Sam Gilbert is a journalism sophomore and Mustang Daily health columnist.

The transition to a new school and community isn’t always the easiest thing. Although Cal Poly — not that we’re biased or anything — feels like home almost instantly, the adaptation to a new lifestyle affects just about everyone.

Going from Mom’s home cooking to providing for ourselves probably hit us the hardest during our freshman year. Suddenly, it’s the end of spring quarter and it dawns on us that we were the victims of the dreaded — you guessed it — Freshman 15.

Even though we’re all tempted to completely blame this curse on Campus Dining, it turns out there are even more factors that go into this problem than we think.

Samantha Van Natta, a member of the on-campus Health Enrichment Action Team (HEAT), said freshman year is a very stressful time.

“Moving is one of the top stressers, so any kind of stress will add weight to your body usually,” Van Natta said.

Some people lose weight with stress, but the majority of people gain it, Van Natta said. It can be because of your eating patterns or your body isn’t processing it the same.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, another factor to stress, your ghrelin levels are going up, which increases your hunger levels, Van Natta said. You eat approximately 300 calories more by not getting enough sleep.

Stress, along with not being able to eat the food you’re used to and not having your parents telling you what to do, contributes to the Freshman 15, political science freshman Zoe Delli-Bovi said.

Delli-Bovi said there’s a lack of guidance and motivation.

Eating on campus is most likely different from eating at home, Van Natta said. Most students never had to prepare their meals and now they’re providing for themselves.

Maybe students don’t have the knowledge of what a healthy diet is or they just don’t have time, Van Natta said. If you have to grab something on the go, it’s probably not going to be the healthiest thing.

Something students don’t normally think about is sports drinks, Van Natta said.

Water is the best drink to choose because Gatorade has 20 grams of sugar, Van Natta said. That is more sugar than in two Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Taylor Phillips, Sandwich Factory employee, said Sandwich Factory’s wheat bread is probably the healthiest.

“The croissants are God-awful bad for you,” Phillips said. “They’re just really good and freshly made, so it’s kind of hard to avoid them.”

The croissants and bagels aren’t the best choices if you’re trying to be healthy, Phillips said.

A good choice is the pesto hummus wrap — basically a tortilla, hummus, tomatoes and cucumbers — which is pretty good for you, Phillips said.

Students tend to have misconceptions about the nutrition for campus food.

“I think a lot of the food is really salty,” Delli-Bovi said.

Delli-Bovi said she’s not sure if campus food is high in fat, but she often chooses not to eat it and just eats a salad instead.

Campus Dining does make an effort, Van Natta said.

Campus Dining provides calorie counts and fat amounts on all its food, and online it has suggestions to make meals healthier.

Students just need to know to choose something that’s baked or broiled instead of fried, and use the MyPlate model.

The MyPlate model is making half your plate vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter carbohydrates, Van Natta said.

Freshmen could use their Plu$ Dollars to buy the baby carrots or celery sticks at Campus Market or go to Farmers’ Market and buy some fresh food if they have the means to store it, Van Natta said.

Eat in moderation and just try to work out as much as you can, Delli-Bovi said.

Basically, freshmen students’ whole routine is changed by moving and the experience of their first year of college, Van Natta said.

The resources are there, and it just needs to be put into action, she said.

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