Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15

Dear college students,

The freshman 15 is very real.

What they don’t tell you is that the sophomore 10 and the junior what’s-happening-to-my-body are just as real. There are a few things that contribute to the weight gain many people experience once they get to college. So, here are some ways to avoid gaining too much weight while chasing your degree.

Schedule when you eat.

Sure, it sounds kind of lame and scheduling your lunch might feel like you’re still in high school, but it helps. When you’re not on a somewhat consistent eating schedule, you end up eating what ever you can whenever you can. That can mean eating three double cheeseburgers at 11:30 PM because that’s the closest thing that’s open and you’re starving because you haven’t eaten since breakfast. Those kinds of nights add up REAL FAST.

Take the stairs.

With all the freedom that college brings, discipline is harder to manage in every area – including fitness. So take advantage of the opportunity to add it in where you can. Now, you aren’t going to be able to climb your way out of a poor diet – but every little bit counts.

Meal prep.

Everybody knows this is a fitness guru’s #1 piece of advice. But, it’s actually not that hard to do while you’re in school – even if you aren’t able to cook in your dorm. Look into the nutrition facts at your favorite restaurants, have some options that you like that aren’t super unhealthy, and stick with those. If you’ve already decided what you’re going to eat when you go to order food, that’s still prepping…even if someone else prepared it!

Workout after a stressful day.

According to a new study at UAB, working out after a stressful day can keep you from over eating. Although the urge may be to sleep your life away after an exam, take 30 minutes to release some stress in the gym. Your appetite and your love handles will thank you later.

Last but not least, don’t be too hard on yourself.

There’s a good chance you’re going to gain some weight. For the most part, it won’t be that bad. But just know your body changes when you become an adult, and it’s important to be okay with it since it’s yours, and you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life.