-Avoiding the ‘freshman 15’
by Corey Springer
NarkSide: October 12th 2009
“Chug, Chug, Chug, Chug, CHUG!!!!”
*wild cheering ensures*
Sounds familiar? Of course it does. Partying during the college years is a well-established norm. During this time, partying is synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption… the practice of which contributes (in a large way) to the weight-gain experienced by many during the college years.
Weight-gain triggers don’t end there however, as the college period is also marked by horrible eating and sleeping habits… each of which contribute in their own way to the phenomenon researchers call the “freshman fifteen”.
The good news is that there are ways to avoid this weight-gain. There IS hope.
7 weight-gain halting tips for college students:
1. Be conscious of what you’re eating.
A lot of the stuff offered at the cafeteria tends to be unnecessarily high in calories. However, it is usually possible to find low-calorie alternatives. Inquire with your cafeteria’s staff as to whether they carry healthier alternatives.
2. Swap high-fat side dishes for healthier ones.
…and skip the fried food and deserts altogether!
Swap those greasy fries for a baked potato… Or, better yet, a salad. With your salad selection, be cognizant of the additional calories that dressings and toppings add. Absolutely NOTHING ruins a salad like an overuse of toppings. These additions may increase the calorie count of a salad by TEN TIMES!
That’s right… ten times.
3. Exercise hard daily.
…especially before going out to party. A hard exercise session depletes the muscles of glycogen (i.e. carbohydrate stores). Carbs consumed in the hours which follow exercise are generally used to replenish glycogen. Of course there’s a limit to how much an individual can store, so one shouldn’t go overboard with one’s carb consumption.
College students often make the mistake of eating infrequently. Oftentimes they get into a ‘work groove’ and forget to eat. Subsequently they experience bouts of low blood-sugar, which lead to bouts of binge-eating. While binging, individuals aren’t judicious in their food selection… and so they end up loading up on hundreds of sugar and fat-laden calories, of little nutritional value.
Eat smaller meals at regular intervals through-out the day…rather than succumbing to infrequent, but overly large, binges.
5. Learn to say no!
This one is a really tough one for some. College-age individuals are always trying to please someone… I guess the same could be said about people of any age… but for argument’s sake, let’s focus on the college-aged individual.
Eating and drinking are highly social activities. This is especially true at college. Think about how many times you’ve arrived at a party, and immediately someone hands you a beer or a rum and coke. Think about how many times a parent or friend has sent you home-made cakes or cookies. Think of how many times your room-mate has asked you whether you wanted in on a late-night pizza run. We as a society are ALWAYS eating… and we feel most comfortable when others around us happen to be eating as well. So, we drag them in.
Eating is meant to be functional as well as enjoyable. To preserve these precepts one must make a conscious decision to eat/drink only when you want to or need to… as opposed to whenever someone decides that you should.
Learn to say NO!
6. Lay off the booze.
Notice: I didn’t say “stop drinking”… because I KNOW that particular snippet would fall on deaf ears. 🙂
What I’m suggesting is a moderate approach to drinking. Remember, liquid calories add up in a BIG way.
Some things you can do to cut back include:
- (Where possible) Avoiding hard liquor. (Avoid shots at all cost!)
- Choosing lighter liquor (vodka for example) over rum (and other high sugar liquor)
- Choosing light beer over normal beers
- Choosing calorie-free chasers (e.g. sprite light, coke zero)
7. Take a one-month break from partying every semester
“A whole month Nark?” – Hell yes!
Properly applied, a strict diet and exercise routine for one month can result in over 10 lbs of pure fat-loss. That’s right, TEN POUNDS!
“But I’ll be missing out Nark!” – I can’t say that I agree.
You owe it to yourself to put in the effort. Heck, fat-loss aside, there are so many other health benefits to be derived from a ‘break’. I consider this one-month period my ‘me time’, and so should you!
It is possible to balance staying in shape with having a great time… And I’m speaking from experience here. Numerous additional benefits can be derived from staying in shape. Research indicates that increased cognition and creativity , as well as an improved ability to cope with stress  are all effects of the regular inclusion of exercise. Who wouldn’t want those perks? It would be just INSANE to skip regular exercise!
Avoid those unnecessary pounds of flab guys!
1. “High-Fat, High-Calorie Salad Shocker” http://www.vibrantglow.com/2007/09/h…d-shocker.html
2. Tomporowski, Phillip D.; Ellis, Norman R. “Effects of exercise on cognitive processes: A review.” Psychological Bulletin. Vol 99(3), May 1986, 338-346.
3. Blanchette, David M., Ramocki, Stephen P., O’del, John N., and Casey, Michael S. (2005). “Aerobic Exercise and Cognitive Creativity: Immediate and Residual Effects.” Creativity Research Journal, 17(2&3), 257-264.
4. Steinberg, H., Sykes, E. A., Moss, T., Lowery, S., LeBoutillier, N., and Dewey, A. (1997). Exercise Enhances Creativity Independent of Mood. British Journal of Sports Medicine 31(3): 240-245.
5. “Exercise Fuels the Brain’s Stress Buffers.” – http://www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/article.php?id=25