Before you start worrying too much about the “Freshman 15,” you should first know that you’re not inevitably destined to gain 15 pounds just because you’re a first-year college student.
Research published in The Journal of American College of Health shows that only about half of college freshman gain weight over the course of their first year at school. Additionally, further research from Ohio State University found that for those who do gain weight, the average is between 2.4 and 3.5 pounds.
In other words, most freshmen don’t gain anywhere close to 15 pounds.
Knowing this shouldn’t make you feel like you won’t have to pay any attention to your eating, physical activity and other healthy habits while you’re away at school, though.
You’ll be experiencing a new sense of freedom for the first time, and not to mention, probably a bit more stress, too. All of the different factors — like late-night studying, dining hall food options, partying and simply adjusting to a totally new environment — that characterize freshman year will certainly play a role in shaping your well-being.
You’ll likely be presented with many different situations that encourage less than healthy habits, but if you arrive armed and ready to overcome those obstacles you can easily avoid weight gain and set yourself up for a healthy and fit future.
Keep reading to find out what to keep an eye out for and to learn expert tips for navigating college life in a way that promotes both a healthy and happy experience.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
“The old saying is ‘You are the product of the five people closest to you,’” explains Phil Bennet, a strength coach from the UK who primarily trains combat athletes and specializes in creating real world strength results. “Choose to be around healthy, active individuals and you will become one.”
Keep in Touch with Friends and Family
“Substitute a phone call or Skype for the brownie you’re reaching for,” says Laurie Towers, a fitness expert, former professional bodybuilder and founder and CEO of The Bridal Body Shop in New York City. “Loneliness is a void that is often filled by food, so don't feel ashamed to pick up the phone and reach out to a friend, or better yet, your parents — who probably would love to hear from you — anytime the feeling hits you.