Avoid the Freshman 15

Freshman year of college is a time filled with endless worries about being away from home, getting good grades, making new friends and let’s not fail to mention that freshman 15. But is this dreaded double digit weight gain an urban myth or dreaded reality? There is no certain answer to this question, but there are definitely ways to help avoid some of the unwanted weight gain that can often coincide with the stress of your first year in college. Here are my top five tips to help maintain a healthy weight your freshman year:

Walk to class and take the stairs

The health benefits for walking are endless, and with all the hills on campus, you’re sure to get sculpted calves and a nice toosh. From helping to maintain your body weight to enhancing your mental well-being, walking is a sure-fire way to help avoid the freshman 15. So put down those keys and strap on those tennis shoes, and don’t forget your SPF 110 and water bottle!

Stay Hydrated

Water makes up more than two thirds of the human body weight, making it extremely essential. Just like a car cannot run without oil, your body can not function properly without an adequate amount of water. According to livestrong.com, adults should try and drink half of their body weight in ounces of water per day. This means if I weigh 120 pounds, then I would want to drink at least 60 ounces of water daily. This number is subject to increase depending on the amount of physical activity you partake in. From helping energize your muscles to keeping your skin glowing and nicely hydrated, water has many benefits aside from weight maintenance. So put down that Starbucks Chai Latte and stock up on plenty of H20.

Maintain healthy eating habits

College can be stressful for freshman, especially since your parents aren’t watching over your every move. But this doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch the fruits and vegetables and make the McDonalds drive-thru a part of your daily routine. It’s also important that you eat at regular times and try not to skip meals. Skipping meals can be easily done when you are loaded with 18 hours of classes and extracurricular activities, so be mindful of your busy days and carry a sack lunch so you have something to snack on between classes.  Most professors don’t mind light snacking in class, but please just try and avoid a five course feast in the middle of lecture. So practice portion control and try and incorporate a fruit or a vegetable with each meal.

Take advantage of Intramural and club sports

Sam Houston State University offers a wide variety of sports, ranging from volleyball and flag football to Quidditch and Ultimate Frisbee. Joining a sports team is a great way to meet new people while still staying active. If organized sports aren’t your cup of tea, incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. Equipped with an indoor track, various cardio and weight lifting machines, and a full schedule of group exercise classes; the Rec Center is a great on-campus resource for staying fit. Exercising regularly leads to better physical and mental health and is a great way to help avoid that undesirable muffin top.

Recharge your mind and body

Get plenty of rest and I don’t mean sleeping through that dreaded 8am! Getting a proper amount of rest can be vital to maintaining a healthy weight. Lack of sleep can lead to stress which in turn can prompt overeating. So make sleep a priority and try and aim for 7 to 8 hours of rest each night. Suggestions for better sleep are to avoid caffeine in the evening, don’t over nap, keep a regular sleeping schedule and finally no watching TV and listening to loud music before bed.

Gaining weight your freshman year is not completely inevitable as there are going to be good days and bad ones, but a few simple changes to your daily regimen can help you ward off the excess weight and keep you physically and mentally healthy.

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