Overcome the Freshman 15

Tracey Cheek, Staff Writer

   The “freshman 15.” We have all heard about it, witnessed it or gone through it ourselves. The stress from being thrown into a new environment far away from home is hard to cope with, and a schedule that starts at eight o’clock in the morning and finishes at nine at night, how is one expected to eat a solid, healthy three meals each day? Studies have shown that college students do in fact weight gain on average seven and a half to nine pounds their freshman year and a total of 10 to 14 pounds throughout their college years. All it takes to avoid this weight gain is a few, simple steps and you will be living a healthy college lifestyle.

   Here at Oneonta, we have different healthy options in each of our dining halls. As part of a stay-healthy routine, try to go to a different dining hall each day, or even each meal. Try and mix up your meals and not stick to the same foods each day. Instead of grabbing the quick burger and fries, wait in line for a fresh salad or a grilled veggie wrap from “Wrapz.” Keep in mind to limit the amount of dressing you pour on top. Go for the stir-fry station, and stock up on fruits and vegetables. The more colorful your plate looks, the healthier it really is.

   Another way to avoid the so-called “freshman 15” is to fight those late-night cravings: having the 24-hour vending machine available to us has definitely made it easier to go for that box of cookies to get you through the paper that is due tomorrow, or the infamous “cold cheese pizza” that everybody swarms over after a night out. But having unhealthy snacks late at night is extremely harmful to your body. Try keeping some healthy options in your dorm room to satisfy those cravings, such as carrots, pretzels, peanut butter, fruits, low fat yogurt or low fat granola. Another tip: try to avoid eating and studying at the same time. It may seem like a good idea to multitask in this way, but by doing so you are not thinking about what and how much you really are eating, and this could result in that “freshman 15.”

   An additional key to avoiding the “freshman 15” is to simply stay active. Easier said than done, especially with this tough transition into the college lifestyle. But it can be both easy and fun; all you have to do is make it a part of your daily routine. The freshman buildings have full access to fully equipped workout rooms—that leaves no room to blame not being able to work. Freshman and dietetics major Seanna Pratt has some wise words for all freshman: “Students should definitely try to stay active on campus. Whether it’s joining intramural or club sports teams, participating in fitness classes, going to the gym or even just nightly walks around campus.”

   Staying healthy in college may seem like a challenge with such busy schedules; between school, work and other activities it may seem like a good idea to grab quick and easy-to-go snacks to satisfy your hunger. So try your best to make smart eating choices; wait the extra five minutes in line at the dining hall for some real food, and stock up on nutritious snacks for your dorm room. Most importantly, stay active! Say goodbye to the “freshman 15” and hello to a healthy college lifestyle!

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