Adjusting your diet to avoid the infamous Freshman 15, Sophomore Surplus, and Junior Jiggle.
The tips are all pretty cliché – “Drink in moderation?” “No late night Taco Bell?” Come on! As a Freshman 15 alum (it may have been closer to 20, and no you can’t see pictures) I can promise you it doesn’t take a whole lot before you realize your jeans don’t quite fit the same… Or fit at all. But the weight gain doesn’t have to be inevitable. Here are 5 real ways to prevent your friends from barely recognizing you at Christmas Break!
1. Assess the endless buffet.
Whether you’re at a state university of 20,000 or at a small town college of 900, the endless buffet tends to be a staple. But before you get completely overwhelmed by the hundreds of options and bee-line it to the dessert bar, know that schools have nutrition info on every item they serve, and it’s usually available to students online or in the cafeteria. While it sounds a little psychotic, it’s worth taking a look to see if that pizza or lasagna can be a lunch time staple or just an occasional indulgence. And please check out portion sizes! It’s the lamest term in history, but eating a plate of chicken teriyaki meant for two every day will eventually be the difference between you and you + 10lbs.
A lot of places have do-it-yourself lines – sandwiches, omelets, pasta, salad bar, etc. These are great options because you know exactly what you’re eating. But, be careful when it comes to the salad bar! While it seems like the obvious go-to for avoiding weight gain, adding fried chicken, croutons, cheese and Caesar dressing to iceberg lettuce is neither healthy, nor low-calorie. You've instead created a dreaded six-pack killer. You’d be better off saving the calories for a round at the fro-yo machine afterward! This, coming from a girl who had a love affair with the chocolate chip waffle maker, and topped it with ice cream. Shhh.
2. Break the fast.
You finally don’t have your parents yelling at you to get up so you can press snooze at least 5 more times before sprinting to class. While the extra sleep feels like it’s the most important thing in the world, it’s not. Breakfast is!
I’m not talking a full omelet and fruit salad sit down meal. Just give yourself 10 extra minutes and make a shake (like Syntha 6), grab a protein/kashi bar, or even heat up some instant oatmeal. Not only will you be more awake and able to concentrate better (remember? class is why you’re in college), you also won’t devour the endless buffet come lunch time 3 hours later. And know what the best part is? You’ll even have time to brush your teeth before taking on the day. Win, win!
3. Dorm Eating
While the cafeteria might be quite the social scene, it’s not the only place to eat. You live in a dorm with a kitchen. It might not be on your floor but it exists so take advantage of it! If you learn how to cook you’ll a) make a lot of new friends and b) be in great control of what’s going in that hot bod. And luckily you don’t need to run to the bookstore to pick up Cooking for Dummies; Pia’s here to save us from a life of Ramen with her video on cooking in your lovely new abode, so check her out!
Now, in terms of what gets brought into your dorm room, don’t bring crap. This includes when you’re homesick (you laugh now…) and mom sends you her famous chocolate chip cookies. It also includes baked goods from the opposite sex. So sweet! But the answer is NO.
Instead, load up on healthy snacks like string cheese, fruit, protein/kashi bars, and nuts. For a cheat sheet, stick to this handy Top 10 list. As long as the Häagen-Dazs isn’t in your freezer, you can’t eat it.
4. Alcohol Adds up
You’re probably going to drink at some point, so here’s the deal: These beverages have a lot of calories, even if you avoid soda and juices. So if you drink too much day after day those calories will turn into fat. It also means the chances are higher that you’ll either go home with someone and burn those calories OR, more likely, eat a second dinner late night. After months of this, you’ll pack on a few more pounds. Then comes the next day….
Hangover ensues (although, now that you have this Hangover Prevention Guide it will be much more manageable) and you don’t make great decisions at the all-you-can-eat buffet. Hangovers also usually mean not working out. And guess what the result will be... That’s right, the freshman 15!
5. Make fit friends
This is crucial. Not everyone goes to college as an athlete, so for us regular kids, you have to seek out active friends. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re at least semi-athletic – so grab a workout plan, join an intramural team or find out who on your floor is down for a pick-up game. One way or another, make working out a regular habit.
In addition to staying in shape, you’ll meet lots of new friends who are into the same things you are. It’s no secret that you’re more likely to be active and eat well if your friends do. At the same time, if your friends are lazy and grab late night McDonalds regularly, chances are great that you’ll eventually get sucked into that universe. Moral of the story? Seek out people who like being in shape, care about eating healthily, and set yourself up for a Freshman-15-free year!