It can be an exciting venture leaving home for the first time. Meeting new people and beginning the journey to successful endeavors can be daunting, even more so when you’re worried about succumbing to the notorious “Freshman 15.” Weight gain occurs often in freshman year, but here are some tips to keep you fit instead of fluffy.

Create a Support Group

Whether it’s back at home via social media or a new set of friends at college, support groups are mandatory for anything from studying to dealing with life’s problems.

  • Getting a group of like-minded fellow freshman together is a safe and effective choice to create an atmosphere of support and encouragement.
  • Leaving home can be difficult and homesickness is not something to laugh about.
  • Depression often can lead to emotional eating which inevitably leads to weight gain.
  • Having an accessible support group that you can turn to when you need them is essential to keep yourself mentally healthy, and thus physically healthy.

Take a Fitness Credit
You don’t have to take gym to stay fit. A lot of colleges offer good classes that will help keep you moving and maintain your weight.

  • Perhaps signing up for a fencing course or some form of dance could interest you. It may even introduce you to a new hobby.
  • Regardless, even if you want to be lazy and not workout after classes, taking a fitness credit guarantees that you will be working out for at least some period of time in the week.

Keep a Food Schedule
College is more than just learning topics that will be required for work one day. It also teaches you life lessons. Among them is self-discipline, and there’s no better way to hone that skill than with your diet.

  • Whether you’re living on campus or not, there’s a ton of food around. Not all of this food is healthy, unfortunately.
  • It’s up to you to make the right selections of foods you eat. Pairing those meals with times throughout the day ensures that you’re not only keeping yourself full throughout the day–which keeps from overeating because you feel as though you’re starving otherwise–but you’re also only eating the food that is good for you.
  • Fruits and vegetables make for great snacks between meals, too, if you need something in a pinch.
  • Keeping to your schedule and meal plan could be an option to keep off those extra pounds.

Watch What You Drink
Be aware of the calories present in alcohol. Be mindful if you’re participating in parties about how much you consume. It doesn’t stop with just alcohol either.

  • Energy drinks, mochas, espressos, sugary drinks, all come packed full of sugar and calories that can add up to a few pounds.
  • Steering clear or limiting your intake of these drinks will help cut down on calories and perhaps avoid a few hangovers, too.
  • If coffee is an absolute must, try getting used to black coffee since it doesn’t have any added sugar.

Have Fun
College is an exciting time of self-discovery and transition. Applying some or all of these ideas may just help keep that transition from becoming an unhealthy one. Experiment and see what works best for you, but most importantly, remember to have fun with it. No one likes to do things that they find boring or frustrating, so keeping it fun will ensure you develop a lasting lifestyle.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Sarah Vidumsky, PA-C

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