The fall semester is just around the corner for most students, and for many this is their first semester at college and their rude awakening to the Freshman 15. Ha, good luck! For me, I didn’t have a problem with the freshman 15. I was raised in a household where fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy were regulars on the dinner menu. So when I moved away from home, I dropped 15 pounds. However, that’s not the case for most students. Moving away from home is a huge deal and it also causes a huge change in habits. You don’t have mommy and daddy telling you to put up the Oreos, to stop snacking on the potato chips, or to quit chugging that beer. Therefore, you need to nip those habits in the bud before they ruin that cute little figure of yours! I’ve reminisced about my freshman year and what actions I took to make sure I didn’t gain any unnecessary weight.
1. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Chew gum
You had lunch 30 minutes ago and now you think you’re hungry. You’re not really hungry, I promise… You just have nothing else to do. Pop some gum in your mouth to not only freshen your breath, but to also prevent you from picking up some unnecessary piece of junk to consume to pass the time.
2. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Control your portions.
Do you really think a Big Mac at McDonalds is a normal portion size? Do you think supersizing your meal is going to give you a flat stomach and great legs? Well, it’s not. Especially when you go out to eat, controlling your portions is extremely difficult because meal sizes vary from place to place. I’ve heard each of your portions should be about the size of your fist.
3. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Walk to class.
UTSA is a commuter school, as tons of others around the country, meaning instead of walking from our apartments or houses to class, we drive to class. It sucks because the parking spot to student ratio is something like 1:50, and we don’t get a lot of exercise in comparison to other students. I mean, I know San Antonio is one of America’s fattest cities, but I didn’t think the student population at UTSA was considered a contributor… Anyway, if you can help it, walk to class to get in a little bit of extra exercise.
4. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Eat in.
This will keep the fatness in your pocket and not on your body. Eating in is not only better for your budget, but it’s better for your body as well. Cooking something at home is super easy once you get used to it and make it a habit. After a couple of weeks of solid effort to make meals at home, it will be cake to control your cravings for fast food.
5. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Pack snacks.
When spending long hours on campus or running countless errands around town, your tendency to grab something quick at a fast food joint is at an all time high. Fight those feelings and grab a snack you packed for this type of situation. When you prepare snacks, make sure you put them in plastic bags that aren’t too big. Packing a healthy snack will do you no good if you’re snacking on a huge portion.
6. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Drink water, not soda.
In some cases, having one soda can be the equivalent to eating one candy bar. That’s sick. I can’t even imagine how bad that is for your teeth. So save yourself some medical bills in advance by skipping the soda and grabbing a bottle of water. It’s better for your mind and your body.
7. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Workout.
Really, you could probably ignore all the advice I give in this article if you just workout. Not just cardio, but weights too. The good thing about weights, from what I’ve learned from personal experience, is that as I build muscle I tend to burn more calories throughout the day in comparison to before I was serious about working out. Not only that, I felt like if I went a couple of days without working out and eating kind of unhealthy, I didn’t look or feel like a fat cow. Overall, working out is beneficial for a variety of different reasons, but it will definitely keep you from gaining the infamous freshman 15.
8. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Hungry… or bored?
Have you ever caught yourself eating while almost under some sort of spell? I think it happens to all of us at some point or another. A lot of times it’s hard to distinguish the difference between being hungry and being bored. Even when it comes to healthy stuff, I can still sit in front of my computer while on Facebook and go to town on some fruit. Next thing I know, I look down and my entire pineapple is gone. Make a conscious effort to keep to snacks away while mind is at bay. There is nothing good about eating under the influence of boredom.
9. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Don’t watch TV and snack.
This one lends itself to number 8. When people watch TV and eat simultaneously, they lose track of the amount of food they consume in one sitting. Distracted by what’s playing on the television, a person can easily forget to STOP eating. Put the chips down, close the bag, and walk away…
10. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Attend group workout classes.
A huge perk about attending college is access to the university recreation center. Here you can find hormone raging coeds dying to mingle with other hormone raging coeds. Attend workout classes offered at the gym. This is a great way to stay motivated and stay on a workout schedule. There are a variety of different classes to fit the wants of all types of students. From salsa dancing to kickboxing, push yourself to try every class at least once.
11. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Join an intramural team.
Another fabulous way to stay in shape and meet people… Intramural teams are dripping with athletes from all walks of life. Just because you didn’t make the college volleyball team doesn’t mean you can’t join an intramural team on campus to play.
12. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Get a job.
From personal experience, I know that depending on what type of job can determine if it is going to help or hinder your efforts to staying slim. For example, as a receptionist I would snack on food all day long because there really wasn’t much else to do. Now that I work at a place where I have little down time and little time eat, I have managed to control my snacking habits by staying busy. Find a job that is going to mental occupy your time and benefit you in more ways than just a paycheck.
13. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Park farther.
If you attend a commuter school like I do, finding a parking place is hard enough as it is. Instead of stressing yourself out about finding that perfect parking spot on the front row, aim for the back instead. Your chances of finding a parking place quicker are much higher and you’ll also be doing your body some good. Walking an extra 10 or 15 minutes to class will help you burn more calories throughout your day.
14. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Find a healthy hobby.
Finding any hobby in general is going to be more beneficial to you than not having one at all. Whether you find a running club or a reading club, you’re more likely to be too busy with studies and other activities than you are picking up bad eating habits. Now, if you’re going to join some pastry baking class or something, that’s your own choice. Keep yourself occupied with anything that will keep your mind and body healthy and on point.
15. Fighting The Freshman 15 – Drink smarter.
I saved the best for last… Of course, with new found freedom from the microscope of our parents, comes the temptation to consume, consume, consume. College and drinking pretty much go hand in hand. Drinking leads to more drinking and more drinking leads to food. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten fast food after the bars have closed down. Sad, but true. I’m not saying to not drink, just be more aware of the drinks you consume and the food choices you make as a result of drinking.
All in all, self-control is going to determine if you pack on those extra 15 during your freshman year. Obviously it’s called the freshman 15 because you’re more likely to gain the weight during your first year in college. It’s not called the 5th-year senior 15. Be aware of what you eat and conscious of the habits you pick up during the semester.
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