Reversing the Freshman Fifteen

College is a great time to reshape yourself and discover who you’ll grow to become as a person. We gain so much during these years— friendships, independence, knowledge . . . two or three inches around the waist . . .

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If you see yourself “reshaping” in a way that you didn’t exactly plan, you may have already met the “freshman fifteen.” A scary thought for many. Never fear, however, for this fate is preventable, and indeed reversible. You just need to recognize the pitfalls of campus health and learn to avoid them. If you’re living at school, and especially here in NYC, there are dozens of ways to avoid weight gain and even become fitter than you started out. In fact, this is the perfect time to experiment with different health-care techniques and establish a good tone for your new life as a young adult. Ready for some tips?

  1. Make good choices in the dining hall!! This one seems obvious, but it’s by far the biggest reason first-year students tend to put on weight. Your dining hall (if it’s anything like mine) is well-stocked with greasy goodies, fried and battered, full of salt and sugar. You will find these foods everywhere. Of course this is where your meals are coming from, and you probably paid good money for your meal plan, so don’t let it go to waste. But it’s not mom’s cooking. Take this into account when you pick meals; you’re in charge of your own nutrition now, and the school’s not going to force broccoli onto your dinner plate. It’s up to you to choose the salmon over the pizza and the peas over the French fries. There’s a salad bar— use it. Go for something green over something beige, and take it easy at the ice cream station. Basically, use common sense here! We all know by now what a healthy diet looks like. I’m not saying that you should never indulge; just don’t underestimate the effect that it will have on your health if you’re eating nothing but junk food.

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  1. What you can’t get in the dining hall, get at the grocery store.Not all dining halls are created equal, and you may have caught on that the food at yours is not exactly gourmet. Does your school’s spinach taste like mush? Don’t be shy about supplementing

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    your diet with your own creations. Recently I invested in a personal smoothie-maker for a little over ten dollars. When I have an early class and can’t grab breakfast, I throw in some fresh fruit and veggies for a meal to-go. This is a great trick for slipping some important nutrients into your diet that your dining hall might be ignoring. It’s also not a bad idea to sneak some vitamins and dietary supplements into your smoothies— whatever your diet may be lacking. Vitamin C and Biotin, for example, are great for healthy hair, skin and nails. You can find these in pill-form at most drug stores. Look for them at Metro Drugs and save with this coupon

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  1. Make the most of your school’s gym. You’ll wish you still had it when you graduate and have to pay for your gym membership. Try to make it there even a couple times a week and you’ll feel yourself getting stronger. Regular exercise will give you more energy. Try bringing a buddy along. A friend can help to motivate you as well as make your workout a little more fun. Take advantage of your school’s gym equipment— a little goes a long way here!







  1. Try new things! Fitness never has to be a chore. There are so many

    ways to have fun and exercise at the same time. If the treadmill isn’t your thing, try stepping off campus and going to a yoga place, or even a dance class! Consider something like this:



Campus Clipper Deal- Latin Dance lessons at Piel Canela!



So go ahead and reshape your life. You don’t have to let your freshman fifteen semester become a pattern for your next four years!



Laura DeFrancisci, Manhattan College. Check out my Blog!

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