The Freshman 15 is a cliché for a reason. A study at Auburn University showed that more than 70% more college students gain weight over their four years of school with the average student gaining 12 pounds. But what is causing this weight gain? You have to walk to class carrying heavy books and dining hall food isn’t THAT good, so what is happening?
Turns out the weight gain can be attributed to six main causes:
- Decreased activity, especially for all of those that played sports in high school
- Unhealthy dining hall choices
- Increased snacking
- Added stress
- Lack of sleep
- Increased caloric beverages, such as: soda, alcohol, coffee drinks, & energy drinks.
Luckily, you can easily change your fate and reverse the weight gain by implementing easy lifestyle changes that will help improve your weight and your overall health.
- Eat breakfast to start your metabolism off and break the fast that is occurring while you are sleeping. This will also help improve your focus and crave less throughout the day.
- Choose healthy foods. Try to stay away from fried foods, desserts, and other foods that may be overly sugary and/or fatty.
- Drink water to replace your sugary beverages. If you need a caffeine boost for studying, try to get plain coffee with a dash of fat-free milk. Also, make sure to consume alcohol in moderation by consuming no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men of legal drinking age.
- Get plenty of sleep. Anywhere from 6 to 8 hours a night is recommended. Sleep helps to regulate your hormone levels that control appetite and metabolism allowing you to lower your cravings throughout the day.
- Stay active by walking to class, actually using your free school gym membership, and joining intramural sports. Exercising not only helps to burn calories, but it also helps lower your stress level. If you are feeling truly ambitious, carry all of your heavy class books around to get your hundreds of dollars worth.