The Freshman 15 haunts every student attending his or her first year of college. Although this does not apply to everyone, some students experience weight gain during the first year, or any year of college.

One in four college freshmen gain 10 pounds within the first semester, according to a report by WebMD. So, what are the reasons that college freshmen tend to gain weight? Why are students aware of the potential 15 pounds, yet so many experience it?

It could be the cafeterias all-access policy, a change in schedule, minimal aid in meal planning or too many nights out. Whatever the reason, The Big Green has eight tips to help you avoid the Freshman 15.

1. Walk to class

Riding the CATA bus is tempting for some people, particularly throughout winter, and especially when you paid for a semester pass. Walking to class instead is a great way to sustain energy throughout the school year. Plus, by walking the campus, you will be able to experience the beautiful nature that Michigan State University has to offer.

2. Take advantage of the free group exercise classes at MSU

Provided by Live On, MSU offers free group exercise classes in each neighborhood on campus throughout the week. Check out when yoga, cardiokickboxing or zumba will be in your neighborhood here.

3. Go to the gym at least three times a week

Take a study break and go to the gym. MSU has full-year and one-semester gym memberships that are available for purchase at any time.

You don’t have to buy a membership to have the opportunity to work out at a gym, however. Some halls have gym equipment located within the building. This is a free alternative! The only requirement is you have to be a resident. See if there is a gym provided in your building here. Another tip is to get a gym buddy! Meeting a friend, and pushing each other through a workout makes going to the gym simple.

4. Eat in moderation

Try some healthy alternative meals to avoid the Freshman 15. Photo via Creative Commons.
Try some healthy alternative meals to avoid the Freshman 15. Photo via Creative Commons.

It might be hard to turn down the cafeteria, especially if you have one in your building. The best advice to avoid eating too much in the cafeteria is to eat in moderation or practice portion control. MSU provides a portion size chart to help students eat the right amounts of foods, take a look at it here.

5. Avoid late night meals

It is tempting to indulge in Conrad’s, Menna’s Joint, Taco Bell or delivery after a night out with friends. Try to avoid eating after 9 p.m. If the cravings persist, choose a healthier snack before bed to tame the hunger.

6. Don’t drink your calories

Pop and alcohol have empty calories that can simply be avoided if you drink them in moderation or cut them out of your diet completely. As a substitution, try drinking water more. Water fused with lemons or berries can taste more appetizing.

7. Take a class

MSU offers Kinesiology courses at many different levels. Most fitness based KIN courses follow a pass/fail criteria.To earn credit for the class, you have to get up and be active!

8. NetNutrition

The cafeteria is possibly the only source of food you have on campus. Eat at State provides a campus cafeteria calorie counter, NetNutrition. This format allows you to select items from MSU menus, build a meal, then quantify the nutrition. You can also insert in your allergies to know which foods to avoid. Check it out!

A little bit of weight gain is okay! It happens to the best of us. By following these tips, you can bust the Freshman 15 standard and have a little more control on how it affects your body.


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