Whether it’s pizza in Coconut Grove, tailgate food or even those late-night snacks we all sneak into Club Richter, college is an eating experience. You’re on your own for the first time and you can do, and eat, whatever you want.
This newfound freedom, however, can come with a price- “the freshman 15.”
Contrary to popular belief, the freshman 15 is not an urban legend. There are many factors that can affect your eating habits and cause weight gain. Hectic schedules, buffet-style dining, emotional or stress eating, lack of sleep and alcohol are all factors that can result in weight gain, said Ashley Falcon, assistant director of wellness at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center.
The Hurricane has compiled some tips to help guard all students against the freshman 15.
First, unlimited Chartie’s (Chartwells food service in the dining halls) is not your friend. Just because you can have access to an endless supply of grilled cheese sandwiches and fries doesn’t mean you should eat them. Give the salad bar a try and don’t skip the veggies. Stir-fry with cooking spray instead of oil is another healthy choice, and try to cut back on the soda. A regular Coca-Cola with every meal will add up to tons of empty calories.
Next, eat breakfast. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and, as you’ll quickly learn, one of Chartie’s best. Grab an egg white omelet for a great start to the school day. If you don’t have time to go to the dining hall, have a granola bar. Eating breakfast will help spark your metabolism and keep you from being too hungry during the day.
Also, try walking when you can. Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise on this campus. Distances are short enough so you can travel by foot to all of your classes, and the surrounding area is full of walkable restaurants and shops. You can even track your on-campus walking with the Wellness Center program Walking Counts, a campaign that calculates the distances and calories burnt on popular routes through campus. Add up your daily routes and you can easily walk up to two miles a day.
Use the Wellness Center. The Wellness Center is a great resource on campus to help manage your weight. In addition to the machines and weights, there are also fitness classes, healthy cooking classes and the free CHAMP assessment, which measures your fitness level.
Lastly, go easy on the booze; beer bellies often start freshman year. Not every football game and weekend should be a blackout mess. Start to learn self-control. Your waistline and your liver will thank you.
Start your college career off right by developing the right habits as soon as possible. Indulging in sweets and fats is okay every once in a while, but it’s important to remember you’re in a transition phase. What better time to develop a healthy eating regiment? Enjoy your college career and worry about the things that need to be worried about. Eating healthy is not something to fret over. At the end of the day a little discipline can go a long way.
Nancy Oben may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.