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By Olivia Lawnick, Student at Newberry College
Every college-bound girl is terrified of the Freshman 15, the urban legend that is a lot less legend and very real. The unwanted weight gain can result from a few different factors such as overeating, stress and bad food choices.
The most important thing you can do to avoid the Freshman 15 is to be healthy. This means making smart choices about your eating, exercising, sleeping and other habits. Here is a start list of suggestions to consider!
1. Vitamins, Vitamins, VITAMINS!
Taking a daily multivitamin will help ensure that you stay healthy. Don’t like to swallow pills? Well try Vitafusion’s Multi Vites Gummies for Adults.
Also, start taking biotin supplements. This vitamin helps with your skin, hair and nails. Not to mention, it also helps with your metabolism. Both of these products can be found in stores like Walmart or your regular pharmacy.
In order to make sure you actually do take your daily vitamins DAILY, put them in a convenient spot. Try putting them with other things you will use every day. Mine are next to my hair brush and deodorant.
2. Hydrate the Healthy Way
What you drink can severely impact the amount of calories you ingest. Above all, drink more water. You already drink a lot of water? Good, but drink some more.
Don’t want water? Here are some healthier alternatives to your favorite high-calorie drinks:
- Diet soda
- Green tea
- Low-calorie Gatorade
- Sugar-free juice
- Skim milk
3. Find Time for Fitness
Starting a new schedule in a new place can be stressful, but what is a better stress relief than exercise? Most schools offer free fitness classes at the gym, so look and see if something interests you!
Also, many curriculums require a physical fitness class. Talk to your adviser and see if you can sign up. Getting a grade for breaking a sweat can be great motivation.
Were you on the soccer team in high school but wanted to focus on academics in college? Well an intramural league or club team can keep you fit and having fun, while still leaving study time as a priority.
Make time to walk and climb to class. This seems simple, but is often overlooked. A lot of people find themselves rushing to get to class, so they take the bus or the elevator. Give yourself enough time to walk to your building and climb up the stairs.
4. Don’t Skip
This means exercising and eating meals. Oh yeah, and class. Make sure you commit to making time for exercising several times a week and eating at least three meals a day. Eating regularly during the day, so you can avoid the late-night cravings and binging.
5. Cafeteria Choices
Be smart outside of class, especially in the cafeteria. Start off at the salad bar and don’t ruin your healthy vegetables by drowning them in dressing. Also, try to fill your plate with vegetables first.
Another great cafeteria trick is to make multiple trips. This way you can slow yourself down, giving your brain time to register that you are full.
At most schools, you can look up the week’s menu online. This way you can plan out your meals ahead of time. The benefit of this? Eating healthy most days so you can indulge on your favorite meal.
6. Begin with Breakfast
Make sure you wake up that metabolism and keep away cravings with breakfast. If you don’t have time to make it to the cafeteria, you can improvise in your dorm room. Always keep granola bars and fruit, like bananas, in stock. They are easy to eat on the go and are much better for you than Poptarts. Keep protein shakes and yogurts in your mini fridge. You might skip your morning shower, but breakfast should never be skipped!
7. Snack Trap: College Staples to Avoid
Stay away from these college snack “essentials.” They are usually high in sodium as well as calories. The best way to avoid them is not to buy them!
- Ramen noodles
- Easy Mac
8. Stash These Snacks Instead
Snacking, believe it or not, can actually help you maintain your diet and even lose weight. By fueling your body with healthy snacks throughout the day, you can keep your metabolism up. A lot of these can be found individually packaged, like the apple slices, for convenience and portion control.
- Low-fat yogurts
- Baby carrots
- Apple slices
- Fruit cups (in water)
- Sunflower seeds
- Special K Cracker Chips
- Quakers’ Popped Chips
Also, who said you needed to give up sweets completely? Try these to satisfy your sweet tooth:
- 100 Calorie snack pack cookies
- Fun-sized packets of M&M’s (portion control)
- Fruit snacks
9. Crush the Cravings, Especially the Late Night Ones
It is hard to give up bad habits, especially when they can be delicious. Everyone experiences cravings. It is perfectly healthy to snack between meals and is even encouraged. There is a limit to snacking, though, especially before bed.
Here are some tricks to curb the cravings and to prevent late night binges and mini fridge raids:
- Drink cold water
- Chew gum, especially minty flavors
- Brush your teeth
- Have a mug of green tea
- Go to bed earlier (before the cravings kick in)
10. Avoid Alcohol, Even After 21
Most freshmen are not 21 anyway, but these tips can also become habits that last. The calories, and there are many, in alcohol are empty. There isn’t any nutritional value. If you are looking for healthy choices, you will not find them in the bottle. So next time you are going out with your friends, volunteer to be the designated driver!