How to avoid the “freshman 15”


Oakland student running on the treadmill.

By Kristen Davis

Although some say the “freshman 15” isn’t real, a large majority of college students do return from their first year with a few extra pounds. 

With a little bit of preparation and focus, avoiding the weight gain freshman year is possible. Here’s six tips on how it can be done. 

1. IF YOU’RE GOING TO EAT YOUR FEELINGS, EAT GRAPES…NOT SKITTLES: If you’re feeling sad because you flunked a test or you’re just sick of studying and want a sweet snack for therapy, choose something naturally sweet instead of candy. Fresh fruit or a handful of trail mix are great alternatives. Stocking up on smart, healthy snacks rather than junk food also makes it easier to make the right decision when it comes to snack time.  

2. BLOCK OFF TIMES IN YOUR SCHEDULE TO HIT THE GYM:  Once classes begin, schedules can get hectic. Managing time is the best way to prevent allowing the chaos to run your life. Pencil in times three to five days a week specifically for physical activity. This will make it easier to actually get yourself in the gym without feeling like you have to squeeze it in or making up excuses for why you can’t.

3. PLAY INTRAMURAL OR CLUB SPORTS:  Sometimes, going for a run or lifting weights just doesn’t sound appealing. But luckily, there’s other ways to get physical activity in. One of the best ways is by playing an intramural or club sport. You make friends and compete while getting a work out in at the same time. 

4. TAKE A FITNESS CLASS OR GET A PERSONAL TRAINER ON CAMPUS: The recreation center offers a variety of fitness classes. From yoga to boot camp and cycling, the full class schedule can be found on the recreation center website and most classes are free. Personal trainers are also available for those who want to get more serious about their fitness.

5. MAKE SMART CHOICES: There are options in the cafeteria and other food places on campus that aren’t the healthiest, but there’s smart choices too. Opt for a salad instead of french fries, water instead of pop and so on. 

6. INDULGE WHEN NEEDED, BUT DON’T GO CRAZY:  You’re going to have cravings for ice cream, pizza or chocolate. Don’t make yourself miserable and avoid them at all costs. Pizza once a month isn’t going to put 20 pounds on your gut, just don’t make eating pizza every day a habit. It’s about balance.