Pin Me

How to Avoid College Weight Gain as a Freshman

written by: RobinRaven•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 10/17/2010

Most people have heard of the "Freshman 15" weight gain. That refers to the fifteen pounds that many college freshmen gain in their first year of school. Although it's used as a joke, this weight gain can inconvenience and bother many students. If you want to avoid it, here are some tips.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Where to Begin

    College freshmen weight gain isn't a requirement or something that you get extra credit for achieving. It's the dread of young students who are balancing making food choices for themselves and dealing with a very busy schedule. Pizza and donuts are cheap and convenient, which would easily explain why freshmen weight gain is the norm. However, there are simple choices that can be made to counterbalance those cheap, carb-filled impulses. If you want to have pizza night during a study session, defer your weight gain by grabbing fruit and oatmeal for breakfast in the cafeteria the next morning, leaving those tempting donuts for the next guy. It starts with little choices that you can make yourself.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Meal Planning

    Knowing what you're going to eat in advance can really help you keep a balanced, healthy diet all through college. First, you want to look at your school's meal plan. If there's a vegetarian option, that may be the ideal one, as it's usually the most healthy and balanced. If that's not for you, you want to look at other options. Many schools are changing, so that healthier options are available. As long as healthy options abound on your school's meal plan, it's best to get it. Meals will be regular and balanced.

    Since meals on a plan are paid for in advance, you'll feel like you're throwing money away every time you skip a meal. Since skipping many meals--then getting so hungry that you binge--is a leading cause of weight gain in young people, this meal plan can go a long way to keeping you on a healthy, yet hearty, diet.

  • slide 3 of 4

    Enjoying Meals with Friends

    As part of the freshmen college experience, you're likely to meet people at this time that you will be friends with for the rest of your life. In lower grades, friendships probably have come and gone much easier. Yet, in college, you're mature enough to know more of who you are and the type of people whose company you genuinely enjoy. When you make friends in college, you're more likely to stick with them. As such, you want to be able to go out and enjoy time with friends. Not every meal needs to be a cafeteria experience.

    When you are dining out, there are some things to consider. Portions in restaurants are often super sized. A true serving is often not much larger than a fist. Eat until you are no longer hungry, then ask for a doggie bag to take the rest home. One meal from a restaurant can often times be split into two. Not only are you making the most out of your money and not wasting food, you aren't stuffing yourself until you don't feel well.

    Another option would be to share a meal with a friend, then ask for an extra plate. This should only be done if you know the portions are huge and that you both are wanting to share a certain dish.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Being Active on Campus

    The best way of staying in shape is to exercise. There must be some type of exercise that you enjoy. No matter how much you hated P.E. in high school, there is going to be something that you enjoy on campus. Most colleges offer sports teams, sports equipment, pools, gyms and clubs for students with athletic or aerobic aspirations. Make the most of this rare time, as many working adults would love such concenient opportunities.

    Pursue only what you'll genuinely enjoy, though. It won't be worth it if you are hating every minute of your work out. If you don't like any sports that your school has available, make a plan to walk the campus a few times per day to help avoid the infamous "Freshman 15" wight gain we all dread. Walking is a great workout. You should enlist a buddy for the walk, though, for safety in numbers.