How to Avoid the Freshman 15

Hey y'all!

I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of the "Freshman 15", but if you haven't...
Freshman 15 : when a first year college student comes back the following year and appears to have gained about 15 pounds from eating too much and not enough exercise. - Urban Dictionary
I think a lot of people think it's a myth, but it really isn't. I have so many friends that have felt discouraged because they gained weight during their freshman year (or the sophomore 30). A lot of the time, weight gain sneaks up on us and it's not until we look back at a picture and think "wow, I used to look like THAT?"

Well, I'm lucky enough that I actually lost 5 lbs when I was a freshman in college! So I hope that you take my advice because it's a lot easier to be proactive and avoid gaining weight rather than to gain it and try to work it off!




1. Always walk to class. 
I lived in the farthest away dorms from the quad, which to me, was a great thing. I only ever took the bus if it was raining, so I got tons of exercise going to all of my classes. It meant I didn't have to do any extra workouts, especially if I woke up late and had to sprint all the way across campus to make it to class on time!

A great goal to set for yourself is to walk 10,000 steps a day. You can use the health app on your iPhone or you can use a FitBit wristband to help keep track of your steps. If you're on the competitive side, you can challenge friends and family members to see who can walk the most over a weeks time!

2. Don't keep junk food in your dorm.
This is a hard one! I basically lived on apple slices and chicken tenders my freshman year. At one point, my roommates told me to stop buying them because they thought I needed more variety. It wasn't very healthy, and I knew that. But it's all about balance. I rarely ever ate real junk food. The only super sugary filled thing I ate was pop tarts, but that was still on occasion!

I know that if I had kept things like chips, candy, etc. I probably would have stuffed my face with them. So in order to avoid that mess, I just never bought them. If you have a problem with not being able to say no at the grocery store, then take along one of your friends to help you!

3. Avoid the dining halls.
Okay so it may not super practical for everyone, but I actually canceled my meal plan. Since I'm in a sorority, we have food at the houses every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I actually still ate most of my meals at my dorm room. We had a half kitchen so it had a full-sized refrigerator and a microwave (nothing too fancy). By avoiding the dining halls, I was never tempted to eat the junk that they serve there. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

If you absolutely cannot avoid the dining halls, then just try to avoid the areas you know you can't resist. I'm not a huge salad person, so don't think I'm telling you to only eat lettuce. But if you know you can't eat a normal amount of chicken tenders because you love them so much, then maybe avoid getting chicken tenders. Portion control!!

4. Take your time eating.
It's important to think about what you're putting into your body. Take your time while you eat, because most people eat way more than they need. Feeling full is actually your brain reacting to you putting food or drink in your stomach. It usually takes around 20 minutes for your brain to register these chemicals.

A good tip is to put your fork down in between each bite until you're completely done chewing and have swallowed the food in your mouth. If you're with friends, talk as much as you can (without your mouth being full). You'll be amazed by how much less you have to eat because you took the time to listen to your body and actually allow it to digest your food.

5. Drink water!!!
Hydration is a major 🔑. Drink a full glass of water when you wake up, before and AFTER a meal, and right before you go to bed. I had a nutritionist tell me once that sometimes you may feel hungry, but you're actually thirsty. So if you feel like you want a snack, but you just ate, try drinking a full glass of water and waiting about 30 minutes. If you're still hungry, then go ahead and eat. 

Remember you should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day.

6. Limit alcohol and soda intake.
First of all, if you're under 21, you really shouldn't be drinking alcohol. But I'm not going to be your mom here. Instead, I'm going to tell you the facts. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories (I'm not a person who counts their calories, but if you are..) because they're made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar. If that's how you want to spend your nights, then be my guest. But don't go crying over how you've gained a ton of weight because you drink 5 natty lights every night of the week. Also : think about all the drunk food you'll avoid eating!

Drinking soda can actually cause dehydration. They're usually high in sugar, sodium and caffeine which clearly isn't very good for your body. I'm not saying stop drinking your diet cokes, but just be sure to limit them to once a week!

7. Consider going vegan.
Okay so I didn't do this my freshman year. I started being a vegan at the start of this year and I actually love it. I get to eat as much food as I want and it has actually made me learn how to cook. I live a HCLF (high carb, low fat) vegan lifestyle, so I eat lots and lots of good carbs. 

Dairy and meat are both high in cholesterol and low in fiber. Most people get nowhere near enough fiber in their diet. And not to sound like an annoying vegan but "approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy"(source). So if you don't feel to great after eating mac and cheese, maybe cut that out of your diet. 

Definitely do some research if you're even a little bit interested. It's great for your body, the environment and for animals!

8. Understand that you are not a number
I get that you want to look your best, but if you gain weight, don't beat yourself up about it. Freshman year of college is one of the greatest times in your life, so don't pass up on eating that pizza at 2 am with your friends. I actually put on 10 pounds my sophomore year and I look and feel better than I did my freshman year. Life is all about balance.

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8 comments

  1. This is great advice girlie! I might have to save this and check back, my freshman 15 was more like a freshman 30. I just love pizza haha oops :-(

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    1. Rachel,

      Ugh I definitely understand that girl. Pizza is life haha!

      - Sarah

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  2. Love this! Another huge thing that contributes to weight gain is stress. I know whenever I go back to school, whether that be this past year or my freshman year, I always have the hardest time actually losing weight, but whenever I'm back at home for the summer, the weight just comes right off.
    -Abigail
    livingthegraylife.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for adding this Abigail! I totally agree that stress is a huge contributor to weight gain.
      - Sarah

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  3. Love this post and your style of writing! I feel like you write how you would talk :)

    I def agree with avoiding the dining halls...even the healthy options were literally just a bed of iceberg lettuce and cheese. It's definitely more work to cook on your own or spend the extra money eating out, but it's kind of worth it.

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    Replies
    1. Katherine,
      Thanks so much! That makes me so happy to hear. And ugh yes, I hate wasted my dining dollars but sometimes it's just so necessary.
      - Sarah

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  4. Great tips, and wish I looked into these tips way before college xD

    http://thesophiadiaries.com/top5/top-5-places-to-buy-lapel-pins-online

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  5. Thanks so much for the advice, even as a junior in college its important to eat healthy, which is key to not only being successful in the classroom but keeping you at a healthy weight. I unfortunately don't have the opportunity to not eat in off campus locations and have a meal plan. I think the key idea to not gaining the freshman 15 in eat in moderation and actually eat fruits and vegetables not just chicken fingers and pizza everyday because its not available to you.

    megan // mysprinkleofprep.wordpress.com

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