Starting college is a stressful experience. You have to get used to a new schedule, living situation, and social life. You may also pick up some new eating habits. When you are busy hitting the books, it’s easy to settle for a candy bar and giant latte at breakfast or scarf down fast food in between classes. And unless you are a college athlete, you might not get as much exercise as you did in high school. But is it true that freshmen in college gain 15 pounds?
Freshman 15 Facts
According to TeensHealth, recent studies show that some first-year students do gain weight, although it might not be the full freshman 15. On average, students gain 3 to 10 pounds during the first two years of college, with most of the weight gain occurring in the first semester of freshman year. Transitioning to life in college can be a taxing experience, and many people overeat in response to stress, anxiety, homesickness, and other uneasy feelings.
Although gaining some weight during college is normal as you adjust to your new lifestyle, gaining excessive weight or rapidly gaining weight may be a problem. Weight gain carries health risks, so you should try to prevent it as much as possible. Here some tips for avoiding the freshman 15:
- Get Enough Sleep. Getting enough sleep is important to maintaining healthy weight because sleep helps to prevent stress, which prompts overeating. Aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise Regularly. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. If you do not like going to the gym or participating in organized exercise programs, work exercise into your life by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or biking instead of driving to class.
- Develop Healthy Eating Habits. Choose nutritious foods and watch portion sizes. Stock up on healthy snacks, like fruits and nuts, so you are not tempted to reach for unhealthy, calorie-laden options. You should also keep late night snacking to a minimum, even if you have to stay up late and cram. In addition, avoid mindlessly sipping high-calorie drinks, like coffee drinks, soda, and processed juice. Instead, keep a water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated.
Packing on the pounds during college is not inevitable. By implementing these healthy habits, you can prevent weight gain while staying in tip-top physical and mental condition.