You’ve heard about it. You’re worried about it; the famous freshman 15 pounds that seem to mysteriously appear on your tummy, hips, butt and thighs. Here’s why they happen and how to avoid them.
How the Freshman 15 Happen
The first culprit is not food, its booze. Once at college you will probably be going to a lot of parties where there is a lot of beer and other alcoholic beverages available. Here is a fun fact about alcohol that no one tells you. Fats and alcohol are the most energy-dense foods. Basically, drinking alcohol and putting pure butter in your mouth equate to the same amount of calories. Getting trashed multiple times a week just because you can will pack on the pounds faster than you can imagine. So how can you manage your party life and still fit into your skinny jeans? Easy, drink less. You’re entire body will thank you for it.
The next culprit is the college cafeteria. You are exposed to a larger variety of food at one given moment than you have ever been before. There will be tempting foods like pizza or mega burritos that just make your mouth water. Go ahead and indulge in them once in a awhile, but remember, the salad bar is your friend.
Don’t Deny It
People gain weight unexpectedly because they aren’t paying attention to their bodies or they have excuses for it. If you take a little time to pay attention, you’ll catch an extra five pounds, spend a week eating and drinking just a bit more conservatively, and get back on track. How? First, skip the scale and slip into your skinny jeans once a week. If they still fit, you’re doing fine. Jeans are the most honest clothing material around. They are better than any scale or mirror. However don’t make the excuse, “the clothes dryer shrank my jeans” because it didn’t.
Most college campuses have gyms that students have access to. It’s part of your tuition and you’re paying for it, so going makes sense. Find a gym buddy so you motivate each other and show up multiple times a week. Exercise gives you energy, alleviates stress, helps you sleep, and increases your mood; all big benefits to help you survive the challenges that college presents you. That and the gym is packed with guys. It’s an opportunity to network and meet new people.
When it Happens
If you have been caught unaware and finally notice that yes, you are a victim of the freshman 15, don’t despair. What goes up does come down with a little work and discipline. Exercise, filling up on fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains and kicking alcohol until you get back to your desired weight is key. Losing one to two pounds a week is healthy. Crash diets are not.