As freshman begin to settle into a routine, it can be difficult to avoid gaining weight. Here are some steps to incorporate into your routine to help combat the freshman 15.
Weight gain during freshman year is often attributed to environmental changes and disruption to previously regular eating patterns due to busy schedules and lack of preparation. This leaves many students hungry between classes, during late study sessions and other times when poor food choices from vending machines or fast food may be the only options for an energy boost.
“Keep healthy snacks handy,” said Jamie Becker, a dietetic student at EMU. “Dorm refrigerators can be stocked with healthy, satisfying snacks. Aim for three meals and two snacks a day. Make sure portion sizes are consistent throughout the day. When we are super hungry, we tend overeat and make poor nutrition decisions.”
Many incoming students who were active in sports throughout high school often do not continue those routines of physical activity and working out in college, which can also contribute to this weight gain.
“Stay active,” Becker said.
Even if it cannot be every day, take opportunities to walk, bike and participate in any drop-in, club or intermural sports available through the Rec/IM. Open swim hours are available throughout the winter in the Jones and Club Pools. Details can be found on the Rec/IM’s home page.
Stay hydrated and remember to drink the recommended 1.9 liters of water daily.
“Swap out drinking sugary soda for water,” Becker said. “Soda and other sugar sweetened beverages can pack on the calories quickly which can lead to weight gain.”
The Office of Nutrition Services is a valuable resource that can help students receive nutrition advice and tips suited to their personal needs. Located at 108 Roosevelt Hall and open Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., it is run by junior and senior dietetic students with an on-staff registered dietitian.
The office provides discounted prices for all Eastern students on body composition testing, nutrition counseling and nutrient analysis of a three-day food record.
“We offer bioelectrical impedance analysis, which is a quick and simple test to assess body composition, such as percentages of body fat, lean body mass and water,” Becker said.
The full list of services and pricing for the Office of Nutrition Services is available at: emich.edu/chhs/hs/ons/index.
With all the newly discovered responsibilities incoming freshman must juggle, remember most importantly to get enough sleep. Students should get 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
“Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of chronic diseaseprevention [such as diabetes, obesity and depression] and health promotion,” according to the CDC.
So sleep tight, eat right and make time for physical activity. This will help you beat the freshman 15, while ultimately creating habits that can lead to a healthier life.