Among the many terrifying and worrisome ailments associated with your first year of college is the (at first seemingly mythical) Freshman Fifteen. You'll hear people old and young discuss the labors of ridding themselves of the extra sizes brought about by mid-day energy boosters and late night pizzas. Well, I'm here to tell you that while the Freshman Fifteen is as real as you are, it's also completely avoidable, even with the hustle and bustle of postsecondary education.
The first and possibly easiest thing you can do is to move more. Always take the stairs. Walk a bit faster to your classes: the elevated heart rate will do you well both physically and mentally, and you'll have a bit more time between classes that you can spend preparing for the lecture. Simply parking farther away, or taking public transportation which forces you to move just a bit more, can have a huge impact on your overall health.
Find Your Exercise Niche
On that note: the next step is trying to find your exercise niche. Getting your body moving will not only keep you in better shape, but it will also help you with focus, stress, energy, and sleep (which we all know is a major deal in college). Remember that no two people are alike, but there's a type of exercise out there for everyone, whether it’s running, boxing, Pilates, or dance. Keep searching, you'll find it! The great thing about college campuses is that they offer ample opportunity for discovery. Take advantage of the gym, and if you’ve got extra credits you need, put a few of them into some fitness classes that sound fun!
Make Smart Choices
Now, of course nutrition had to come into play at some point. Your body may be built in the gym but it is revealed in the kitchen. Rule of thumb: you cannot out-train a bad diet. I know it won't be perfect. Some days you'll eat nothing but week-old pizza. It happens. Just remember that your body needs fuel. Try to be conscious about what you’re putting into it, and remember that every cell in your body dies and gets replaced eventually, and what you eat feeds your body the building blocks it needs. You choose what your body is built out of, and I promise unprocessed foods, and ingredients you can pronounce tend to make for much better architectural support!
The last and best thing you can do to fight the pounds is also the easiest thing. Drink water. And when I say that I don't mean add water into your daily energy drink filled schedule. I mean drink just water. Avoiding juices, lattes, and especially soda can make a difference as much as 10 pounds! Trust me, after the (extremely brief) period of caffeine withdrawal you’ll find that suddenly you have more energy than ever! Caffeine is great, and I get it (I’m drinking coffee right now!) but moderation in all things is key. A caffeine addiction will actually cause imbalances in your body, and it won’t give you the energy you need when you need it on its own. Water not only keeps you focused, hydrated, and provides you with all the energy you really need, but making sure you’re sipping at some H20 all day keeps you from overeating! I’d call that a win-win situation!
If you take nothing else from the last few paragraphs, then remember this: The true secret to keeping off the extra weight that often follows the transition into college is balance. Your life is going to be crazy busy. Just remember that you're never too busy to take care of yourself.