The freshman 15, the 15-pound weight gain first-year students are known to experience after coming to college, is often seen as a normal part of life by many students. The quality of food on college campuses is often joked about without thinking twice, while students continue to make up excuses and continue eating.
Sure, the food on campus is quite different than home-cooked meals — but not always in a bad way. Having access to a hamburger and fries all day is convenient. And don’t get me started on the delicious menu items available at VG’s late-night.
All excuses aside, the freshman 15 is not a laughing matter. In my opinion, there is nothing humorous about gaining 15 pounds. I am terrified of weight-gain — especially such a large dose of it.
Cal Poly landscape architecture freshman Chanel Barritt agrees. She said she regrets allowing herself to gain weight during her first month on campus.
“My clothes are too small now,” Barritt said. “But my goals for the year are to use the gym more often and eat more healthy foods, but less often, in order to stay fit.”
The freshman 15 is not a death sentence, nor is it inevitable. Since I came to Cal Poly, I have been able to exercise, monitor my portions and make healthy choices, which has helped me to avoid gaining excess weight altogether.
Considering the Recreation Center on campus is open all day and late into the evenings and is included in tuition for students, there is no reason exercise and burning off those burger calories should not be a part of one’s weekly life.
There are also other options of exercise, such as hiking, surfing and swimming. These exciting ways to get the heart pumping are new to me and seem like a lot of fun in comparison to a dull repetitive gym routine.
Watching portions is a bit more difficult, as I (like many students), feel pressure to get my money’s worth out of each meal credit on my meal plan. My best advice in this area is to let the change go to waste. If I do not utilize my entire credit for my meal, it is still better than grabbing four candy bars — calories I do not need to consume — as I approach the register. Another option for spending those extra meal dollars is grabbing a few water bottles so you don’t have to keep filling up your water filter in the dorm.
Healthy choices do exist at all restaurants on campus.
Take breakfast, for example. Most on-campus restaurants offer a single-serving of yogurt with granola. This is a much more health-conscious choice than my personal breakfast favorite, a cinnamon roll. This healthy choice won’t put anyone into a food coma either — the same cannot be said for the gigantic, sugar-coated cinnamon roll.
I also try to only eat when I am actually hungry. Although this sounds like a no-brainer, I have often found myself peering into the eyes of temptation as friends invite me along for dinner or a late-night snack after I have recently eaten. I have found it is next to impossible to go along on a food excursion and not eat so I now just decline the invitation.
In the end, you are what you eat. So does that make me an Almond Joy, just because I slipped up? Absolutely not. But I am still going to give this fitness thing a go.