Dodging the freshman 15
I thought this was a myth too, until I walked down the streets of campus my first year and pulled a double-take on some of the people I’d known from high school.
Yes, the freshman 15 is very real.
First and foremost, it’s (most likely) your first time living on your own. All those years of having your mom cook/practically blackmail you to eat your veggies, are over. No one is forcing you to eat those carrots. No one is nagging you to get to the gym. Diet, nutrition, and exercise are all in your court now.
In all honesty, nutrition is the #1 reason I’ve seen people gain weight (including myself). College campuses are crawling with pizza joints, fast food Chinese, and let’s not even begin on the late-night cookie shops like Insomnia Cookies (or at IU, Baked). These places can obviously be enjoyed in moderation. It’s just that the college mentality often doesn’t take that into consideration. The drunk munchies don’t discriminate, let me tell you.
The second reason is tied to the first - the partying culture. SURPRISE! ALCOHOL! HAS! CALORIES!
No one wants to hear it, but it’s true. Those days of pretending like vodka is fat-free because it resembles water, are over. A shot of liquor can have anywhere from 85 - 130 calories on average. A beer can be between 103 -150 calories, depending on if it’s “light” or not. 5 ounces of wine is around 125 calories.
Add a night out to the 2 a.m. pizza call, and you’ll find yourself buried deep in carbs and fat. Not to mention, try getting a good workout in the next day while hungover.
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Another major factor is exercise. Between partying/being social, going to class, and studying, working out can seem far down on the priority list. The easiest way to fit it in is to act like it’s a class and legitimately write it into your schedule at a set time. Treat it like it’s something you’re supposed to attend, and you’re more likely to also show up.
If the weight room intimidates you, try a group class. Try yoga. Try a recreational sport. Walk to class instead of taking the bus. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Just MOVE.
Lastly, drink water and actually get sleep. Water helps fill you up and keeps the hunger off, and sleep helps your hormones stay in check.
The main take-away: it doesn’t need to be an “all or nothing” mentality. As cliche as it sounds, balance is what is going to make you successful at keeping the weight off while still having fun. Do you tend you like going out on the weekends? Cool, stay on track during the week, pick friday to go out sober and have some pizza, and then saturday to party while skipping the drunk cravings after.
Whatever you do, don’t restrict. Don’t be 0-180 with a diet. And don’t beat yourself up. Your health (mentally and physically) will always come first.