Coming into college there was one thing I feared more than any exam, more than any foreign teacher, more than any crappy roommate… the dreaded freshmen 15. I had only heard rumors of this deadly college curse, but I found out firsthand just how relevant it can be.
During high school I was constantly active whether with sports or hanging out with my friends. I really didn’t worry about studying too much and I ate just about whatever I could get my hands on. It was the ideal lifestyle for me and one that I didn’t want to give up. As I transitioned to college, a couple of aspects of my life changed. I went from being a multisport athlete in high school to strictly a student in college and studying was now my top priority. However for some reason I guess I thought I could continue to gorge on food left and right, without exercising as well, and stay in the same shape I was before college. Of course I was mistaken. My first semester I went from a healthy 205 lbs. to a meaty 228 lbs. within just a couple of months. Husky would have been a nice way to put my newly-formed figure. I look back now and can only reflect on all my mistakes my first semester. I’ll share a few of them and maybe you can avoid some unwanted pounds your freshman year.
My biggest problem freshman year was the type of food I was consuming. Spicy beef wraps, ice cream, and pizza were just many of the foods I indulged in that first semester. Eating these foods once or twice a week may not be terrible, but I was eating them daily. Greasy, fattening foods were a mainstay in my diet and I definitely paid the price for it. Since I was no longer playing sports and spending most of the time sitting around studying those calories just added up over time. Looking back, I would have definitely chosen some healthier options during the week and would have limited the amount of fattening food I was eating. Drinking water instead of pop would also have been a better option. The best thing is to try to eat smart during the week and have a “cheat meal” every once in a while to keep those pounds from adding on.
Another big thing for me was the fact that I quit exercising altogether. Just months ago, you could have found me in a weight room or playing field on a daily basis. With my focus turned to school, I figured I would give up exercise for the first semester to get acclimated to college. Looking back this may have been my worst mistake. By not exercising I wasn’t burning off all the calories I was taking in, and most importantly I allowed my metabolism to slow down from my active years. Both proved to be costly to my physique. If I had exercised I guarantee I wouldn’t have gained nearly as much weight as I did. My advice would be to head to Johnson Center or the Underground at least 3 times a week (maybe more) if you really want to keep those pounds off.
The last problem is really one we as college kids just can’t avoid, and that is eating late. When I was up late studying it was so easy to head to Ovid’s or order a Mad-Mush pizza to snack on. I remember eating full course meals at 1 a.m. sometimes if I was going to stay up late into the morning. My rule now is anything after about 9 or 10 is no-go. Your metabolism slows down towards the end of the day before you sleep so the later you eat the less that will be burned off. Try to eat most of your big meals before night rolls around and you should be fine.
The thing I took away from my freshman year was that it was a learning experience and I guess I’m better from it. I’ve learned to eat healthier and I’ve got a pretty routine workout schedule since then. Hopefully my story will aid you in keeping off those unwanted pounds and leave the curse for next year’s newbies.