Change often triggers weight fluctuation, weight gain being the most prevalent. The changes associated with attending college for the first year have been found to trigger this weight change.
For a person to avoid this 10 to 15 pound weight gain, it is helpful to understand why the weight gain even happens.
“Lack of exercise, eating late at night, keeping unhealthy snacks on hand [and] eating unhealthy cafeteria food … are some reasons for the weight increase. Another major cause is sleep deprivation,” according to www.freshman15.com.
When going through the changes associated with a college lifestyle, an awareness of proper exercise and eating habits are essential to preventing this weight gain. Students should analyze their personal eating and exercise habits, and improve where they can.
Possible reasons for not exercising or for eating unhealthy can be stress, not enough time or even feeling tired. Regardless of the reasons, proper health habits are vital in combating weight gain.
“Regular exercise can be your biggest weapon against fighting the freshman 15. Working out helps tone muscle, and running helps burn fat and calories. All college students should include some type of exercise in their daily routine,” according to www.freshman15.com.
To avoid unhealthy eating habits, students can plan out a healthy variety of foods to eat on a daily basis, look the available healthy options when going out to eat and make sure that healthy snack foods are available before the craving comes.
“When freshman leave home for college it’s a new environment. Mom is not there to make home cooked meals, pack a lunch or wake them in time so they don’t miss breakfast. This is where the easy pop-tarts, frozen meals and the dollar menu come in,” said nutrition specialist Rebekah Whetten.
The United States Department of Agriculture has produced a list of tools and recommendations specialized to each person regarding healthful eating and exercise. That information is found at www.mypyramid.gov.
“There are many diets, and fads and ‘conspiring hearts and conniving minds of the world’ the Lord mentioned in D&C 89. But under eating is not the answer. Limiting food gros, unless necessary for allergies or other medical reasons, is not necessary. The answer is simply enjoyable moderation,” said Michele Gunnell, a junior studying nutrition.
A regular exercise combined with moderation and variety in eating habits aren’t the only activities to combat weight gain. Sleep has also been proven to have a significant impact on avoiding weight gain, and more specifically, the Freshman 15.
“Scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain,” according to www.usatoday.com.
Satisfaction of the hunger hormone grehlin will enhance clear thought as social and emotional eating start to creep in.
“People sometimes eat in response to anxiety, homesickness, sadness or stress, and all of these can be part of adapting to being away at school,” according to www.kidshealth.org.
Gaining the unnecessary 10 to 15 pounds of weight is unwanted in the first years of college, but studies show that a more gradual gain of weight over the course of many years can be the more detrimental weight gain in a person’s life-long health. Prevention of any unnecessary weight gain is important to student’s health during their college years, not just their first year.
“Doctors are concerned that students who gradually put on pounds are establishing a pattern of weight gain that could spell trouble if it continues,” according to kidshealth.org.