The “freshman 15,” a term describing the stereotype that college students gain at least 15 pounds during their freshman year, has haunted me since my mother first warned me about it a year ago.
I have heard horror stories of young people heading off to college – thin and healthy – and returning home the following summer a much rounder version of their old selves. So, being officially terrified of the possibility of having to buy next year’s summer clothes three sizes larger, I arrived at Corban in late August. I was determined to avoid the freshman 15 at all costs.
When I set foot in the cafeteria for my very first official meal, I swiped my ID card with pride, knowing I would make healthy choices. However, my pride soon plummeted when I saw that my choices for healthy eating were either a salad or green beans, neither being my favorite.
When I reached the end of my first week of college, I also began to doubt I’d ever get in a decent workout, due to a major lack of time and energy.
However, as the days went by, I began to adjust to the madness of college life, and it’s safe to say that I now live a fairly healthy lifestyle. So far, I’ve managed to avoid the freshman 15: here’s how.
1. I always try to start off my day with breakfast of some kind. Because I usually sleep through the Aramark breakfast, a nutrition bar or oatmeal is usually what I end up eating. It’s satisfying and will usually last me until lunch.
2. I usually have coffee in some shape or form during the day. I have to be very careful, though, because coffee can have a lot of empty calories. A good trick is to get it with non-fat milk. Also, I try to get a size tall or the smallest size, and, if I’m feeling extra healthy, I go for sugar-free. Not quite as filling as a venti, it still hits the spot.
3. I usually eat lunch in Aramark. Because much of the food is greasy or sugary, I am not usually left with a whole lot of options. However, I have learned that there is more than just a plain salad and vegetables. I always mix things up and try to never have the same thing for lunch every day, because it gets old quickly. One day I might have a salad and soup (avoiding creamy soups), and another day I might have a light baked potato with a side of veggies. I always try to avoid the dessert table, as tempting as it may be. And I usually get water or skim milk to drink instead of soda or chocolate milk.
4. I try to drink lots of water during the day. Sometimes I mix in Crystal Lite in my water bottle to add flavor.
5. For dinner, I usually either eat something in my dorm or go out to eat. If I eat in my dorm, I usually have things like microwavable soup or chili, or a healthy microwavable dinner. If I go out, I avoid fast food and usually stick to Subway. Jamba Juice is also a good option, because they have drinks that are made to be meals. My favorite is the chunky strawberry, with strawberries, granola, peanut butter, and banana chunks. It is very tasty as well as filling.
6. If I have a snack after dinner, I try to make it as healthy as possible. One hundred calorie packs are great for late-night snacking and won’t leave you feeling guilty. Also, I might have Triscuits or Wheat Thins. I also love eating the butter-less popcorn out of a mini bag. It’s proportioned just right so you don’t overeat.
7. I try to go to the gym at least three times a week. I usually go between 8 and 10 p.m. and work out for about an hour. On the days that I don’t have time to go to the gym, I usually do some basic exercises in my room, such as sit-ups, push-ups and lunges.
8. Finally, I try to get a good night’s sleep, although it rarely happens. My trick for getting to bed early? Managing my homework and staying off Facebook after 10 p.m.