The Freshman 15

The Freshman 15

The Freshman 15! Although many studies consider it a myth, the Freshman 15 is something that you hear all around the United States. For those unfamiliar with the phrase, the Freshman 15 refers to the idea that freshmen who live on campus will gain fifteen pounds in their freshman year due to the many changes they will go through in their lifestyle. Some studies have shown that freshmen students gain only about 2 to 3 pounds on average during their freshmen year but let’s take a look at the certain changes in lifestyle that could possibly increase that average.

Let’s start with eating. Most college campuses provide meal plans that include a buffet all-you-can-eat style for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Many colleges also have late-night food services as well such as my alma mater Umass-Lowell. A student must be disciplined here if they want to avoid the Freshman 15 because many young adults love eating cafe-style foods such as cheeseburgers and hot dogs. I know I definitely had my fair share of burgers and fries at Lowell. Most colleges also have ice cream as a daily option as well. Always remember that even if those greasy foods are delicious, there are many other healthier alternatives that are still very good. I am not saying to completely stay away from those foods (unless you are trying to diet) but enjoy a healthy alternative every so often. Sometimes when I walked over to the grilling station I would enjoy a grilled chicken filet rather than a cheeseburger. Also, I tried to stay healthy by eating a soup with every lunch and a salad with every dinner. I was also very anti-soda at U-Lowell. Normally, I had 2 cups of low-fat milk or water with every lunch and dinner which I found to be a much better option for my health. Late-night foods can be tricky because I used to get very hungry late at night and most of the things that were served were fatty foods. If you happen to give in to the late-night temptation, try as best as you can to leave yourself at least 3 hours before you decide to go to sleep because sleeping on a full stomach is not recommended for healthy living.

Another great way to avoid weight gain on campus is working out. Whether it be walking, running, or lifting weights, I recommend getting into a workout routine for a couple of reasons. The obvious reason is to keep up your metabolism and burn off those unwanted fats in your body. However, students face many challenges while trying to stick to a regular workout routine. Some have just too much work to do and do not have the time which is understandable. Others, like me on a number of occasions, found it better to just lay on the couch and watch tv or take a nice little power nap. There is nothing wrong with taking a nap after a long day of classes but working out can definitely benefit you as well. Other than burning off fat and toning your muscles, working out also keeps your mind running sharp which will definitely benefit you when you sit down and begin your homework assignments. It also relieves stress and anxiety which comes naturally to any college student while handling their workload. I personally tried to stay active by working out and also playing sports at the campus recreation center. It kept me fit and also helped me get through some late-night homework sessions which everyone knows can be quite brutal.

Finally, let’s get to the subject that some studies say is the biggest reason for freshman weight gain: alcohol intake. I do not really have much to say on the subject because people drink when they’re in college plain and simple. There’s no getting around it and it’s GOING to happen. Whether it is for relaxing and unwinding after a stressful week of classes or for a long weekend of partying with friends, alcohol is going to be consumed in all likelihood. I am not going to sit here and tell you to not drink because then I would be a hypocrite but all I can say is take care of yourself and try not to consume mass amounts in short periods of time. Keep in mind that you are on campus to get an education and excessive alcohol consumption will only impair you mentally and physically. There is a reason why they call it a beer belly. Have fun once in a while but then hit the gym and the books to keep your body and mind in top shape.

In closing, I would just like to say that I came out of college weighing 171 which is the most I’ve ever weighed. I now weigh 155 and I believe it is due to the fact that I came home to healthy home-cooked meals and partied much less. Freshmen on campus need to adapt to the transition from home to school as smoothly as they possibly can. Pace yourself at the cafeteria, hit the gym, hit the books, keep your mind focused, and prove that the Freshman 15 really is just a myth after all. What better way to end four years on your own than having a healthy fit body and a degree in your hand? All it takes is hard work and perseverance. Accept the challenge.

Mike Gello

One Response to “The Freshman 15”
  1. Mine was more like the Freshman 50. But, I lost a lot of it and now I am working to control my weight constantly! It really is a matter of being conscientious of the consequences of our actions.

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