When you think of college, what comes to mind? Football games, frat parties and friends? What about the “freshman 15?” While incoming college freshmen have a lot to look forward to, many are haunted by the rumored weight gain.
A study at Rutgers University showed that the “freshman 15” is actually a myth. While the research did find that three-quarters of the students studied gained weight their first year, the average weight gain was seven pounds, not fifteen. This weight gain calculates out to eating approximately 112 excess calories per day. Weight gain during the first year of college can be attributed to being in a new environment and having more freedom to decide when, what and how much to eat. From endless trips to the dining hall, late night munchies or the temptation of the grease trucks, one is likely to feel a few extra pounds sneaking on.
Tip the scale in your favor by following these suggestions:
Mix it up: Choose a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean
proteins in appropriate amounts to keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Rise, shine & eat: Eating a healthy breakfast can provide you with the energy to concentrate and stay focused during those morning classes. Studies show that individuals who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat at lunch.
Choose healthy snacks: Low fat snacks such as popcorn, whole grain pretzels, fruits and veggies are great choices. Just remember, excess calories from all foods can lead to weight gain.
Limit eating while studying: Try setting aside separate times to eat and study. Mindless munching while you read, write a paper or compute math problems can add up.
Control portion sizes: If there are several items in the dining hall that you want to try, keeping the portion sizes small can help prevent you from packing on the pounds.
Don’t forget to exercise: Get off the bus a stop early, join an intramural sports team or take a walk around campus with a friend. Establishing a regular exercise routine promotes health and is an important factor in weight stability.
College is the time to gain knowledge – not weight!