“Oh, you gained a lot of weight!” or “Wow, you look bigger!” are just a couple of the many phrases college students hear after their freshmen year. Long before students arrive on campus, they are expected to gain the traditional “freshman 15” pounds.
Although gaining weight during the first year of college seems inevitable, extra pounds can be attributed to dorm life.
Because most freshmen are on meal plans, they have little control over what they eat. Aside from the cafeteria’s occasional attempts to reproduce hearty holiday dinners, students receive few nutritional home-cooked meals, leaving room for mini-refrigerators and dorm room cabinets full of chips, soda, candy and noodles.
Another contributing factor in gaining the infamous “freshmen 15,” is the time at which many students choose to eat. During all-nighters or cram sessions, many students order pizza or Chinese food. Others frequent 24-hour fast-food drive-thrus after leaving nightclubs and parties.
In addition to the bad food choices, many students go straight to bed after late-night meals. This can lead to an increase in numbers on the scale.
But living on campus does not equate unhealthy living.
There are ways to avoid gaining weight while living on campus.
The cafeteria has a salad bar, and not to mention the salads and yogurt sold in the Orange Room, and the sandwiches and wraps that grace the Jazzman CafÃ© menus.
The University also offers free services that encourage exercise. The fitness center, located near the Grand Ballroom, provides access to workout equipment, group exercise classes and personal trainers.
Andrew Kwong, a graduate assistant for the fitness center encourages all students to stop by.
“We have many different activities. It really depends on the student,” he said.
For those students who cannot find time to get into the fitness center, home workouts may be the answer.
This is true for Sabrina Newton, a freshman from Orlando.
“Before taking a shower, I do a series of crunches, leg warm-ups, and calf exercises,” Newton said.
The buffet-style dining hall leads some students to overeat. However, the key is to eat in moderations.
Instead of snacking on junk foods, students can also keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand, eat earlier and limit the servings of food and exercise. After all, the “freshmen 15” is a legendary myth, not a scientific law.
contact Constance Rush at Constancerush@yahoo.com.