Beware of the Freshman 15

Late night snacking, unlimited cafeteria food and suddenly the gym on campus seems so far away. The Freshman 15 is a popular term used to describe the 15 pounds (6.8 kg) new college students often gain in their first semester or year of college. Adjusting to new surroundings and different schedule can be stressful and some of the many reasons for the weight gain.

cc license, photo by andrewyang

cc license, photo by andrewyang

Many students who were athletes in high school are no longer playing at the collegiate level, but still eat as though they are! For some international students, the adjustment to the sometimes unfamiliar dining hall food causes them to make unhealthy and fattening choices. Eating unhealthy, snacking, lack of exercise and excessive drinking are usually the most common reasons for the weight gain.

I can remember how surprised I was to see friends when we met up over our Winter break freshman year. My friend Kelly had never been an extremely skinny girl but one semester of college life had definitely taken its toll on her. She blamed the weight gain on the fact that she and her roommates always had junk food in their dorm room and “never” had time to workout.

pop and candy

cc license, photo by awrose

A few tips to remember:

•    Be careful what you eat in the school cafeteria – Ice cream and waffles are not suitable for dinner everyday. Try to pick healthier options and take smaller portions.
•   Skip late night snacks, or pick a healthier snack – Pizza rolls are yummy and greasy but won’t help you finish that paper at 2 a.m.
•    Soda and sugary drinks are empty calories – There is no nutritional value so watch the amount you drink.
•    Find a workout buddy or join an intramural sports club – Staying active is important and more fun when you have a friend to motivate you.
•    Stay organized and set a schedule – It may take time to adjust but try to keep a regular schedule. You’ll find that your eating habits become more regular too.
•    Watch out for calories from alcohol – This can a quick way to rack up excessive calories and put on weight. Be conscious of how much you are drinking.

The Freshman 15 is a common challenge for first year students. So don’t stress if you do end up putting on a few extra kilograms. Chances are you will work it off by just walking across campus everyday to class. Also, try to stay away from disastrous items like the Dorm Food Casserole (or pretty much anything on this site).

Hannah DeMilta is a senior at Otterbein College studying Public Relations with a minor in Deaf Culture and Language (ASL). She has studied abroad in Australia and loves traveling whenever possible. She has held several internships in the PR & communications field and hopes to work in the non-profit sector one day. She also loves speaking with students interested in studying abroad, so please feel free to start a conversation:

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