5 Killer Ways to Beat the “Freshman 15”

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By Raza Imam

Keep the pound off while away at college.

College can be a stressful time. I remember my very first day of college, walking into a political science class. I knew I would love the class, but 20 minutes into it, the professor had already assigned 200 pages of reading to be completed by the end of the week, and I still had another 3 classes to attend that day! Needless to say, I dropped that class that very week. Perhaps it’s this kind of stress that causes 70% of college students to gain weight their first year. It’s typically anywhere from 7 to 15 pounds, hence the nickname the “freshman 15”. Despite the pressures of college life, the “freshman 15” is totally avoidable. So don’t fret, here are a few tips to help prevent unwanted weight gain :

1). Eat Breakfast: You’ve heard time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. It’s easy to pass up breakfast, especially when you’re rushing to an early morning lecture, but skipping meals affects more than your brain. Studies show that missing breakfast causes your metabolism to slow down, taking longer to burn calories. This is the body’s way of protecting itself from starvation. If you don’t eat in the morning, your body adapts by slowing the rate at which you metabolize food, because it doesn’t know when you will eat again. In fact, by actually eating breakfast, you give your metabolism a jump start, forcing it to burn calories faster in preparation for the next meal. Breakfast also keeps you full so you don’t stuff your face at lunch.

2). Take Breaks: Physical activity can be just as important as studying and doing homework. Rather than forcing a workout, take time to do something enjoyable like playing basketball, swimming, or walking around campus with friends. Physical activity will help recharge you and improve your ability to concentrate also.

3). Eat Your Fruits and Veggies: Like most things in life, weight gain is a gradual process, and is the result of less excercise and poor eating habits.  In a world of of the cafeteria food and vending machines, make an effort to have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Not only are they good for you, but the fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables helps make you feel fuller, longer.

4). Keep a Schedule: A lot of weight gain in college is due to weird schedules, making it harder to monitor how much you’re really eating and when. If you study all night and don’t wake up until 1pm the next day, it’s hard to maintain a well balanced diet. Having a schedule will give you a greater sense of control over your college life in general. Allocating time for studying, exercising, and socializing will dramatically reduce stress and the feeling of helplessness come exam time.

5). Watch Liquid Calories: The two official drinks of college are beer and coffee… you want to avoid both of them. Not only does alcohol have a ton of calories (it is a sugar afterall, but you already remember that from chemistry class, but it impairs your judgement and keeps you from making sensible (food) decisions. Also, hitting up the local cafe can add a ton of calories to your diet, especially if you don’t watch what you order. To help monitor your coffee calorie intake, try this coffee calorie calculator.

So there you have it, 5 easy ways to maintain a healthy weight in college!

Author Information

Raza Imam writes for The Coffee Maker Store, a business on a mission to be the coolest coffee maker site on the planet. Visit us for coffee makers, espresso makers, and coffee accessories for your dorm room!

References

Kids Health: Beating the Freshmen 15

University of Minnesota: Power Up Your Day with Breakfast

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Pyramid


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Categories: Personal Advice