Most everyone going into college has heard of the dreaded "freshman fifteen." If you haven't, the "freshman fifteen" refers to the weight gain many students face their first year of college. A lot of factors go into this phenomenon. A mixture of dining hall food, snacking, and general laziness can cause students to gain a little weight. Going into college, I was very worried about the "freshman fifteen." However, I set rules for myself that allowed me to actually lose a little weight my freshman year instead of gaining weight. These rules aren't strict at all, and I don't even require consistently working out. Here are some ways I avoided the "freshman fifteen" this year.

1. Eat consistently.

As a college student, it's easy to skip meals if your class schedule is odd or if you're just too lazy to go to a dining hall (ME). However, this causes a cycle that can make you gain weight. You'll skip a meal, and then during the next meal eat way more than you usually would. You'll also probably crave high-calorie foods because of your hunger. Eating a consistent three meals a day keeps your energy up throughout the day and also promotes better-portioned meals. You are more likely to maintain your weight if you eat consistent, well-portioned meals.

2. Drink water.

This is a big one. With access to soda machines in the dining halls, it's easy to skip the water and go straight for a Coca-Cola. Although I don't think it's a bad thing to treat yourself to a soda, drinking one at every meal can cause you to gain weight. Make sure to drink water with at least one meal a day. It is also easy to forget to drink water with such busy college schedules, but water is so important. Water helps to boost your metabolism and rid of the waste in your body. Keeping a reusable water bottle in my backpack has helped me to remember to drink water every day.

3. Walk to class more.

Having buses on campus is amazing, don't get me wrong. However, sometimes the buses become so convenient that you end up bussing everywhere instead of walking. If it is a nice day outside, consider walking to class instead of riding the bus. Sometimes setting a goal is helpful. A good place to start is 10,000 steps a day. Setting a goal gives incentive to your walking and is a fun way to stay healthy and challenge yourself.

4. Eat your fruits and veggies.

This is probably the toughest one. Dining halls definitely make it easy to eat unhealthily. Burgers, fries, hot wings, pasta, you name, the dining hall probably has it. Every now and then it is important to incorporate vegetables and fruits into your diet and doing this will make you feel much better than greasy foods will.

5. Relax.

Stress can be a large factor in weight gain, and college undoubtedly is very stressful. Homework, projects, and deadlines can stack up and make anyone feel crazy. Finding ways to relax is very important in reducing your stress levels. Make sure to take some time for yourself whether it be a nap, a face mask, or even just some Netflix. Self-care is a great way to avoid the "freshman fifteen."