There are a myriad articles adverting advice on how to avoid the freshman 15, but rarely have I seen information to help you tackle the weight once you’ve put it on. Those pesky pounds caused by stress, long nights without adequate sleep, alcohol, and nervous eating can sneak up on you, but how can you shed them? Here are a few tips to help you lose the freshman 15 before you gain the sophomore 20:
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- Keep a Daily Journal of the Food You Eat – A journal will help you pinpoint areas of your diet where you could be doing better and take care of the problem areas.
- Take a Trip to the Rec – Most colleges have a recreation building with a gym. Some of us are lucky enough to have a huge rec building with indoor tracks, pools, and even sports courts. Like all college services, the rec fees are paid with your tuition. Not using this service is a waste of money, akin to not going to the gym after purchasing a membership.
- A Little Adds Up – You don’t have to exercise constantly to drop the freshman 15, you just have to alter your habits, your diet, and your exercise routine a little at a time. Don’t try to do too much up front, just make calculated changes until you see the success you want.
- Learn to Manage Stress – As I mentioned before, stress can be a major contributor to gaining the freshman 15. Stress is understandable: you’re in a new place; you now have to choose what time you go to bed, what classes you take, and whether or not you’ll even go to class… Many campuses have time management classes that can minimize stress and maximize your productivity. Who knows, maybe you’ll find more time to hit the gym!
- Consider Counseling – Eating disorders are common among college students. Sometimes the exasperated stresses of college can trigger these disorders. Counseling centers on college campuses are well-aware of these issues and can counsel you into choosing healthier habits. Remember: eating disorders aren’t just limited to anorexia and bulimia–a recent study has proven that sugary, fatty food is actually more addictive than heroin! If you find your coping mechanisms always involve binge eating or eating comfort foods to calm your nerves, you may be developing a food addiction.
The pudgy pounds of the freshman 15 can be nerve-wracking, but are nevertheless your body’s natural way of telling you that you need to adapt to your new environment. Of course, it would be great to avoid the freshman 15 altogether, but if you cannot keep the weight off, you can always strip away the excess by replacing bad habits with good ones–and the sooner you replace them, the easier it will be to develop useful habits.