5 Ways To Beat The Freshman 15

African American high school or college studentsAs students are back in the full swing of college, there are many things to focus on: classes, studying, working, extracurriculars and making time for their social life. Unfortunately, healthy eating is one of those considerations that goes on the back burner. There are several reasons that explain why students are falling behind on the healthy eating regimen: unlimited food in the student cafe, lack of healthy options on campus and the limited ability to afford the expensive but healthier meals. With late night pizza ordering during those intense study sessions, convenient fast food meals between classes or even “stress snacking” that occurs, students are packing on the “freshman 15.” The freshman 15 is an expression commonly used to describe the extra weight that students put on during their freshman year of college. Research shows that students gain an average of 3 to 10 pounds during their first two years of college. Most of the weight gain, however, happens during the first semester of freshman year.

These weight gains do not have to occur. By counteracting those unhealthy habits and practicing healthy ones, students can reduce their risk of gaining the extra weight. The Washington Post shares some helpful strategies to fighting off  the freshman 15.

Beware of the cafeteria. Yes, your meal plan does give you an all-you-can-eat ticket to the entrees served, but that does not mean you need to stuff your belly every time you eat. While fighting off temptations may become difficult, ease the urge by following these steps: First, walk through and see what all your options are, and gain a feel of what you have a taste for. Second, try having a small salad with each meal. This will help fill you up as you prepare to eat your main entree. Third, aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits, and fill the other half with lean protein and whole grains.

Group workouts. Believe it or not, many people find going to the gym intimidating. Some people fear going alone; feel unsure of how to use the equipment; or are uncertain of how to execute a proper workout, along with others common reasons. Fight those fears by going with friends. Group workouts create an opportunity for each person to learn a new workout and to become comfortable in the gym. It also allows for members of the group to push one another and provide motivation that may be needed. Hold each other accountable. Create a workout schedule, choose workout classes to attend, get active and stay fit!