Is the Freshman 15 a Myth?

Kids health, College, Freshmen 15, weight gain, stress, lifestyle change, food shopping, food preparation, food choices, exercise, exams, studying, partying, tips from town

Fact or fiction? – College freshmen gain an average of 15 pounds within their first year of College. Research has shown that freshmen actually gain an average of 5 pounds in their first year of college and most of that within the first months. This is an average indicating that some DO gain 15 pounds (or more), but some may actually lose weight too.  If you’re a freshman, or going to be, don’t fret just yet. As there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, at freshman age (17-19 years), many of are still growing so they will naturally gain a few pounds. Another major consideration is that all freshmen are undergoing dramatic and drastic lifestyle changes in every way! For most, it’s their first time living away from home and I’m guessing, their first time to be 100% responsible for meeting their nutritional needs (food shopping and cooking). Add to all this a (usually) huge decline in physical activity; a relatively large dose of stress in the form of homesickness, assignments, exams, and the myriad of changes all at once; sleep deprivation (usually self-inflicted); late night snacking (for cramming or partying) and lets not forget the alcohol consumption. Well, no wonder these kids gain weight.

The best defense for any college student, freshman or not, is to know what to expect and have contingency plans prepared ahead of time. Become familiar with your surroundings. Where will you buy your food (store or cafeteria or both)? Where and how will you prepare your food? What foods are offered in the cafeteria? Late night studying and snacking go hand in hand so stock up on healthy snacks preemptively. Schedule daily exercise, even if it’s a brisk walk between classes. Similarly, try to schedule your sleep. This sounds silly but it’s so easy to get caught up in studying or socializing and many college students function in a continual state of sleep deprivation. Not only is this not great for your health it’s the start of a downward spiral as you become too tired to function so you turn to eating junk food and skip the workouts because it takes you twice as long to get your assignments done. Ideally, you’ll want to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time everyday.

The Freshman 15 doesn’t have to be fact if you take some time to prepare and plan for all the lifestyle changes you will be facing. Arm yourself with your best defenses: good sleep, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise. With these you’ll not only keep the pounds off but also feel better and excel in your studies.

 

 

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Author: tammyjuco

Motivating and assisting you and your family to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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