The Freshman 15 is Real

The Freshman 15 is Real

These Tips Will Help You Avoid It
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If you’re setting out for college soon or already in the midst of your college education, then chances are, you’ve already heard about the so-called Freshman 15. It’s a reference to the amount of weight many students gain in their first year of college, often attributed to a lack of supervision, a bottomless supply of food in the dining hall and maybe a bit too much revelry on the weekends. Lots of new college students consider this weight gain simply inevitable. They abandon their routine when they move into the dorm.

But if you’re committed to your health, it’s totally possible to avoid the Freshman 15. You might just have to take the path less traveled in order to do so. If you’re not interested in putting on these extra pounds as a university newbie, then follow a few simple tips.

Back Away From the Beer Can

With a party every weekend — or, rather, multiple parties all week long — it’s incredibly easy to drink your calories. Even if you don’t down beers or mixed drinks, a college campus is a minefield of other high-calorie sips, such as soda and sugary coffee beverages.

Resolve to drink mostly water and only indulge in soda, juice or an adult beverage as the occasional treat. This way, you'll have more calories to put toward your meals — and that fuel is essential in keeping you healthy under academic stress.

Catch Some Zzz’s

If you have a paper due in the morning, and you've barely typed a sentence, you're going to be tempted to pull an all-nighter. Don't. It's crucial that you stay on top of your schedule so that you can get enough sleep. Believe it or not, the number of hours you sleep each night can directly affect not only your metabolism but also your cravings for junk food. Make sure that you snooze for at least six hours each night — even if it means turning in an assignment late. Your waistline will thank you for it.

Take Advantage of a Free Gym

When you leave the comfort of a college campus, you’ll be expected to pay for your gym membership. As long as you’re a student, take full advantage of the perks that come with it. Head to the gym on a regular basis — at least three or four times a week — to offset any freshman year weight gain.

Not a big gym rat? Go for a run outside, join an intramural sports team or find another way to get active. That way, even if you overdo it on snacks, you’ll have the safety net of a calorie-burning workout.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Maybe, as a high school student, you got into the habit of skipping breakfast. A few extra precious minutes of sleep seemed more important. But now that you’re officially an adult, it’s time to start taking ownership of your health, including the way you eat.

Breakfast is essential in getting your body ready for the day. It signals your metabolism to start working for the day and burning calories. Don’t skip it and overeat at lunch. Head to the cafe and have a healthy breakfast like fruit and yogurt or a veggie omelet.

Play It Cool in the Dining Hall

Speaking of the dining hall, while it’s your main source of nourishing food, it’s also where you can do a lot of damage. Since most colleges allow you to make unlimited visits to the hot food line, it’s easy to indulge in excess calories. Avoid falling into this trap — instead, go into each meal with a plan. Look at the menu ahead of time and select a healthy dish, or hit the salad bar before you do anything else. If you fill up on greens and veggies, you’ll be less likely to binge on treats from the dessert station.

Focus on Body Composition, Not Just Weight

The Freshman 15 obviously refers to a specific weight, but it’s not all about pounds. Your health depends more on what those pounds contain than the weight itself. If you gain 15 pounds of fat, that’s obviously going to be detrimental to your health, whereas packing on 15 pounds of muscle is a positive change. So focus on body composition — i.e., fat versus muscle mass — when you’re assessing how you’re doing with your freshman-year health journey. Eat lots of fruits, veggies and lean protein to stay strong.

With these tips for staying healthy in your toolbox, the only thing you’ll gain as a freshman is knowledge. Just make sure that you exercise on a regular basis, don’t go too hard on the weekends and start at the salad bar when you go to the dining hall. You might leave freshman year even fitter than you came into it!

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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4 Ways Clutter Is Negatively Affecting Your Health

Clutter affects your physical, emotional, and psychological health.

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If you're aware that your cluttered space is causing you stress and discomfort, it might be helpful to understand how and why clutter affects our health. When we clear our space we are more likely to feel at ease, relaxed, and tranquil. There is no better time to freshen your space than at the start of the new year when we are already setting new intentions and re-assessing goals and putting new ideas into motion.

1. Clutter produces dust and exacerbates allergies

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsg5egmBSjq/

Have you ever gone through your closet or bookshelf, only to see the visible layers of dust and dirt that were hidden behind your items? Clutter gives dust and other environmental fibers a place to accumulate. If you find yourself sneezing, coughing, or tired and fatigued in your space, it might be time to de-clutter - your itchy eyes will thank you!

2. Lack of organization in your belongings leads to stress and anxiety

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I know I'm not the only one who has had the experience of needing an item before running out the door, only to realize it wasn't where you left it...and now you need to tear apart your entire room looking for it. Sound familiar? Having too much clutter leads to a disorganized space that provokes anxiety and stress and can have a strong, negative impact on your day to day life. Whoever came up with, "a place for everything and everything in its place" was definitely onto something.

3. Clutter puts your nervous system in overdrive

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Cluttered environments are taxing on the nervous system. The sensory overload prevents us from being able to relax and rest, and keeps us activated in our sympathetic nervous system, AKA "fight or flight". This means we're more likely to be on edge and hyper-aware than calm and relax when at home.

4. Living in a cluttered space impacts your mood and self-esteem

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Our brains thrive off of order and organization. When things are disordered and chaotic around us, it's natural to feel irritable and frustrated in response, lowering mood and reducing our self-esteem and self-worth. Rather than thinking about the things you want to get rid of when de-cluttering, focus on what things you want to keep and what you want to have in your immediate environment.

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