The Freshman Fifteen: Is It Real?
A first year at a University can indeed bring a lot of stress and pressure in your life. You have to pay your rent, leave your home, meet new people, take difficult classes and do other things that get some students out of their comfort zone. And one of them is the mystical "Freshman 15". But what does this term mean and is it even real?
Freshman 15 refers to the belief that college students frequently gain 15 pounds (6,8 kg) during their freshman year, but some facts prove that this statement is a myth.
Firstly, «15» is a misnomer. According to an Ohio State study, about 10% of university freshmen gain 15 or more pounds. Depending on what sources you consult, the average weight gained by first-year students is between 2 (0,9 kg) and 6 pounds (2,7 kg).
Secondly, we must not forget that all people are different. Each of us has our own eating habits, someone prefers to spend an evening with a book, and someone will choose to run in the park, and there's nothing wrong with that!
Thus, not everyone will gain weight in the first year. But if you are still afraid of it, here are 3 short tips.
It is not always what you eat, but when you eat that
Do you tend to snack when it is 2 a.m. and have three Red Bulls into all-nighter while preparing for classes? Well, eating at night leads to twice as much weight gain as eating during the day. Your metabolism tends to slow down when your body thinks it’s time for bed. In order not to want to eat at night, just plan your last meal of the day at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Stress has a chemical relationship to weight gain. When a body is stressed, it releases cortisol, a hormone that slows down metabolism. So, you need to be on top of your emotional and mental health. If you’re overwhelmed or too stressed, your campus likely has resources such as advisors or counselors that can help you.
Find a way to work some fun exercise into your daily routine. Join a sports club or find out a free or discounted membership to the gym. If you have to, just make a conscious effort to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
But most importantly – do not forget to love your body. We are young; it is good to spend time in the company of friends, and if you want to have a big Hawaiian pizza – just do it! It is important to take care of your physical health, but you need to remember about mental state. Severe eating restrictions can lead to eating disorders, which are a serious problem these days.
Take care of yourself and live your best life.