It’s 4 p.m. and the afternoon wall of sleepiness is setting in. You gaze down in dismay at the essay you have not started.
You have three choices.
One: Wake yourself up with some exercise. Do some laps around your residence hall, jumping jacks in your room — anything to get energized.
Two: Grab a snack and hope it gives you the sustenance you need to complete this 10-page essay about the history of technology.
Three: Figure out how to work your roommate’s Keurig and hope for the best.
After debating these three options you decide on a snack, since it requires the least amount of focus and effort. You rummage through your secret stash of Oreos and Goldfish and settle in for the night.
Unfortunately it is this cycle of snacking, debating and settling on the easiest option that throws freshmen for a spin.
Megan Coats, a registered dietician for Cal Poly Campus Dining, explained the reason for such habits.
“Research shows that students gain weight their freshman year due to late night binges and the endless food possibilities that they have never experienced before,” Coats said.
Not to mention the “endless possibilities” can be found only a short walk from freshman housing.
The freshman 15 is as real as students make it, depending on what their transition into college looks like.
“Anxiety, homesickness, stress, adapting to a new routine and having roommates also can contribute to the additional eating,” Coats said.
With that, avoiding the freshman 15 looks a lot like distinguishing actual hunger from everything else.
“Listen to hunger cues,” Coats said. “Dehydration disguises itself as hunger, and most people can’t distinguish between the two.”
Separating hunger from boredem also plays a key part in developing eating habits at school, Coats said.
Having a definite plan of what to eat each day and where to eat it on campus also helps maintain healthy eating habits.
Exercise and being active is another important aspect of avoiding the freshmen 15, Coats said.
Kinesiology senior Becca Brookes — and president of the triathlon club — said staying active is essential.
“Surround yourself with people who enjoy being active,” Brookes said.
Take a chance on a club sport or intramurals and give racketball a go. If hand-eye coordination is not your thing, try out ultimate frisbee.
Along with exercising and being aware of what you eat, Plu$ Dollars are something to keep in mind this upcoming school year as well.
Theresa Fagouri, a health educator at Cal Poly, gave some insight on the updated meal plan, which uses only Plu$ Dollars.
“I encourage students to use their dining dollars wisely and choose foods that feed their brain and academia,” Fagouri said.
Try a fresh salad from Red Radish instead of a microwavable burrito from VG Cafe, for example.
It’s the small choices that count throughout the day, whether it’s taking a healthy snack to class or going for a quick jog before starting that essay.
“Be open-minded to new foods and experiences,” Coats said. “You’re in college now — this is the time.”