Structure your life, steer clear of ‘freshman 15’
Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year resolutions made by people.
With the fall semester finished and the spring semester just beginning, many students are finding themselves trying to make healthier choices, especially to combat the ominous “freshman 15.” Weight gain can become a part of someone’s college experience, but some feel that the “freshman 15” is a myth.
“I feel that the ‘freshman 15’ is a bit exaggerated,” Diane Lynch, assistant director of health services said. “I do feel that most freshmen will gain a few pounds in their first year, but I don’t think it’s likely that they will gain up to 15 pounds.”
Whether weight gain is substantial or not, it is still caused by many factors of college life. One of the main contributors to weight gain is the lack of structure that so many students are accustomed to at home. Students have to plan out their own meals at school and sometimes do not make the healthiest choices. Having a busy schedule and being stressed can also lead to weight gain.
“Human nature is typically to comfort yourself when you get stressed and lots of people comfort themselves with snacking,” Lynch said. “It does seem like stress in particular makes people sort of crave things that aren’t quite as healthy, like sweets and such.”
Many students may find themselves eating on the go, which typically means consuming quick, processed foods. Lynch also said that a lack of exercise, consumption of alcohol and smoking are all factors to gaining weight in school.
“College definitely made a shift in my lifestyle,” freshman Alexandera Urbanski said. “I used to run track in high school and actually really enjoyed running, but when I got to school I just kind of stopped because I didn’t have enough time.”
Urbanski said that though there was no change to her physically due to the lack of exercise, she always felt bad because she could not find the time to run.
“I made a pact with myself that I would start making my way over to the gym this semester and run at least three times a week,” Urbanski said.
One of the recommendations that Lynch made for those looking to lose weight is to keep a diary of some sort or download apps like MyFitnessPal. Doing so can help a person keep track of what they ate and the activities they did. Lynch added that students should try to go to the fitness center on campus at least three to four times a week for even as little as 20 minutes. The fitness center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Workout classes like spin, yoga, zumba and kickboxing are also offered at the University.
Exercise is important, but eating healthy is also a major factor in weight loss. Lynch said that trying to avoid processed foods is a good way to start eating right, but she pointed out that a diet is different for each individual.
“You have to get what you like. I don’t think it is realistic for somebody to go shopping and pick up carrots and celery if they hate carrots and celery,” Lynch said. “Part of having a plan that will work is really being tuned into that individual preference of what you like.”
Ashley Turner can be reached at ashley.turner1@ student.shu.edu.