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Your first year away from home means different eating, sleeping, and exercising habits which can wreak havoc on your body.
Here are 15 of the best ways to avoid the dreaded freshman 15:
The bus is definitely convenient, especially if you’re living far from where classes take place. The dread of waking up in the morning and not wanting to walk is too real. Instead of dreading it, learn to enjoy it! Listen to some music, walk with friends, and take in the beauty of campus, especially when there’s nice weather to enjoy. Walking is a great way to exercise moderately and gives you an endorphin boost when class starts. It can also help you relax after a long day, so remember to walk (not uber) everywhere!
Elevators are great, but taking the stairs is a fantastic way to get your heart racing and your blood flowing. So skip the elevator and get moving! It may even save you if you are in a hurry.
While the thought of a sea of weights may be intimidating, most campus gyms have something that can appeal to everyone. From weight rooms to pools to sports equipment and fitness classes, there is something for you! Stop by your gym or check out their website to see what they offer. With all of that available at the swipe of your ID, the Freshman 15 has nothing on you.
Many colleges require that you take a physical fitness class once in your undergraduate career, so why not schedule one for next semester? With classes ranging from skiing to scuba diving, it’s impossible to find something you won’t enjoy. (Bonus: you get credit for it which is extra motivation to try your hardest.)
Get out and explore. If your campus is rural, go for a hike, a bike ride, or visit a waterfall. If you’re in the suburbs talk a walk around your neighborhood and check out the different houses. If your campus is in the city chances are the school offers outings to help students get outdoors. No matter where you are the possibilities are endless.
Tempted to sit around in your dorm room on a Saturday? Well, don’t! Even if it’s not football season there’s probably plenty of events going on around your campus. Also, be sure to check out what events may be happening in your city or town. If you’re stuck studying for the weekend you can still get out, walk to a coffee shop or park and get your studying done there.
Play softball in high school? Like to figure skate? Want some running buddies? You’re in luck because most campuses offer a wide range of club and IM sports that cover all of these activities and so much more. These are a great way to stay in shape and make some friends with similar interests.
Take a road you have never walked before. Like skipping the bus, this is a great way to get exercise, and wandering around without a destination may not feel as much like a chore. You may even find your new favorite coffee shop or a secluded study spot. You won’t know until you try.
Do your wallet and gut a favor by taking a reusable water bottle everywhere. Fill it up at one of the multiple water bottle filling stations around campus or invest in a Brita pitcher to fill it up every morning (10/10 would recommend). Fountain drinks are great, but the amount of sugar in them will make you feel sluggish and bloated all day. Always opt for water instead!
Chances are your dining hall has plenty of healthy options hiding behind your favorite greasy food, so don’t be afraid to explore! You don’t have to totally give up your favorites, but introduce some salad and vegetables. You’ll feel so much better afterwards and the scale will thank you when you get home.
Ditch the candy Mom sent you in a care package and grab some fresh fruit from the dining hall, trail mix, or some butter-free popcorn instead. If it’s at arms reach, it will be eaten, so avoid keeping anything that will add to the Freshman 15 lying around.
It’s well known that college students can’t function in the morning without coffee. But instead of going for a calorie and sugar rich latte or macchiato, grab a black or flavored coffee with skim milk. It will give you the boost you need in the morning without the sugar and fat that does a number on the body and it still tastes just as great!
That pizza may look tempting on the way home from a night on the town, but it may be your downfall. Instead of grabbing a slice after every night of partying, limit yourself to once a month. That goes for all the late night stops, not just pizza. Don’t completely cut them out of your diet, just limit your consumption. We all need to treat ourselves once in awhile!
A cheat day once in awhile is actually proven to keep you on track far better than trying to cut junk foods from your diet. Just because it’s your cheat day doesn’t mean you should double your average calorie intake or go crazy. Still maintain a healthy diet, but if you want some ice cream or fried food go for it! Just don’t make it an everyday thing.
Almost everything on this list will be easier if you do them with a friend or group. Grab another friend with early classes to walk with in the morning. It’s harder to talk yourself out of a trip to the gym if you have a designated gym buddy. Convince your friend group to start an IM team. This will help not only you, but also your friends, battle the Freshman 15.