Ah, the famous freshman 15. Sometimes seen as a myth or a joke, and sometimes seen as a prerequisite to university, gaining weight in first year was definitely on my mind when my schoolwork started to pick up. I knew that getting a bad grade in first year was sometimes inevitable as I adjusted to the pace of school, but I knew that maintaining a healthy body was definitely possible. What causes freshman 15 and how did I avoid it?
- Being Mindful of your Eating Habits
Living away from home can seriously alter your eating habits, as there is no longer meals predetermined for you. Unlimited choices at university, including meal plans, can add on pounds if you commonly choose pizza, pasta, chips, and pop over leafy vegetables. When eating in the dining hall, I made sure to make myself a salad if the offerings were low on leafy greens that day, and stuck with water and tea for the most part. As I have a 5-day meal plan, I let myself have one cheat day a week to eat good, and remain mindful of my eating habits the rest of the week.
- Eating Late at Night, and While Studying
In high school I was in the habit of snacking while studying, as it helped increase my productivity. In university, however, as most of the time you’ll be self studying, continuously snacking can lead to weight gain. I also found myself getting hungry late at night and breaking out the ramen, which my body can’t burn off during sleep. I now try to finish all my studying earlier in the day to avoid eating at night, and buy healthy snack options like dried cranberries, fruit, and air-popped plain popcorn.
It might seem obvious, but exercise is so important in maintaining a healthy body and feeling good about yourself. I try to go to the gym at least twice a week, and often bring along a friend to make the activity more fun. With three athletic centres on campus, there is all the more reason to work out. Finding a time that works with your schedule and an activity that you enjoy doing will help you continue to be active.
Hope this encourages you to eat healthy this week!