“The Freshman Fifteen” sounds like some fun, exclusive club. Well, as a former member, I can tell you that it is not a club that you want to join. With a little forethought you can prevent yourself from becoming a member like I did.
Weight Gain is Not Inevitable
“The Freshman Fifteen” is not a myth. There are many studies that prove that when women and men start school, they often experience significant weight gain. This is probably caused by the change in habits many students have when starting college. Many of the changes are good. You become more independent, meet new people, and often get a totally different outlook on life. Keep these good changes but don’t add extra pounds to the list. Let me tell you how. The only equipment you will need is a scale.
Math is Your Friend
You are in college now, so let’s get some practice with math. Your body will burn about 10 calories for each pound that you weigh without doing any activity during a 24-hour period. Add to that about 300 to 500 calories for normal everyday activity without doing any kind of vigorous exercise. With this data, you can figure out how many calories you are allowed to take in a day to maintain your weight. Now you know where to start, let’s get going!
This Works For Weight Loss Too
Start by weighing yourself every day. Do this even on days when you know that the scale is not going to be your friend because if you follow this plan it will work for you even if you stray for a day or a weekend. Here is how I do it: always start with a breakfast. Eat it as soon as you can after waking in the morning. Make it around 400 calories, and stick to high protein and/or high fiber foods. This will make you feel full throughout the day. Then for lunch another 500 calories of high protein and high fiber foods again (this will help you to feel full longer). Finally for dinner, splurge a little and go for 600 to 700 calories. Most diet books tell you to eat a big breakfast and almost nothing for dinner. Good advice, but is this doable?
Give Yourself Credit
Even if you don’t regularly exercise, see if you can give yourself extra credit by using a run/walk application on your smartphone, to find if you are actually burning more calories walking than the 300 to 500 calories I already mentioned. This may also cause you to walk longer to help make your calorie goal.
This process has worked for me, however, everyone is different. Maybe the way you adjust your calories are different, or maybe you exercise regularly and therefore can take in more calories and still lose weight. I would love to hear about what works and does not work for you, so please share your successes and changes with me!
Kevin Hawkins is a fitness enthusiast and a self help fanatic.