Off The Freshman 15
by Erin Johnson Slippery Rock
University Freshman - Special for eDietsFrom
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
NOTE: The dreaded Freshman 15 isn't merely an old wife's tale. Studies
show the average weight gain for a college freshman is almost 11 times more
than 17- and 18-year-olds should normally gain. The first-year students eat an
estimated 174 more calories than they burn in a day's time. The main culprit:
the all-you-can-eat campus dining halls.
When you signed the endless forms needed to
enroll in college, you might not have realized you were signing up for an extra
15 pounds! But packing on the infamous Freshman 15 is all too common.
Almost every undergrad will struggle with
his or her weight. It seems to be as much a part of student life as studying
As if the first-year student doesnt
have enough to worry about. But never fear. There is a way to enjoy dining hall
buffets, late night munchies and even the ever-present alcoholic beverages
without sacrificing your slim high school figure!
Before I start dishing out the lessons I've
learned here at Slippery Rock, let me share what a few other freshman are
blaming for their weight gain.
Kat Laskowski of the University of Central
Florida says, The late night parties are killer -- most of the drinks are
high in calories. Plus I eat a lot more when Im drinking."
Michelle McClellan of Slippery Rock
University admits, I feel the biggest factor is not having motivation to
work out or do anything in an athletic manner. It is too easy to sit at your
computer and go online all evening, or just sit and watch TV or a movie. All
the junk food and soda we have in our rooms does not help either.
I agree. Strapped-for-cash college students
are definitely going to opt for the dime-a-pack Ramen noodles over a pricey
Lean Cuisine dinner any day!
Amidst figuring out how to deal with
overwhelming new responsibilities and pressures -- as well as learning to
navigate the unfamiliar environment we have suddenly been thrown into -- we
freshmen often look forward to relaxing at the convenient all-you-can-eat
dining halls at least twice a day. Whether we are on the go between classes or
sitting down for an hour, a simple swipe of our student ID card presents us
with limitless dining options. Tempting our stressed-out, hungry bellies is
fresh-from-the-oven pizza, pasta in a variety of hot sauces, hearty
cheeseburgers, and many homestyle offerings like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and
juicy red meats.
But an educated dieter can bypass these
artery clogging choices and find some pretty healthy options that I certainly
wouldnt mind adding to my tray! While catching naps during my morning
classes, I often dream about the heaping, colorful salad Im going to
indulge in at lunch. I pile my plate high with green lettuce, topped with
crisp, fresh veggies and beans. Because I simply cannot avoid sweets, I always
add some type of fresh fruit or some frozen yogurt for a treat.
I've found that other smart options include
lean, white meats like grilled chicken or turkey on wheat bread, or fish with
steamed vegetables. Most dining halls will offer an impressive selection of
super-healthy foods like organic fruits and vegetables, veggie burgers,
vegetable pizza, and hummus. Be open-minded. Include a variety of great
tasting, good-for-you foods.
Nervous snacking, midnight pizzas and beer
binges are the norm on campus. Indulge and it wont take long for those
calories to add up. Septembers 15 extra pounds might balloon into
December's 30 if you lose control.
I've found that successfully managing
stress by getting enough sleep, the right nutrition, and keeping up with
schoolwork is essential for helping me avoid the mindless munching that often
accompanies the pressure and tension of an all-night cramming session. When the
girls on my dorm floor order pizzas in the middle of the night, Im not
about to be the odd one out. But instead of pigging out, Ill allow myself
a small slice and make it last through my friends four!
Im also sure to keep plenty of
fruits, veggies, crackers and yogurt in my dorm room to stave off junk food
binges. And for those weekend tailgate parties, I allow myself a few light
beers. I've found its a good idea to mix in a few healthy snacks to
spread out the calories from my cocktails.
Because everyones going to slip up
every once in a while (and that's perfectly okay) no matter how busy your
schedule, theres always time to sweat a little so you dont gain a
lot! Most colleges provide fitness facilities with high-tech, modern cardio and
strength-training equipment. The machines are usually free for students and
available when you need it.
I've found that exercise is crucial during
these hectic college years. It helps you shape up while it improves your mood.
And its a great way to meet other like-minded students at your school!
So there ya have it -- the Freshman 15 can
be avoided. Stay active, eat right, and have FUN!
Buckle up freshmen... its gonna be
quite a ride!
Erin Johnson is an 18-year-old freshman
at Slippery Rock University, where she's majoring in Resort Management and
minoring in Business Management. With a BMI of 19 and a body fat reading of
16%, she's successfully sidestepping
the dreaded Freshman 15.