How to combat the freshman 15 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

How to combat the freshman 15


You've probably head of the dreaded freshman 15, the extra weight many college students gain their first year of school.

When Armstrong State University senior Daniel Hilton started his freshman year, he made sure he did everything possible to stay healthy.

"When I first came to college, I was really overweight, so I was really conscious about what to eat," he said.

He gave up soda completely, walked to all of his classes and went to the gym several times a week.

Leanne Clark had a bit of a different experience. She said she gained the freshman 15, and then some, all out of boredom.

"Being bored, sitting in my room just eating all the snacks that I had," she said.

This is just one of many factors that can cause the dreaded freshman 15. Dietician Brittany Lightsey explained why it's so easy for college freshman to gain weight.

"Total turnover of your life," she said. "All the things you're used to, your eating habits, your exercise habits are all switched up. The stress and anxiety can lead us to indulging in some foods that make us feel good."

So how can this be avoided? First, stay active!

"Be mindful about your eating habits and intentional about exercise," Lightsey said.

Lightsey said this is crucial, especially when a student feels stressed or overwhelmed.

"If you're feeling sad, go on a brisk walk with a friend," she said. "Exercise, turn those feelings around. Also, make smart choices in the cafeteria and dining hall. They have a lot of healthier choices, but just because it's all you can eat, you're just going to go back for more. Cut down the amount of time you spend in there because if you spend a lot of time in there, you'll eat constantly just from sitting there."

And Lightsey said students need to make sure they give themselves options.

"Keep some smart snacks in your dorm," she said. "Strive for variety."

Variety can keep students happy and healthy year round.

Another thing Lightsey said to watch out for is social eating, which can be a surefire way to pack on the calories.

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