Nothing scares new college students more than the infamous “freshman 15” — a common expression referring to the weight students sometimes gain during their first year of college. While the phenomenon is more prevalent among women due to the way their bodies mature, it can happen to anyone.
A university campus offers many temptations. You’re on your own for the first time, so heck, why not have French fries and ice cream for dinner? There is no one there to stop you from piling on larger portions in the dining hall. The stress of a major transition in life can trigger overeating for the average student.
It should be said that some weight gain is normal as our adolescent bodies and metabolisms continue to grow and adjust. However, weight gain that puts you over the body’s normal range carries certain health risks. Poor diet and exercise habits now could put you on a road to heart disease, diabetes or obesity in adulthood.
But good news! There are many ways to minimize weight gain and stay healthy in the college setting.
When you pay your campus privilege fees at Kansas State University, you gain automatic access to the K-State Recreation Complex. It has a plethora of opportunities for getting in a solid workout, from treadmills to weight rooms.
If sports are more your thing, the Rec has equipment you can freely check out for playing anything from basketball to racquetball. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, students can join recreational teams for sports like ultimate frisbee or softball. Get a group of friends together in order to hold each other accountable and go have some fun while burning off some extra calories.
Drinking is a major part of what makes college fun for some people, but you should be cognizant of the role drinking plays in weight gain. Not only can five to six beers hold as many as 1,000 calories, but alcohol can slow down the body’s metabolism for up to three days afterwards.
You do not have to give up drinking, but if you are going to go out on the weekend, plan ahead. Work out a little bit harder the day before and the day after, or eat healthier foods with fewer calories to make up the difference.
Do not be tempted to take the easy fix like skipping meals or trying the latest fad diet — that will just lead to more weight gain in the long run. It is best to make small, easy changes to your lifestyle that you know you can stick with.
And remember: if you do gain a little weight, it is not the end of the world. Some simple changes to your lifestyle can make a huge impact today and years down the road.
Cody Latham is a sophomore in history. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.