Chick-fil-A, Momma Goldberg’s, Zaxby’s, Domino’s and McDonalds. Auburn has a multitude of fast food restaurants just waiting at student’s fingertips. When you get all settled into your dorm room or apartment and start your exciting college adventure, it might seem easier to grab a burger and fries instead of hitting up the grocery store.
Students have the freedom to choose their own schedules and manage their time while in school, which usually results in gym time landing last on the list after studying and socializing. Stress and late-night snacking while studying can pack on the pounds.
In 2012, there was a study performed by Auburn University researchers that revealed 70 percent of students gain weight by graduation, according to health.com. They followed 131 students during four years of college. On average, students gained 12 pounds, and the most gained was 37 pounds.
Many websites such as dosomething.org claim the Freshman 15 is a myth and that students only gain 2.5–3.5 pounds. The website stated the Journal of American College of Health reported that half of college students gain weight during the school year.
With the study Auburn conducted four years ago, researchers proved this myth to be false. They concluded the added weight students gained came from fat mass, meaning natural growth did not account for the packed pounds.
Use these quick tips to stay fit and avoid falling prey to the ever-dreaded Freshman 15.
1. Get some sleep. Most people don’t think about how many hours they’re snoozing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults need 7–8 hours of sleep per day.
The CDC recommends going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. They also suggest not eating large meals before bed.
2. Manage your stress. College can be hard, there’s no doubt about that. You’re going to have nights when you have to stay up all night to get that paper or project done. Finding ways to cope with the added stress and workload can make the difference in your health. Instead of munching on some chips, grab some grapes or fruit. Carrots will give you the same crunch of a potato chip without the processed fat.
3. Get active. Explore your new college campus by walking places instead of driving all the time.
The Recreation and Wellness Center offers different exercise classes if you want to socialize with your friends while building some muscle.
4. Eat what your body needs. Getting the necessary nutrients in all food groups will make your body happy. Protein, vegetables, fruit and good starches such as sweet potatoes are good foods to eat.
5. Watch your alcohol consumption. Gaining the “beer belly” is common among college students. Yes, going out and drinking can be fun, but drink with moderation. Limit your intake and drink light beer with less calories.