Busting Myths About the Freshman 15
Think you know everything there is to know about the Freshman 15? Read these myth busters so you can better understand first-year college weight gain.
All cafeteria food is bad: Every college cafeteria has a salad bar, and this can be the healthiest option, as long as you don’t load your lettuce with dressing, bacon bits and croutons. Choose vinaigrette over ranch dressing, diced turkey or hard boiled eggs over bacon bits and pile your plate high with any veggies you can find.
The college cafeteria is set up much like a buffet-style restaurant. Decide what you want before you get your tray, so you’re not tempted to overload on food. Skip the piece of cake for dessert and have a piece of fruit instead.
It’s not my fault; my metabolism is slowing down: Your metabolism does slow down with age, but not rapidly, and the change most certainly is not enough to make you gain 15 pounds. Research shows that the majority of college weight gain is linked to consuming more calories. A recent study by Rutgers University showed that 75 percent of students involved in the study ate an excess of 112 calories a day, resulting in a 7-pound weight gain.
There’s no time to exercise in college: On the contrary, college may be the best time in your life to get fit. Schools have made it easy for you to stay in shape. Every campus has some sort of fitness center and is free to use with your student I.D. card. If your schedule is jam packed, enroll in yoga, aerobics or another fitness class for college credit.
Gaining 15 pounds is normal for college freshmen: Only five percent of freshmen actually gain 15 pounds, while studies show most freshman gain somewhere between 4 to 10 pounds.
This may sound like a relief, but 10 pounds a year is significant. That number will continue to go up if you don’t develop and sustain a healthy lifestyle within that first year. If you were involved in a lot of sports in high school, you need to stay active in college. If you’re used to pre-portioned meals in high school and at home, you need to keep a similar amount of food on your plate in the cafeteria.
It’s impossible to eat healthy in the dorms: Hot pockets, macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles, sound familiar? These quick-fix dinners are easy to make, but they’re not your healthiest options. Turkey sandwiches, with lots of veggies and little mayo and cheese, make for a healthy meal. Don’t keep unhealthy snacks in your dorm. Pretzels and dried fruit are a great alternative to cookies and chips.
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