The Horror of the Freshman 15

For many, dieting is a pipe dream. We always have that devilish voice that tells us to indulge because “you only live once.” But when a freshman finds themselves gaining weight as soon as he/she steps onto a college campus, the most dreadful problem arises: “the Freshman Fifteen.”
Weight gain tends to occur in college due to the stress load of responsibilities and an increase or change in the engagement of certain social activities (i.e. drinking).
It is unfortunate to notice that extra baggage on your body, which was, at one time, non-existent. It is a bump in the road we often cannot escape, yet there are so many ways we can avoid it.
First and foremost, stressful environments can bring on the ill-fated “Freshman Fifteen.” Whether it is an addition to priorities with classes and extracurricular activities, a new job or even a break up with a boy/girlfriend, a stress-induced hormone released by the body, called cortisol, can lead to a sufficient weight gain.
Additionally, chemicals released by the brain called endorphins also have an affect on weight: certain fattening foods, such as chocolate, caffeine or highly salted foods cause happiness and relaxation.
Drinking alcohol is also a large contributing factor to the Freshman Fifteen. Regardless of a person’s age, consuming alcohol causes weight gain because of its calorie intake. Having one drink too many can result in one pound too many.
So what can college students do to avoid the Freshman Fifteen? Incorporating exercise to a daily routine is extremely beneficial to a person’s mindset and lifestyle. Exercise not only makes a person’s physique more fit, but the recognition of the difference in appearance can boost someone’s confidence.
preparing home-cooked meals, as opposed to eating take-out habitually, is helpful. This practice can not only balance portion control, it can help people recognize what contents (additives, etc.) are going into their food before it ends up in a stomach.
Of course, things to consider when dieting or trying to avoid the Freshman Fifteen is to diet and exercise in moderation. Being overly cautious of what you eat and exercising excessively can lead to eating disorders.
Regardless of a person’s frame or long-standing metabolism, the Freshman Fifteen is not a discriminatory epidemic. It may seem inevitable, but it can be prevented in many instances. The most important thing to remember is to feel good about yourself both inside and out.
If you do notice something you dislike about yourself, change it. College is meant for just that.