According to a study done at Auburn University in Alabama, 70% of students gain an average of 12 pounds during four years at college. Some gain even more, up to 37 pounds! This weight gain could be brought on by a number of things, from a change in routine to a lack of physical activity to an increase in late nights spent studying. How can this unhealthy weight gain be combated? Follow these simple steps to avoid the infamous Freshman 15 and stay healthy:
- Snack smart. As tempting as it may be to guzzle down a soda and help yourself to a nice bag of greasy potato chips from the vending machine when hunger strikes on the way to class, it's important to learn smart snacking habits in order to keep off extra weight. Lisa Maxwell, writer for the Huffington Post, suggests snacking on things such as baked chips, lowfat popcorn, and fresh fruit instead. These foods will give you more energy, conquer your hunger, and prevent unhealthy weight gain.
- Get moving. Every little bit of physical activity helps! For those who don't like more traditional exercises, such as running and weightlifting, there are tons of options, such as Zumba or kickboxing classes. Many college campuses have a fitness or wellness center; these can be great places to sign up for some activities and get your blood pumping.
- Sleep is NOT for the weak. In order to maintain a healthy body weight and avoid unwanted weight gain, you must get enough sleep each night. While this may be easier said then done, with loads of homework to do nightly, friends to hang out with, and Netflix shows to catch up on, it is extremely important to try and get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to a slower metabolism, increased cravings, and overall weight gain. Try to sleep for atleast six hours a night if possible.
College should be a time to have fun and grow as an individual, and it shouldn't be spent worrying about unhealthy weight gain. With these simple tips, you are sure to be a healthier person all around.