Advice to Live By: Freshman 15

By Catherine Kastberg

As much as we all try to play it off as a joke, the “freshman 15” is in fact a real thing. Not only is it a real issue, but it is a problem many of us have encountered face-to-face. Gaining weight and college seem to go hand-in-hand. Since we are a now in the second semester of this year, everyone is probably well aware of the struggles we all face in the cafeteria. It does not help that the pizza buffet is one of the first things you see, followed by french fries and the Mexican station in the near distance.

You definitely have to make a conscious effort to eat healthy. The buffet-style arrangement of food also does not help, since you can go up and pick up as much food as you want. Eat everything in moderation! That’s the key. If you want a cookie, then eat a cookie. If you deprive yourself of the things you really want, then at some point or another you are going to lose it.

The excessive drinking and endless beer calories are no help either. Alcohol plays a huge role in weight gain the first year of college. Not only is it the empty calories, but the next day hangover encourages lazy behavior which is usually accompanied by poor eating. If you are aware of this fact and make even a small effort, such as taking a walk around campus, I promise it will make a difference.

We have all heard of that awful place called the gym. It can be an intimidating place, filled with athletes and upperclassmen who have developed a routine that appears to work perfectly. Finding the right time to go is very important. One minute, the gym is a barren desert and, a second later, it is so packed that any hope of getting on a treadmill is lost. Try going in the morning. I have found that any time before 2 p.m. is usually best.

The freshmen 15 is completely avoidable. As long as you make a conscious effort to eat healthy, consume junk food in moderation and develop a gym routine, you will be fine. If you end up a little off-track, who cares, you can always refocus yourself. You are never going to learn if you do not make these little mistakes, and trust me, most of us are still making some of these mistakes.