Fighting the “Freshman 15”
As first years are entering college, students are nervous with anticipation about what this new educational opportunity will be like. Most of them fear living with strangers, getting lost on campus and being able to manage all of their classes and homework. There is another fear that is legendary on campus: the ‘Freshman 15’.
This expression is commonly referred to as the amount of weight that is often gained during a student’s first year of college. Although most freshman do not gain the dreaded weight in its entirety, a study by USU Logan’s Nutritional Journal shows that students still gain three to eight pounds during their first year. So whether you are trying to lose some weight or trying to maintain, here are some tips to ensure that you remain ship-shape during your years of college.
Jan Thornton, USU Eastern director of student success, has had her fair share of experience with setting goals over her lifespan. Many of the valuable lessons that she has learned are applicable to students who want to stay healthy during these college years. Thornton says, “Make goals that are ‘check off-able.’ It is much easier to accomplish many small goals than a single huge one.”
She suggests that instead of setting vague goals, break long goals into simple and separate steps makes it less overwhelming. For example, instead of having your goal be “become healthy,” simplify it by having daily goals such as “run on the treadmill for half an hour” or “replace fries with salad”.
Thornton also advises, “Be patient with your progress. Many people who work out give up after a month because they don’t see any progress. Many times it takes months to see any difference.” Results won’t come overnight, so tracking your progress daily will help you see a slow but consist change.
Specific goals are also a vital part of attaining results. Thornton suggests, “Write down goals.” By writing down your plans, it clarifies and specifies your goal, while making you more accountable for your progress. More tips to accomplish resolutions are to limit the number of goals made, have a support group, and reward yourself for milestones.
USU Eastern student, Lindly Fernandez says, “It is easy to gain weight while on college meal plans, but you can still make healthy decisions.” To stay away from unwanted pounds, the key of healthy is to simply use moderation. Use sweets, sodas, and unhealthy meals sparingly.
Jonathan Fox, also a college student, says, “With class, job, homework and classes, you only have a small amount of free time. It is hard to use that time and force yourself to go to the gym when everyone else is hanging out.”
Many students have troubles finding the motivation to go to the gym. The best advice for this is to set a specific time to work out to ensure that you will have enough time in the day. If you are worried about your social life lagging while going to the gym, bring friends with you. It is a fun way to spend time with the people you care about while keeping yourself looking good.
Freshman weight gain is an elective, not a requirement. Little-by-little, step-by-step, you can change and become the person you want to be.