Michelle Kumata/The Seattle Times/MCT
Michelle Kumata/The Seattle Times/MCT

Avoid the dreaded freshman 15

Living on your own for the first time means that you have a lot of new responsibilities, like doing your laundry, going to class and choosing all of your meals. It’s exciting to have all of that independence, but it can be pretty overwhelming too.

I’m sure after that generic repetitive conversation where everyone asks you where you’re going to college, they also joke or make a remark about the infamous “freshman 15.”

It’s true that many freshmen gain weight because of the variety of food choices, and a meal in Benson such as Moe’s or Chick­-fil-A often sounds more appealing than the healthier options in either of the dining halls. But eating healthy and living a generally healthy lifestyle in college are both important and completely within your control.

It’s great having Moe’s, Chick­-fil-A and Boar’s Head so close by, but you should try to limit how often you eat there. You’ll contribute to the freshman 15 legend, and you’ll use up your food dollars and Old Golds quickly. You’ll find the healthiest options in the Pit or the New Pit, but you’ll also find lots of unhealthy foods like pizza and burgers there, too. Anyone would choose a slice of pizza over steamed broccoli, but try to limit how often you eat those foods. Try the deli, or the Southern Grill. It can be hard to walk past the better tasting junk foods when they’re close by, but you’ll be healthier for it.

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Another way to avoid gaining weight during your first year in college is to watch what snacks you buy for your dorm. It’s nice being able to stock your room with whatever you want, but when you’re doing homework or watching TV, it’s easy to not pay attention to what or how much you’re snacking on.

The other part of being healthy in college is exercising. You’ll notice you’re most likely more active just with the amount of walking you’re doing going to meals and classes, but you should also take advantage of the gym and cross country trails. It’s easy to eat junk food and skip exercising, but with so many resources nearby, there are plenty of ways to stay active.

Of course, once classes get started, it’ll seem like you have no time to work out with the pages and pages of reading that begin on day one. Honestly, you just have to get used to it, because the work won’t slow down often during your four years here.

Sure, you might have to skip working out once in a while when you have a big test, but as long as you manage your time you should be able to stay active. Working out late at night or early in the morning can be a good way to fit in some exercise.

Working out doesn’t just keep you physically healthy, it is also a great way to eliminate stress and stay focused. So, my advice is to try to get in the habit of working out and eating healthy right away; that will make your transition to college much easier. Make an exercise schedule right away and sticking to it.

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