Freshman 15

In high school you were a stick. You could eat and drink anything you wanted and you still managed to keep off that deadly wad of weight. Now that you’re in college or university, however, you’re facing the prospect of the deadly Freshman 15 – and try as you might, keeping that weight off may prove impossible.

Or will it? In fact it’s not that difficult to manage your weight and keep those pounds off your waistline. Here are some fairly simple guidelines that should allow you to maintain that trim figure while still enjoying the post-secondary experience.

– First, and potentially not possible for some, don’t live on campus. Though most of the time is spent on buses, commuting to and from school will force you to get off your butt and move around. Movement prevents the accumulation of weight, or at least stymies the progression, and given how many books you usually have to carry around you’ll be getting plenty of exercise making your way to and from school each day.

– Once you’re on campus, don’t take the lazy way out. Avoid elevators. Take the stairs whenever you’re going to class. Simply getting to some classes, on the opposite side of campus, may be more than enough to keep the Freshman 15 at bay, depending on the size of your school.

– Package your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Don’t buy from a cafeteria, as the food is typically quite fatty in nature and will expand your waistline in no time. Make sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables. You’ll probably earn the ridicule of your peers, true, but that’s only at first – eventually they’ll be mooching off your salady offerings, sick of hamburgers and pizza all the time.

– Eat at regular intervals. Don’t just snack all day and consider that a meal. Basically, treat your eating times as you would at home – large meals in the morning, noon and evening, and no more food beyond that.

– Drink lots of water, or juice if you want some more vitamins. Avoid sugary pops or energy drinks. Again, these are a regular, cheaper fixture on most campuses, and despite the temptation of saving some money should be avoided at all costs. Coffee is also a no-no, though it may prove irresistible for some.

– Exercise regularly. Moving between classes may suffice in some places, but often that’s not enough. If there’s a gym – and there probably will be – use it on a regular basis, even if it’s only for half an hour a day. Work up a bit of a sweat on the machines or simply run around the track a bit to get your heart beat up. If you can manage these trips with friends, all the better – having a comrade in weight loss will provide both of you with an incentive to exercise more.

– And, last, perhaps most important, don’t party too much. Again, this may prove impossible for some, but if you want to keep the weight off you need to restrict your alcohol intake – and there’s typically a lot of alcohol at college parties. Imbibe too much and you’ll not only likely make a fool out of yourself, you’ll be all the fatter the next day.

As with anything related to weight, moderation is the key. Balance the various elements of your life – eating, exercise and classes – and you should have little trouble remaining roughly the same weight throughout school. Go overboard on one element, however (except perhaps exercise – that’d be odd if you got fat from too much exercise), and your gut will be sloshing about before you know it.