Tips for Shedding the Freshman 15

October 22, 2011 · 1 comment

This is a guest post by Pat Singer.

Going away to college is a dream for a lot of high school students. Being out on your own, and not responsible for anybody but yourself, is something to look forward to. Unfortunately, there may be a negative side to that freedom-the dreaded Freshman 15. For some unexplained reason many college students tend to gain weight quickly during their first year in college. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering how to lose those unwanted pounds. Following are a few tips for shedding the Freshman 15.

What Is the Freshman 15?

Due to the fact that you’re out on your own, probably for the first time, you may have a tendency to eat at irregular times. You most likely opt for foods that are quick and easy to fix, or take-out fast foods such as pizza or hamburgers, simply because they’re time savers and you have a busy schedule. Eating habits that you learned as a child may go out the window for the sake of expediency, or simply as a form of freedom of expression. The problem is that most people gain weight eating that way, and studies show that quite a few college freshmen do as well. Add to that the stress of studying and maintaining decent grades and you have the perfect recipe for weight gain-up to 15 pounds.

Watch Your Eating Habits

Most people were raised in a home environment where eating healthy food was simply part of their daily life. In order to shed those extra pounds brought on by a change in your eating habits, you need to return to the basics-eat healthy. Forego those after-hour trips to the pizza shop or the burger joint and eat your meals at meal time. When you’re in the cafeteria don’t just pick out the food that looks good, make healthy choices. You know what’s good for you and what isn’t. Instead of fries, pick up a salad, and go easy on the dressing. Eat fruit and whole-grain cereal for breakfast, and skip fried foods for lunch and dinner. You should instead opt for eating fish, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

Get a Small Refrigerator for Your Room

Because college life is hectic, you may not be able to get to the cafeteria at mealtime. In order to maintain your healthy eating habits when your study or class schedule won’t allow you to eat at your usual times, it may be a good idea to buy a small refrigerator for your dorm room. If you do, make sure to stock it with healthy foodstuff and not cookies and cake. Keeping snack food on hand is a good idea for those late night study sessions, but your choice of snack should lean toward yogurt and fresh fruit, and not consist of candy bars and ice cream.

Hot Plates are Useful

Since you’re getting a small refrigerator you may as well get a small hot plate as well. That way you can actually cook your meals instead of interrupting a study session to run to the college cafeteria. Keep in mind that this option can be detrimental to your diet if you don’t exercise self control. If you keep your fridge stocked with healthy food you won’t be tempted to indulge in a meal of fried sausages and biscuits with gravy. Keep cans of soup, the ones whose labels clearly state they’re low-calorie, on hand for quick meals.

Snack Time

College students live a hectic lifestyle. The typical student is constantly on the run from one class to another, or to the next study session. That means you may not be able to eat regular meals or return to your dorm room for a healthy snack. For times like that you should carry a pick-me-up snack with you. Things such as energy bars or rice cakes make a good, healthy snack, as do fresh fruit or fresh bread. Stay away from the ever-present vending machines, which are filled with high-calorie snacks that are loaded with preservatives.

Stay Away From Alcohol

Although you’ll probably be tempted to indulge your freedom by consuming a few beers, for the sake of your diet, and your overall health, resist the urge. Alcohol is loaded with calories that will go straight to your belly, hips, and other areas of your body that don’t need the excess poundage. Learn how to help an alcoholic if one of your friends over-indulges regularly.


Even though you may feel exhausted from all the running around associated with college life, it would be a good idea to exercise on a regular basis. A routine workout will not only help keep the pounds off, but it will tone the muscles and make you more able to withstand the rigors of late night study sessions.

Following some or all of these tips will surely help you avoid that Freshman 15.

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{ 1 comment }

Mike Bluestone October 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Great advice Pat! I think the freshman 15 also applies to newly weds. I am a personal trainer and every time a gym member gets married they are MIA for several months, later to return noticeably heavier.

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