It’s a rite of passage for many new college students to gain a few extra pounds when they first move out. In fact, statistics from WebMD show one in four freshmen gain around 5% of their body weight during that first year. So why is that? Avoid the dreaded college bulge by understanding the idea behind it and what can be done to prevent it.
Main Causes of Weight Gain in Students
Many students anticipate finally breaking away from their parents, but they might not be able to predict some of the difficulties that come with living independently. Moving from a regimented lifestyle with home-cooked, healthy meals each day may bring about feelings of discontent.
College kids might find themselves opting for convenience, finding food that’s easy to grab on the go. That, along with some other factors, can cause pounds to pile on. Here are some bad eating habits college students often get trapped into:
- Eating unhealthy snacks that contain fat and sugar.
- Skipping meals to cram for tests or due to lack of time.
- Not eating a healthy breakfast.
- Bypassing the recommended daily water intake.
- Defaulting to a Sedentary lifestyle.
- Making poor life choices including binge drinking alcohol.
All of these factors can contribute to the Freshman 15. So here’s what to do:
Cut out the Fast Food Traps
Without being at home for healthy, wholesome family dinners, many students turn to fast food as a cheap and easy way to get their three square meals. The problem is, fast food is laden with calories and fat, and that’s even if you avoid greasy staples like hamburgers and fries.
Stay away from takeout and fast food. Make healthier choices like pre-made salads from the deli or meal prep chicken and veggies for the week. This can help thwart weight gain.
Get Help for Stress and Depression
The stress of making the grade and the transition from home to dorm can wreak havoc on some freshman students. This can trigger feelings of depression and anxiety, which can increase the risks of overeating or binge-eating.
Seek out help before things get out of hand. Reach out to college counselors or a family doctor for therapy and medication to help with stress relief. Join a yoga class. Meditate daily. Stay social in a positive setting to avoid feelings of isolation.
Find Ways to Get Active
The most important way to prevent from gaining the Freshman 15 is to stay active. Get in at least 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily, five times a week. In addition, make healthy choices, like walking instead of taking public transportation. Or try joining a sports team to help boost cardio.
Those extra pounds can easily creep up on you. Before you know it, those pants you love are too tight. Get back into them by making positive lifestyle choices. Incorporate these changes into your daily life. Before long, it will be graduation time and you’ll feel good and confident enough to land that dream job!
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