Stay healthy to avoid ‘freshman 15’

By Samantha Roberson, Social Media Director

Everyone’s college experience is different. Some students gain 20 pounds while other lose it. So why is the “freshman 15” still a popular myth we’re constantly warned about at graduation parties?

It is easy to gain weight in college. Many late nights are spent studying, a lot of times with groups. Almost every student can tell you they have a go-to snack for studying, and it’s often unhealthy. Living in the dorms gives students all the opportunity to indulge in late-night snacking. Dining retail locations such as 57 North and Busey Bean and Green are open until midnight and sell things like chips, candy, baked goods and soda. Only every once in a while will you find fruit or vegetables at these locations. When students get the food, they often ignore the nutrition facts panel and eat several servings without even knowing.

Here are some ways to avoid the freshman 15.

Credits are a curse in disguise

If you’re living in University Housing, many upperclassmen will tell you to get the 10/45 meal plan because you get 45 credits a week you can use at those dining retail locations. However, I recommend the 12/15 meal plan because it forces you to go to the dining hall to eat, which usually has way more healthy options compared to the other locations. You’ll still have credits, but just 15 a week. If you let them accumulate after the first week, the credits you haven’t used will roll over so you’ll end up having about 30 a week. Having to eat in the dining hall will prevent late night snacking and will inspire you to eat more meals than snacks overall.

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Exercise … obviously

This goes without saying, but you need to stay active to stay healthy. Many freshman come into the University after spending years playing sports and let fitness get away from them. While there are several gyms and recreation centers on campus, getting the motivation to go can be difficult. The ARC is one of the country’s largest on-campus recreation centers, and I recommend taking advantage of it. I recommend buying a group fitness pass which gives you unlimited access to group classes from cycling to yoga. You sign up for them based on your availability and since you paid for it, you’re more likely to actually go. If you prefer playing a sport, the University has an intramural season for almost any sport you can think of, and if we don’t have it, you can start it.

Get sleep

College students take sleep for granted. You need sleep to keep your body functioning correctly, and no amount of energy drinks will give you the same effect a good night’s sleep will. Sleep deprivation causes hormone changes often related to hunger and appetite. The more sleep deprived you are, the more hungry you will be, so sleep!

Stay hydrated

Thirst can often be disguised as hunger. Before taking a trip to the dining hall, drink a bottle of water, wait about 15 minutes and see how you feel. If you were truly thirsty, you’ll feel satisfied, but if not your stomach will let you know!

Take FSHN 120: Contemporary Nutrition

This should be a class everyone is required to take. It fulfills a general education requirement and teaches you the basic information you need to know to stay healthy. Everyone’s body is different and what works for some may not work for others.

This seems like a lot, but for the first time you are completely responsible for yourself, and when you’re unhealthy, other aspects of your life may start to suffer.

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