Eat healthily and exercise regularly to avoid freshman fifteen


Madison Lane | The Bucknellian

Spencer Ivey


The “freshman 15.” You’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase uttered in your presence at least a few times during your preparation for college, to which you probably responded with grim thoughts of your favorite clothes splitting at the seams. To be clear, the “freshman 15” is defined as the extra poundage–usually about 15 pounds–you gain during your first year of college. The main culprits of this phenomenon tend to be food, alcohol and lack of time or determination to exercise. Before you give in to the temptations of college life, take a minute to read my advice: control your cafeteria cravings, indulge a few nights a week and make an exercise schedule.

You are what you eat. The most important part of avoiding the “freshman 15” is to eat well whenever possible. Unlimited swipes to the cafeteria are certainly a dangerous situation. Portion control coupled with a sharp eye for a nutritionally balanced meal will be your key to success. One plateful of food plus a side of salad or fruit should be your goal.

As for the content of that plateful, aim to stay away from pastas and pizza and gravitate towards stations like Mongo Bongo and the egg bar. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, avoid sugary drinks and sodas. Drinking plenty of water will not only help with maintaining your weight but also keep you feeling well.

The key to having this will power to eat in moderation is to allow yourself one day a week when you are allowed to eat whatever your heart desires. The logic behind this practice is that you will get whatever junk cravings you have out of your system and be ready to resume your ambitions of living a healthy lifestyle the next day.

The consumption of alcohol is another indulgence that, if you choose to participate in it, should be moderated. Two nights of responsible drinking a week should be your absolute limit. Again, make sure you are drinking enough water, especially the night after an alcoholic adventure.

Finally, get your body moving. The contemporary belief regarding exercise seems to be that the more you get, the better. Unfortunately, we waste their time with extra gym sessions that provide us with little to no benefit. My suggestion is to get rigorous exercise three to four times per week.

Don’t just go to the gym to coast on the bike or ride the elliptical–push yourself! A few intense workouts a week are better than a week-full of mediocre sessions. Determine your exercise plan for the week before it starts and make sure you will be able to follow through. The hardest part is getting out of your room.

Implementing a solution is never as easy as reading and understanding one. You will struggle and you will want to submit to your lazy inclinations. However, once you get into the habit of a health-conscious lifestyle, you will find it easier to uphold your newfound routine.

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