5 ways to beat the ‘freshman 15’ weight gain



College freshmen have a special notoriety: a full 15 pounds named for them.

The Freshman 15 refers to weight gained during the first year away from home. But the extra pounds can be avoided if you follow these tips from Brook Benten Jimenez. She’s a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer and nutritionist at Southern Methodist University.

Her tips will work for everyone, even if your freshman year was so long ago that you scarcely remember how many pieces of pizza you ate to win a nightly dorm contest.

1. Ix-nay on late-night acking-snay: Pizza can be delivered at all hours. And having just a slice – well, maybe just two – when everyone else is noshing is more than tempting. But if you must stay up late and are hungry, reach for fruit or something healthy. This leads us to…

2. Get enough sleep. “Sleep loss is associated with an increase in appetite,” Ms. Jimenez says. “Without adequate amounts of sleep, your metabolism slows down and you tend to move slower and be less active.”

3. Make exercise part of your juggling routine. You have lots of balls in the air: classes, studying, socializing. Exercise needs to go on the calendar, too, even if it is just 20 minutes a day.

4. Be on portion patrol. Lots of dorms offer all-you-can-eat, help-yourself buffets. Don’t get carried away; there will be more food at the next meal. Allow yourself one reasonable plate of food.

5. Be mindful. “Remember: Everything you eat has to go somewhere,” Ms. Jimenez says. “Every morsel of food has calories, and those calories don’t disappear after melting in your mouth.” The food may be used as energy, released as bile, used for cell function or stored as fat. “But it does not disappear.”

Story credit: MCT