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Young, Broke, and Fabulous: Already Have the Freshman 15?

Catharine Conway, Health & Beauty Editor

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The two a.m. meat lovers’ pizza. The endless amount of carbs upon carbs upon carbs. The boxes of candy and snacks your family sends from home. All of these things are some of the contributing factors to a common weight gain title known as the “freshman fifteen” in college students. However, the average college student doesn’t gain anywhere close to a full 15 pounds, and the weight changes are due to becoming an adult, according to the journal, Social Science Quarterly.

Researchers in the journal concluded that some students even lost weight during their time at their campus of choice. But the majority of students still gain weight from the non-existent “bed time” and regular habits usually found at family homes.

“The reason why the weight gain usually happens is due to lifestyle changes — new environment with new food choices, added stress of being newly away from home, and new changes in physical activity,” says Gretchen Peyton, RD, a dietitian at the Center for Partnership Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

As teenagers in college move into their early twenties, they fail to recognize the change in their bodies. Students do not feel their metabolism slowing down. Only do they notice when they step on the scale and 10 or 15 pounds have been added in the past six months. Also, with the workload increasing at school, the amount of physical activity significantly decreases. This mixed with an increased food intake and high stress level leads to the body taking on more than a student desires.

Ways to Control the Weight Gain

Drink lots of water. Water can help regulate the body’s functions and supply it with healthy and pure substances. Regular consumption of sodas and beverages with high sugar content can sneak up on the daily fat levels and make them skyrocket.

Make Healthy Meal Choices. Eating grilled chicken versus crispy with vegetables or a salad instead of French fries is an easy decision that can help tremendously. Choosing a turkey burger every once and a while instead of a double bacon cheeseburger can help control the overdose of that delicious greasy protein.

Eat Everything in Moderation. This is the most important solution to all healthy lifestyle-seeking students. Eating one or two slices of pizza is not going to destroy all of the hard work, but eating an entire pie and the breadsticks with garlic sauce may not be the wisest decision in the playbook.

Sneak in Some Exercise. A 30-minute run on the elliptical machine every couple of days a week can significantly change the life of a student not only for the fitness purposes, but also for the mental and emotional means. Sweating with an increased heart rate releases endorphins that are known to increase happiness and confidence. These two qualities combined can make a student unstoppable.

Following these simple steps and staying dedicated can change the entire college experience, leaving it guilt free and 100% enjoyable.

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