. Ask students in these majors about which classes are best and easily available.

#41 Study Your Dining Options

Navigating school cafeterias is an art. Look for whole grain pasta and fresh veggies. Take up condiments like beans, cheese, and nuts to make your meal nutritious and balanced.
Don’t be afraid to speak up whenever the meal is made. Dining hall menus do not come with the healthiest options. Be clear about how you need to stay healthy and ask for extra vegetables if you have to. Mix upside options and achieve the right balance of protein, fruits, and vegetables.
It makes sense to walk through the dining hall and eat nutritious meals based on informed decisions. Eating can get boring really fast. Try picking small things from different stations.

#42 Don’t Multitask While Eating

Don’t attempt to eat while studying or watching TV. Not paying attention to what you eat can make you likelier to overeat. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition research studied how concentration and memory impact food. Distracted eaters tend to consume more and eat more later on.

#43 Engage your Mind

Mindless eating is detrimental to health. Be mindful about your meals. Remember that many freshmen are living away from homes and this stirs up unpredictable emotions. Grades, social and romantic life can take its toll during young college years. Emotion, much like stress, can impact weight gain.

Be clear about stopping to think before eating, as being bored, anxious, homesick or sad can be a real problem. Moreover, if you’re headed to the dining hall, and hang out there, be wary of chomping on burgers and fries. Instead, stick to a banana or a piece of fruit.

#44 Find Out What you Eat

Chicken teriyaki or roasted chicken? Whichever method the food is being prepared, you need to have clarity about the oil used, the calorie count and the side dishes.
That’s why health-conscious students are working on studying nutritional information and details available online before opting for the campus dining hall. Save yourself from negative health outcomes like obesity by checking out the nutritional value of the food.

#45 Drink Green Tea

Herbal teas like green or oolong can burn the fat off and boost the metabolic rate for some hours. 2-4 cups of the stuff burn the body’s calories to the tune of more than 17% during exercise. Research indicates exercise paired with green tea leads to 2x times the weight loss.

#46 Don’t Drink Empty Calories

Soda, diet soda, juices, alcohol – all of these do nothing for weight loss. Many individuals don’t see the bottle as an option but as a necessity. Don’t succumb to addiction. Always stick to light drinks and soft drinks.

#47 Check into the Health and Wellness Center

Within most schools, there are nutritional or wellness centers where trained health professionals can help in making the right choice for diet and exercise. It also serves as an opportunity to socialize with healthy peers.

#48 Avoid Studying with Snacks

If studying at night is the reason for late night snacks, don’t stay in your dorm room while studying. Go to the campus library instead, where eating is simply not allowed. Healthy breakfasts are absolutely essential. Eating a salad or soup before dinner or lunch cuts down on calories consumed.

#49 Avoid Oversized Portions

Even a 25 ounce can of soda contains up to 250 calories. There are many high-calorie food items and oversized portions in the dining hall. Best options include foods that are grilled, roasted, steamed, baked or broiled. Steer clear of oily, creamy, buttered or fried foods.

Salad bars are another great option. Oil and vinegar mix is a wonderful fressing option, but do avoid high calorie add ons like bacon and croutons.

Gaining a pound or more is no reason to succumb to eating disorders. Remember that a healthy body is more important than ever. Looking like a fashion model is not!!

Students need to be careful they are not falling into traps while losing weight. Avoid skipping meals, eating in front of others, exercising obsessively, or resorting to fat cutter or fat burner diet pills.

Conclusion

Other important aspects of keeping off weight gain include avoiding peer pressure, watching what you eat, weighing yourself regularly and being conscious about how to eat right and following a disciplined regimen. While everyone wants to live it up in college, it’s certainly no fun being obese! A host of medical conditions is associated with Freshman 15 and weight gain that is unhealthy and takes you beyond your ideal range. Don’t let weight gain be a reason for self-destruction. Opt for sensible eating and sleeping habits and regulate yourself in a balanced way, so that you don’t fall prey to Freshman 15 and the serious consequences associated with it.

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