The Freshman 15 is Real

The Freshman 15 is Real

These Tips Will Help You Avoid It
133
views

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!

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
2617288
views

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

gkb1509
gkb1509
164
views

Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

gkb1509
gkb1509

Related Content

Facebook Comments