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Gaining Weight In College Debunked: What It Takes To Beat The Freshman 15

Everybody has been through it, the freshman 15. Those that have made it through will tell you, you can beat it. Others, well they can sympathize. By the way, here is how it works.

WEDNESDAY, October 23 (HealthDay News) - It's common for college students to pack on a few pounds while they're away at school.

Gaining weight in college is the part of campus life that often gets left out at orientation. If you were just getting ready to take notes about what to ask about when you get to orientation, you can stop. You are already over a month into the first semester of your freshman year. What are your parents going to think when you come home from college for winter vacation packing on a few pounds while away at school?―It must that be the freshman 15.

photo of 3 college students at the foothill college cafeteria in 1962

Remember when sandwiches only cost a quarter?―Foothill College 1962

How good are your chances of beating the freshman 15

If sanwhiches only cost a quarty, the chance you have to beat the freshman 15 is slim to nothing. Lucky for you, the days of quarter-dollar Foothill College sandwiches are over. By the way, here are your actual chances, just in case you are wondering.

1 in 4 freshman students put on 5 percent their body weight during the first semester of college

What that would mean if it were true for Foothill College, which has a freshman class of a 1000 students (actually a little over 1,500 first-time students this quater), is that at least 250 students would gain weight their freshman year.

Let's say everyone gains 15 pounds. The engineering students will tell you, "that is another 3,750 pounds walking around campus after midterms." Now take the average weight for a female college students to be 130 pounds, just to be safe; and assume that only freshman girls gain weight.

Divide the cummulative college weight gain by the assumed average weight of freshman girls and what happens?-There are 28 new freshman than there were at orientation.

1 in 7 students gain weight during the four years they spend at college

If you thought that your greatest fear about going to college was having to live out your years as an upper classmen while carrying the weight you put on during the freshman 15, you might want step back and think about it.

If you thought that the freshman 15 is all in your head you are right. However, don't leave the idea that college life packs on the pounds as something you stop believing after passing all your midterm exams this spring. After all, the freshman 15 is not the boogie man.

It's life when you are so busy with pumping out success that you forget about the little things such as how you are going to maintain your weight.

two students walking by vending machine between classes

What do you have next period?-I don't know, but what with all these vending machines?

15 Ways to avoid weight gain at college

In your life, you will find yourself in predicaments where you only have only one chance to succeed. After getting into college, the freshman 15 is one such situation. How you make out determines your fate, college weight gain or 15 pounds lighter entering your sophomore year, finishing up your general requirements, ready to move on to bigger and better things than worrying about your weight.

  1. Never skip a meal - If you are reading this on your way out the door on the way to an engineering seminar at 6 in the morning with over a mile of powdery snow and frost biting wind standing in your way, thinking about skipping breakfast, (unless your professor happens to have breakfast waiting) don't. Breakfast is the most important meal of that day. Don't skip it-ever. The same goes for all meals. How you do this is following a regular meal schedule that works with your classes. Eat at scheduled times throughout the day and keep consistent.

  2. Pay attention to what you eat. - You've heard the saying, "you are what you eat." Very true, but there is another enemy beside what foods you put in your body, you. That is you should avoid eating while stressed, on the study bench, and watching your show on tv with a passion. Eating while doing any of these activities makes it very hard (impossible for mere mortals) to pay attention to how much you are eating. But, don't let that that keep you from stocking up your dorm refrigerator with healthy snacks.

  3. Make room for fiber - Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet, eating foods rich in dietary fiber that help you feel full longer. That means loading whole grain bread into the cafeteria toaster instead of white bread. Eating oatmeal for breakfast. These are some of the things you can be doing to stay full longer.

  4. Eat lean protein everyday - Eating lean protein gives you the amino acids you need to stay strong, keeping your metabolism from slowing down due to loss is muscles mass, without extra fat content in your diet that is just like asking for a pair of freshman 15 size jeans.

  5. Get in healthy fats - Nuts, seeds, avocado, canola, and olivec oil olive oil, these are the foods you have to make sure you are getting to get in your healthy fats. Go over to the commons and ask, "Do you have some trail mix?" "Sure we do! By the way, I read that article on how to avoid college weight gain too."

  6. Stay away from desert - Resist the tempatation for extra helpings after a big meal. That means no seconds. No apple pie. You are on a diet! By the way I am just kidding. There should be know reason you can have a cheese cake, especially on those days when you want it so bad. While you are stuffing your face (with joy), just remember to stop while you are ahead. That is don't let all the delicious cafeteria food control you no matter how tasty it looks.

  7. Hold back on the fried food - Keep it simple. Think burger not a double cheeseburger. Water not soda. No matter how loud the little voice in your head is screaming out, "grilled cheese!" Don't give in. You are in control (right?) Try holding back on fried food if only just a little.

  8. Drink water - Drinking a little water throughout the day goes a long way. Not only does it keep you hydrated but also keeps you from drinking soda. Carry a water bottle (therm) with you at all times. You never know when you are going to get thirsty, i.e. be prepared for anything.

  9. Drink fat-free or low fat milk - Choose low fat options when possible such as light salad dressing. Reducing fat content in your diet is a foolproof way to cut back on calories. However, it is also important that you are getting enough fats. Diversify the fats in your diet.

  10. Drink your coffee black or tea - Adding sugar, cream, and milk to your coffee may be your thing but it's not going to help you beat the freshman 15 nor keep your weight down during college. Like most things, every little shard of granulated sugar you put in your body drinking coffee is an irreversible process that takes time and then some to get things back to the way they were. Ask yourself, "which is it?―coffee or sugar" I know, it may be a little overkill but if you drink 3-5 cups of coffee a day, those little shards turn into a mountain of sugar by the end of the day. For what purpose?-to drink something meant to taste bitter, sweat.

  11. Avoid sugary drinks - Avoid vending machines is one way to get away from drinking sugary drinks. When you see a vending machine, just say no. The same goes for the for refridgerators lining the walls of the conveinence store near the commons. Stay near the center. Get in. Get out. Avoid drinks with dangerous amounts of sugar.

  12. Cut back on drinking - For freshman drinking is a no issue (right). Nevertheless, here is my advice on drinking that may save you from college weight gain. Limit alcohol to one drink a day. If you are at a party, drink one to two nonalcoholic drinks for each alcoholiuc drink. This not only helps you keep your weight down while in college but will also lead to less headaches in the morning when you have to be in class studying.

  13. Make sure you are getting enough exercise - Get 300 minutes of aerobic exercise with 2 stength training sessions a week. You are about to explode, "How am I supposed do do that?" Just do the math. How many hours to you spend a day exercising? If you walk to all your classes, there shouldn't be any problem for you to get the 45 minutes of daily exercise you need. Then, there is strength training. This doesn't have to be lifting weights. Here is a rule of thumb for weekly strength training. If it makes you sore the next day, you should be doing it 2-3 times a week max. These are the only two things you need to know about getting enough exercise in college.

  14. Take breaks from your routine - Staying active is one thing but if it ends up burning you out, you should learn to take a break from the things you are doing to stay on top of your classes and your weight.

  15. Don't worry so much about your weight - Worrying about your weight isn't going to help you lose weight. In fact, it may make matters worst if not caught in the initial stages. So take a objective look back. Are you doing the little things it takes to keep your weight off without having to take any desperate measures? If there are any doubts in your mind, double check this list starting from the top.

Image credit: Remember when sandwiches only cost a quarter?―Foothill College 1962 sanjoselibrary* What do you have next period?-I don't know, but what with all these vending machines? 29143375@N05**

Lisense *Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) **Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

By Martin Nicholson

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