How to Avoid the 'Freshman Fifteen'

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Marquietta Green

By Marquietta Green


Exploring Freedom
To most incoming freshman, college is the best way to experience freedom away from their parents without being told what to do. However, despite this freedom, college is also a place where  students learn the word we all dread: “responsibility.”
Although this word can be applied to many aspects of life, there is one that often gets brushed under the rug: eating habits. Many students don’t realize the difference in their eating habits until they start to notice that their favorite jeans do not fit them anymore. According to Kidshealth.org, “Recent studies found that some first-year students are indeed likely to gain weight.” So the question is, are the decisions we choices we make good for us?

Choices

There are choices that we all must make. Whether to attend a party or to stay in and study for a test you have tomorrow. It seems to be the toughest decision to make over the less difficult ones we don’t tend to think about until the situation arises. Even something simple as “Where do you want to eat?”

Eating Options

All freshmen live on campus so the most convenient options where to eat  would be the dining areas on campus, which are Lakeside and Landrum (Dining Commons) and other fast food restaurants that are nearby, such as our beloved Chick-Fil-A or Starbucks.

Avoid Making Hasty Decisions

While choosing what you eat may have been once a hasty decision, you now have to put more effort into thinking not only of what you’re eating but how much you are eating on a daily basis while in college.

How to Avoid Those Extra Pounds

So how can you as a college student tackle this problem? There are a lot of factors that play a part in gaining weight, but stress is the biggest one.  According to kidshealth.org, stress can not only trigger weight gain but also can cause over-eating.

A Walk in Your Shoes

Many upperclassmen have had to deal with the fear of gaining weight and most are still trying to shed the extra pounds. Some of these students have some advice for those freshmen who may need a little push to get started.
Chelsea Davis, a senior and multi-media communications major says, “Exercise at least three times a week for thirty minutes, always incorporate cardio, and incorporate veggies and fruits in your diet. Portion sizes are key!”
It is important to have well balanced meals and to portion your food. Do not overstuff your plate. Fast food places already have food portioned and placed in containers but you should also cut back on the times you visit fast food places.
Dining halls on campus are a tad different. It is like a sit down restaurant so it is up to you as an adult to decide “What is the right size portion of food should I get?”
“My advice would be to go to the RAC and take advantage of the fitness classes,”Morgan Taylor, a junior and pre-nursing major, said.
There are group fitness classes offered everyday, from the more rigorous exercises which are power cycling, swimming, to the more calm and more focused which are yoga and meditation. You can even just walk around.
“There are plenty of trails around campus to choose from and also a great way to cut calories,” says Taylor.
It is much easier to prevent the problem of weight gain rather than trying to fix the problem of losing pounds but is always about the effort, caution, and trying to avoid the temptation of eating ice cream from the carton, or binge eating.
From schoolwork to extracurricular activities to daily life issues, it can become a real struggle to balance it all out, however, with dedication, maintenance and self-care, you will be able to make real decisions about your life and eating habits. 
Even if you do tend to notice a few extra pounds, do not panic! You are human just like everyone else and in college weight gain is almost unavoidable. Be healthy and be proactive when it comes to your health.