Fast food, bus system may make you pack on the pounds

Whether you’re coming to the University for the first time or you’re returning for another year, there’s one thing many students face as they make the transition back into the college life. Scattered all across campus though, the “Freshman 15” lies in wait. It can happen to people you know — classmates, roommates, coworkers. But worst of all, it can happen to you.

Fortunately, there’s a way to stop living in fear! That’s right, you heard it here first! You can keep your wardrobe right where you like it. You may even drop a size or two. The only thing you have to do is take advantage of these easy opportunities that you’ll come across in your everyday, student lives.

Walk everywhere

One of the first things the University pitches to you is its convenient public transportation system. You’ll start planning your schedule around the buses, figuring out just how long you can sleep in before you’ve got to drag yourself to the bus stop and catch a ride to class. It sounds even better when the snow starts falling and sidewalks start freezing.

Don’t get me wrong; they are spot on, but not if you’re looking to keep off the pounds. The best advice is to suck it up and stay active. Your classes shouldn’t be that far from where you’re living. And in the winter, as long as you’re not rocking a sleeveless, you should be able to keep your weight where you want it without freezing to death.

Find the ARC

That’s the Activities and Recreation Center, loaded with workout equipment, an upstairs running track and courts for basketball, volleyball and even racquetball. It’s even got a competitive pool in the basement. If you can’t find something that satisfies your workout needs in this building, you’re too picky.

All returning students know where this building is by now, especially if you’ve been remotely invested Illini spots — namely football, which is all but conjoined with the back of the ARC. Freshmen, you don’t have an excuse either. You’re almost guaranteed to walk past it on your way to the State Farm Center for Convocation. In case you are still clueless, the ARC is located on Peabody Drive, just west of Fourth Street.

Avoid the chains

It doesn’t matter which way you drove onto campus. You’ve all seen a variety of fast food chains, from Taco Bell and McDonald’s to the new Wendy’s on Sixth Street, just off of Green Street. Before long, you’ll be reaching out to all of the late-night delivery joints, ordering pizza and sandwiches to your stomach’s content.

I know you might think it’s going to work out perfectly and you’ll be able to live as happy as ever, but there is only one way that relationship can end. If you eat a lot of fast food, you are going to gain weight. For most people, there is no way around it. It might be tough — you’ll have to let them down easy — but if you’re worried about your weight, it has to be done.

Take the stairs

Some of you are going to be lucky enough to have elevators in your residence halls or private certified housing buildings (not you, Taft-Van Doren. Fourth-floorers, I know your pain.) It’s going to make move-in day a whole lot easier, and you should take advantage of it that day.

During the school year, though, it’s one of the easiest ways to stay moderately in shape. Think about it. You’re already going up or down, so why not take advantage of it on the days you just don’t feel like going to the gym? It’s a tough thing to do, but resisting the urge could be your fundamental way of steering clear of the “Freshman 15.”

J.J. is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected]