Avoiding the freshman 15

By Unigo

Rumor has it that many new college students pack on about 15 pounds (the Freshman 15) during their first year in college.  While there are several factors that may contribute to this phenomenon, like stress and lifestyle changes, students don’t have to fall victim to unwanted pounds. Follow these simple guidelines for transitioning to life away from home -- you may even shed a pound or two.

Walk everywhere

Don’t drive your car to class and, during the daytime, skip the shuttle. The additional exercise you get from walking or biking to class will help you keep off weight and give you a chance to see more of the campus. Who knows, you may even make a friend or two along the way.

Eat smaller meals more often

Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast not only helps kick-start your brain in the morning, it also reduces the risk of over-indulging at your next meal. Be sure to pack healthy snacks to take with you and munch on between classes. By eating four to six smaller meals a day, you are less likely to overeat and gain weight.

Drink lots of water

Replace those sugary sodas and sports drinks with water. It’s important to stay hydrated. It's recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you dislike the taste of plain water, use a flavor enhancer, such as Crystal Light or MiO. Skip the caffeine and sugar, which may cause breakouts, and give your body plenty of H20 instead!

Limit alcohol intake

Did you know that alcohol lowers your blood sugar level? When your blood sugar drops, your body signals that it needs energy (food), and you get the munchies. This can result in overeating and indulging in less than healthy choices late at night. Drink in moderation and never on an empty stomach.

Stock up on healthy snacks

Keep a small refrigerator in your room. Stock it with plenty of healthy snacks, such as fruit, yogurt and cheese. When you get the urge to nibble during those late night study sessions, simply reach for the healthy options instead of calling for a pizza or running out for a burger.

Get it grilled

Skip the fried foods at the cafeteria and restaurants. Ask to have your food grilled, baked, broiled or steamed. By eliminating fried foods, you help reduce your fat intake and become more heart healthy!

Implementing these simple suggestions will not only help you avoid the Freshman 15, but it will also condition you to live a healthier (and happier) lifestyle. The choices you make during your college years will have an impact on your future self as well. Packing on the pounds is a whole lot easier than taking them off. Eat smart from the start, and the only thing you will carry with you at graduation will be your diploma...not a lot of unwanted weight.