You’ve probably heard the phrase “Freshman 15″. You may have even had friends come back from college heavier than when they left home, but weight gain doesn’t have to be a part of your college experience. It’s all about balance.
It’s important to understand why so many people put on weight when they go away to college. For one thing, the food that’s available is different. There is an abundance of high fat, high calorie foods that most people don’t normally have in their homes. It’s like being a kid in a candy store; some people find themselves eating french fries and ice cream sundaes every day just because they can. Throw in the eating and drinking that accompanies social gatherings and those calories start to add up quickly. Then there’s the stress…
Whenever you go into a new situation there’s bound to be some stress, but because so many things are new when you start college, the stress can be a bit overwhelming. (Don’t worry, it will even out as you get adjusted.) If you happen to be someone who eats to relieve stress, the combination of abundant comfort food and an unlimited meal plan may become problematic.
Still, there are ways to stay fit in college and avoid putting on those extra pounds. Here are a few tips on how to stay fit in college in the midst of the stress, long days of study and a never-ending supply of pizza:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator and take the long way to class.
- Include fruit and vegetables as a regular part of your daily diet.
- Join an intramural team or sign up for a yoga, pilates or movement class.
- Save the high fat/high calorie foods you love for a once-a-week treat.
- Use exercise instead of caffeine to help you stay alert when you’re studying.
- Do your reading assignments while walking on the treadmill.
- Drink water instead of soda.
- Get plenty of sleep. (People tend to eat more when they’re over tired.)
- Set aside extended time every weekend for some type of physical activity.
- If you’re feeling overly stressed, talk to one of the counselors on campus.
If you want to avoid the Freshman 15, just remember that too much of anything will chip away at your physical, mental – and academic – fitness. So, eating your vegetables is just as important to your physical and mental fitness as setting aside time to relax; and regular exercise is as crucial to your academic performance as keeping up with class assignments. For more information, check out these other tips on how to stay fit in college.