student life

Freshman 15: Fighting weight gain at University

Written by amy_hannah

Starting University for the first time is definitely one of the most exciting, terrifying and confusing experiences: parents are gone, freedom reigns and everyth

Starting University for the first time is definitely one of the most exciting, terrifying and confusing experiences: parents are gone, freedom reigns and everything can end up a little hazy and out of whack.

For many, that includes any form of healthy eating and exercise regime, and the dreaded “Freshman 15” (an American term used to refer to weight gain at university) which you had so defiantly assured yourself would never affect you begins to make its heavy and fast descent. 

I, too, along with the masses, was no stranger to this beast, abandoning my healthy eating in favour of cheesy chips on nights out, hungover takeaways and a little too much enthusiasm for Domino’s ‘Two for Tuesdays.’ As a result, I began to find myself slowly piling on the pounds.
Whilst I have since vowed to steer clear of the strips of takeaways in favour of fighting the flab at the gym and replenishing energy with home-cooked, healthier options, I would like to offer up some advice to help those who are about to start university and how they can stop things from potentially spiralling out of control…
Find yourself a gym buddy
Since returning back to university I have found starting up at the gym with one of my friends has definitely helped motivate me to get up and work out most days. You’ll find it a lot easier sweating it out with someone else than trying to embark on a hungover and sleepy workout on your own.
Write out a meal plan
Whilst this sounds rather boring and time consuming, it can actually be a saviour when you’re tired and can’t be bothered to think of something to cook. It will also mean you’ll only buy what you need and can prepare meals in larger amounts so that leftovers can be eaten the next day if you really can’t face the thought of cooking again.
Stay away from ‘drunk’ food
I know this is definitely much easier said than done: I myself have fallen guilty to gorging on chips and pizza overcome by drunken munchies. To try and combat this, I’d suggest taking only the money you think you’ll need on a night out rather than having plenty left over to spend on filling your cravings. To the drunk mind, no burger, pizza or kebab is ever big enough.
Set yourself goals
Exercising is much more fun when you have an aim, whether it be to just tone up or try and beat your 5km personal best. 
Limit your alcohol intake
Yes, I know you’re a fresher, YOLO and all that, but limiting the amount of alcohol you consume will have vast benefits not just to your waist line, but your general well-being. Indulging in too many nights out can really impact upon your studying, or lack of, and affect your mood. Everything in moderation, people.
Don’t forget to treat yourself
Depriving yourself of the occasional “bad food” could actually make you more likely to slip up and binge on a large tub of half-price Ben and Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie ice cream (yes, I am speaking from experience here!). Instead, allow yourself up to one or two small treats a week: a brownie or bacon sandwich – whatever floats your boat!
I hope I have given you some fairly feasible options for helping to fight off the “Freshman 15,” but even if you find yourself at its mercy don’t feel too bad, as I think it might just be a vital university experience!
What do you think? Have you experience weight gain at university? What other advice would you give? Have your say in the comments section below.