As I started packing for orientation, I couldn't help but think about the fact I start college next month. While the endless thoughts ran through my head, I constantly came back to the idea of the Freshman Fifteen. Would I gain weight on top of the five pounds I've been trying to lose for the past year? Or is the Freshman Fifteen a myth?
I decided to reach out to my friends who had already conquered their freshman year and their takes on the Freshman Fifteen were interesting. I reached out to several different types of students, including commuter students, gym junkies and people who are "allergic" to physical activity. Here are their responses and tips for incoming freshmen:
1. Aubrey, University of Florida
When asked about the hardest part about the Freshman Fifteen and how to avoid it, Aubrey said, "Motivating yourself is hard at first but once you start making it a habit, you start to like it and look forward to the gym." She highly suggested using the gym at your college because it is most likely included in your tuition, so why not go if you're paying for it?
2. Nimra, Broward College
If you have a jam-packed schedule with classes and you have to do work-study or work to pay for tuition, find a job where you have to be physically active! Nimra's job at the local hospital makes her walk almost fifteen miles every day. This allowed her to avoid the Freshman Fifteen and get money at the same time!
3. Nawal, Nova Southeastern University
As a commuter student, Nawal had a different experience than most freshman when it came to the Freshman Fifteen. She didn't have a dorm where she could run to and grab food nor was she on campus all the time to take advantage of the gym. Nawal suggested setting aside days you can eat on campus and days where you bring food from home. That way, you aren't depriving yourself of comfort food that every college kid needs and you're considering your health as well.
4. Shay, Florida Atlantic University
Like Nawal, Shay is a commuter student who used the train to get to campus. Being that he didn't have a car at the time, it was harder for him to leave campus to grab something, so his only options were what was available on campus and what he brought from home. Shay recommended that if you are a commuter student, to stay after an hour or two after classes and go to the gym. He reached out to fellow commuter students and organized a group that would go together. He also carried a water bottle with him at all times and had some sort of healthy snack with him so he never was tempted into buying the food that are unhealthy.
5. John, Georgia State University
When asked if the Freshman Fifteen was a myth, John said, "Freshman Fifteen is NOT a myth. You will get carried away with all of the options available on campus, especially if you live on campus. The first semester I gained almost ten pounds because I wasn't prioritizing my health; however, I started going to the gym during the second semester. It'll be hard to balance school and health, but it is important to." He also said not to worry about what people at the gym think because everyone is so focused on their workouts and they won't pay attention to what you're doing.
6. Victoria, University of Florida
Victoria turned the Freshman Fifteen into the "Freshman Negative Five." She took advantage of the gym on her campus and made sure to go every day, whether it be on the elliptical or a zumba class with her friends. She highly suggests doing fitness classes with your friends if you are nervous about going to the gym by yourself. The advice she gives to incoming freshman is, "The more you stress about gaining weight, the more weight you'll actually gain. Don't be afraid of it." Face every obstacle with determination.
7. Irina, University of Central Florida
Irina avoided the Freshman Fifteen by making her own food instead of eating out. She always made sure she was making smart decisions in terms of her food and to avoid binging on unhealthy food, her roommates and her rarely had junk food in their apartment. By being conscious of what you're eating, you'll be able to avoid gaining weight.
8. Kimberly, Florida International University
Similar to John, Kimberly struggled initially with the Freshman Fifteen; however, she quickly realized that her health is her top priority. She began to set aside 30 to 40 minutes every day for working out, even if it was a light walk. She always tried to multi-task while working out so she would do Quizlet notecards on the elliptical or listen to a lecture during a run.
Whether it be making your own meals or setting aside time to work out, you can avoid the Freshman Fifteen. Through the conversations I had with these sophomores, it became apparent that the transition into a college is a tough one and people tend to forget about their health. It is so crucial to remember that your health is important and work towards it. The Freshman Fifteen may not be a myth but it is extremely avoidable. Stock up on your gym gear and hit the gym this fall!
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