How To Avoid the Freshman 15

If you're off to college, you're probably worried about the dreaded weight gain many freshmen experience. Here's how to avoid it!

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: All Day

Here's How:

  1. Keep a food journal. Writing down what you eat helps you keep track of what you're putting in your mouth and avoid extra calories.
  2. Get some sleep. Sleep deprivation often leads to weight gain, so try to get to bed at a reasonable hour whenever you can.
  1. Keep the late nights to a minimum. Staying up all night means you'll be craving pizza come 3:00 a.m. The longer you're awake, the more you'll eat (and drink).
  2. Avoid drinking. Okay, the occasional beer is fine, but try to avoid drinking every night since alcohol packs tons of empty calories that will cling to your body like white on rice. If you do drink, commit to having a glass of water for every drink you consume. This will help you keep the drinking under control and hydrate your body (it's dehydration that leads to hangovers).
  3. Exercise. To keep your weight under control, you should try to get as much activity as possible. Shoot for at least 30 or more minutes a day of cardio and strength training exercises and try to be as active as possible by walking as much as you can, taking the stairs, etc.
  4. Make better food choices. Fill up on fruits, veggies and whole grains and you won't be so hungry for that giant piece of cheescake. Many university cafeterias are notorious for having tons of junkfood available. Make healthy choices as often as you can and your body will thank you.
  1. Eat regularly. Bring snacks (yogurt, bagels, pretzels, etc.) with you to class so you don't reach starvation mode during the day.
  2. Be realistic. Understand that you will indulge from time to time and that's okay. The occasional missed workout or piece of chocolate cake won't kill you.
  3. Be mindful. Pay attention to what you're doing to avoid mindless munching. Don't eat straight out of the bag...get a handful of chips and decide that's it.
  1. Enjoy yourself. You'll never have another freshman year, so have fun and don't be too hard on yourself. There are lots of changes to assimilate when you go to college, so finding a balance is your first priority. You'll figure it out with a little time and ingenuity.

Tips:

  1. Plan your workouts the night before so you're prepared for an early morning jog or walk before class.
  2. Harass your roommate into working out with you. It's easier with a friend.
  3. Take advantage of your college's fitness center. It's usually free for students.
  4. Avoid the 'all-you-can-eat' buffet at the cafeteria.
  5. Keep your dorm fridge stocked with fruits and veggies for healthier snacking.

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