The gross availability of junk food to college students adds to the 'Freshman Fifteen' (PHOTO CREDIT : MCTCAMPUS)
The gross availability of junk food to college students adds to the ‘Freshman Fifteen.’ (PHOTO CREDIT : MCTCAMPUS)

It is the horror we have all heard about, and the threat that hangs over the heads of all incoming college students: the ‘Freshman Fifteen.’ A myth that is as old as college itself, that claims that every student’s first year at school will be greeted with a large gain in weight. But fear not, because despite what you have heard, the freshman fifteen is completely fictitious.

Gaining weight in college is not something that just happens; it is caused by a lack of motivation. Yes, it is true that it does get harder to control your meals and proportion your food in college, but those changes in a diet are not going to be the main cause of weight gain. It’s not easy, but choosing the right meals and the right amount to eat can be done. Yes, ordering pizza to the dorm is more convenient than walking across campus for a salad, but it is not fair to say that it is impossible to do. Even though adjusting to a new living lifestyle, adopting new study habits and keeping your health under control can feel nearly impossible at times, there are plenty of things that can be done to fend off those 15 pounds.

First, do not keep an excessive amount of snacks in your dorm. It does not matter how much self-control you claim to have, when it is four in the morning and there are five papers due in three hours you will be eating nothing else. Low-fat popcorn and pretzels are tasty snacks to munch on while studying that w ill not do a lot of damage. It also helps to carry your work out clothes to class with you. Just throw sneakers, a t-shirt and shorts in a duffle bag and you won’t have to go back to your dorm to change before working out. It might not seem like it would make a big difference but dorm rooms are easily distracting. You walk in and see Netflix, Oreos and a warm, fluffy bed. Suddenly that motivation to exercise has flown right out the window. So avoid the temptation and just go straight to the gym. Also, try not to be sporadic about exercising. Write down a schedule for what days to work out and for how long on each day. This gives guidance and more structure to your routine.

The problem with staying healthy in college is that it is so easy to get distracted. All that time you set aside to study will almost always lose to playing video games and relaxing with friends. But then afterward you realize you need even more time to study so you cancel going to the gym and the cycling pattern of “I’ll just go tomorrow” begins. Everybody knows this feeling. What is worse is that nothing can really be done about it without the self-determination to not do so. Students need to make sacrifices in order to balance health, school and social life, and though it is never an easy choice, it is something that needs to be done to stay on top of one’s health.

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