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Image from Pexels

You have finally moved in on campus after hauling your entire wardrobe, those cubby things that you got on discount (score!) and all of your other supplies up and down 3 flights of stairs. You sit down on your bed and and take a huge sigh of relief. College is HAPPENING. This is REAL.

And you are starving.

The dreaded “Freshman 15” has become one of the dreaded experiences for incoming college freshmen. The conveniency of having all-you-can-eat dining options within five minutes of on-campus Chick-Fil-As can become an overused luxury. This weight gain (and even in some cases, weight loss) can affect any and everyone. But fear not! Here are fifteen simple, logical ways to maintain health and weight during freshman year.

1. Eat.

I know what you’re thinking. “How am I supposed to lose weight by eating?” Simple. If you eat when you are hungry rather than putting it off until after you’ve finished a 10 page paper, you are less likely to overindulge. Don’t starve yourself and then binge; satisfy your hunger.

2. Explore all of your campus’ dining options.

Many college campuses have several options for dining, such as organic foods and salad bars. Consider trying out some of the healthier options rather than going to Fried Chicken Wednesday EVERY Wednesday. (Even though it’s soo tempting..)

3. Get a realistic meal plan that suits your eating habits.

Many colleges and universities offer a variety of meal plans that cater to student preference. So if you know that you need breakfast, lunch and dinner, then a meal plan that gives you one meal per day may not be the best option. Consequently, if two meals a day is good for you, a four-meal-a-day plan would just create excess.

4. Have a schedule for eating.

If you plan when and where you are going to eat each day, you can properly plan how to eat and how much. Eating at whim or because you’re bored (trust me, I have this habit) is a sure fire way to gain weight. Plan a schedule that best fits you and your classes.

5. Keep your stress to a minimum.

Emotions and stress levels can be easily related to our eating habits. The more stressed you are, the more likely you are to run to comfort food. Calm down. Breathe. Limit your emotion fueled meals.

6. Try cooking your own meals.

Not only is this a better alternative then all-you-can-eat every night, but it also can become a great bonding experience. Getting together with a roommate or some friends in the dorm for dinner a few nights a month can create a much healthier dining option.

7. Eat your vegetables.

Never forget what your mother always told you to do. If you stack your plate full of meats, carbs and deserts, you are more likely to still be hungry or become hungry again in a short amount of time. Vegetables add a filling substance to your meals.

8. Try your campus’ takeout dining option.

Numerous campus’ have implemented convenient takeout options for your students. This allows you to receive your fill of food without the temptation of going back for more.

9. Utilize your campus’ recreational facility.

Think you’re gaining too much weight or just want to get (or maintain) your shape? Many colleges have on campus gyms filled with equipment and activities for students. A quick trip to the gym a few times a week can make a huge difference.

10. Have a snack!

You may not have time to eat a full meal between English 1010 and Sociology. Try carrying healthy snacks with you that can keep you full until dinner. If you eat these snacks during the day, it will keep you from binging during a meal.

11. Try to eat breakfast. Every day.

So your first class isn’t until 10 on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Utilize that time to make a quick trip to the dining hall for a healthy breakfast. Eating breakfast not only helps your focus during class, but it also can help balance out your daily hunger. Embrace the Cheerios.

12. Get plenty of sleep (or at least try to).

Drinking an espresso from Starbucks every morning to makeup for sleep lost is a horrible habit to pick up. Lack of rest may cause you to eat foods high in caffeine to balance out. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to avoid the need for caffeine.

13. Stay involved!

Don’t lose your hype to be involved on campus! Whether it be joining intramural sport teams, or starting a workout group, being active with others on campus is a great way to stay fit.

14. Drink water. Plenty of it.

As tempting as it is to grab a soda for every meal, drinking plenty of water each day is essential to help. Not only does it help in keeping down weight gained from carbonated beverages, but it can assist in keeping skin clear as well! Remember: H20 is your friend.

15. Enjoy yourself.

Have some FUN. Go out to the party with your roommates. Sign up for Volunteer Weekend. Meet new people who are somewhat different than you. Staying active physically, mentally and socially are great ways to maintain your health during college. All these tips and suggestions will make for a fun, productive, and healthy first year.

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