Avoid the freshman 15 with these tips

Avoid the freshman 15 with these tips
Photo Credit: Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff

Freshman entering college have probably already heard a precautionary warning from their parents: Don’t gain the Freshman 15.

According to a study published in Social Science Quarterly, freshmen gain only 2.5-3.5 pounds during their first year of college.

Is the Freshman 15 a myth? Maybe. However, gaining two to three pounds can easily grow into a couple more if you don’t take precautionary health steps.

The best advice is to eat right and exercise, but here are a few helpful hints on how to avoid gaining the Freshman 15:

Don’t Stress Eat

“Stress, anxiety and homesickness can all lead to overeating,” warns registered dietitian nutritionist Kristi King, spokeswoman with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Before snacking, make sure to ask yourself why you’re eating. Instead of snacking, make sure to take a study break at the gym or chat with friends. Don’t associate food as a reward for hard work.

Smart Snacks

A lot of college students claim they get the munchies at ungodly hours of the night. Their cravings ultimately lead to midnight snack runs to greasy fast food restaurants.

Instead of joining in on the high cholesterol escapade, stock your dorm refrigerator with healthy snacks to avoid being tempted.

Eat Breakfast

“Breakfast wakes up the metabolism and provides energy to the brain and muscles for the day’s activities,” says King. “People who eat breakfast tend to eat less throughout the day.”

For breakfast, make sure to eat some carbohydrates along with some protein. A hard-boiled egg along with a piece of toast will do the trick.

Cafeteria Catastrophes

Although the cafeteria is full of tempting high-calorie foods, there are some healthy options to consider. Opt for foods that are baked, broiled, steamed, roasted or grilled instead of that fried southern food.

In order to avoid getting bored with eating veggies, try adding some pepper or hot sauce on vegetables. Another trick is to drink some water between bites of food. This will help fill your stomach more quickly.

Go to the Gym

Regular exercise helps keep weight in control and gives you an extra endorphin boost that improves your mood and controls stress.

The hike up the stairs to Mercer’s University Center is a great pre-workout in itself. The university fitness center is fully equipped with weights, cardio equipment, and an inside track.

Before entering into the first week of school, establish a gym schedule that is flexible and attainable.

Get a Workout Buddy

According to a study done by the Stanford University of Medicine, 80 percent of people who try to lose weight tend to stick to their routine when they exercise with a friend rather than trying it alone.

Also, a study done by the University of Pittsburg showed that women were more likely to lose a third more weight than those who exercised alone.

It’s important to have a support system and someone who will hold you accountable for mistakes. Try to find a friend who makes working out and staying healthy a priority and make a gym schedule together.