8 Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15…or is it 50?

TAYLOR JANKOWSKI | OPINION COLUMNIST Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Whoever warned first-years about the danger of gaining the “freshman 15” was wrong. In reality, it’s the freshman 50 we have to be worried about. From having a milkshake machine in the C-Club, to warm cookies and soft-serve ice cream available at every meal in Atherton, putting on excess weight is incredibly easy. Too easy, in fact. And don’t even get me started on the cheap pizza slices that are bigger than your entire face at C-Club.

The university surely is not going to stop selling and making revenue off of these desirable foods, so it is on us students to set boundaries and create healthy lifestyle patterns. With the help of this article and some self-control, hopefully the most pounds first-year students will put on is 15.

1.) Try a salad

The salad bar at Atherton actually has a variety of delicious toppings. From chickpeas to cranberries, salads no longer have to be basic. One can actually enjoy eating a salad for a meal. I am not saying you have to get this every meal or anything drastic like that, but try replacing just one of your daily meals with a salad.

They are generally healthier and have fewer calories, and if you get the right toppings it will surely fill you up. And if it doesn’t, no one is going to stop you from getting seconds.

2.) Go for a walk

Yes, this is for all of you who would rather not spend your precious free time at the gym. With such a scenic campus like Butler, there really is no excuse not to go on a walk. Who doesn’t enjoy walking under the gorgeous fall trees or along a beautiful canal? You could even chase a squirrel and burn some calories. And if you do not think simply walking is enough exercise, I promise you when you walk up the hill from Holcomb Gardens you will feel it.

3.) Take a trip to the HRC

The HRC is free for students with ID, and is open every single day of the week — you might as well take advantage of it. There is something to do there for practically everyone. Not a fan of the treadmill or the elliptical? Play some basketball on the court or go for a swim.

You could even walk along the track or read a book while on the bike and that still beats sitting on the couch. Make it a group outing and bring along a friend or two. Honestly, the hardest part is actually going there, but walking there is even more exercise!

4.) Participate in a group fitness class

Believe it or not, these too are free (with a student ID) and occur on a weekly basis. These classes are divided into three categories: mind/body, cycling and strength/cardio. Why wouldn’t you want to de-stress with some good ol’ yoga, or dance the afternoon away with some zumba? Most of the classes don’t even require any form of prior experience.

Out of the 15 diverse fall classes offered, odds are there will be at least one that will interest you. Check the HRC’s site for additional information on these classes.

5.) Stock up on healthy food in your dorm

Let’s be real, most of us eat simply out of boredom as opposed to actual hunger. And when you have food in your room a mere 10 feet away, this is even more-so the case.

That being said, why not make the food in you room healthy? Substitute bags of chips for bags of carrots. Not a vegetable fan? Try investing in walnuts or cashews. Not a nut fan? Invest in some fruit, such as pears or grapes.

Granola bars are very healthy and come in a variety of flavors. And for drinks? Stock your room with plenty of water. Bottled water is very easy to transport and keeps you well hydrated, not to mention the fact that stores even sell cheap, flavoring packets to add a little flavor! Now bored snacking has much greater health benefits and you won’t feel as guilty afterwards.

7.) Balance, balance, balance

Living a healthy lifestyle is a very broad term. It is made up of a combination of different aspects, including eating healthy, getting exercise and rest. As a student it can be really hard to balance academics, a social life, clubs and exercise.

But even the tiniest efforts or contributions help. Eat a salad and get dessert. Eat a hearty meal and perhaps skip out on dessert. Walk to Broad Ripple instead of driving. Substitute a soft drink for a glass of water. Take a healthy break from studying and go to the HRC for a bit.

Ultimately, there are multiple ways one can balance a healthy lifestyle in his or her everyday life. Find and create a schedule that works best for you.

8.) Sleep is your friend

Most health professionals suggest at least eight hours of sleep at night for college-aged students. Sleep is very important, as it is your body’s time to recover from a long day of work. Everyone needs sleep.

Not getting enough sleep lowers your metabolism, and a high metabolism is pivotal in keeping off extra pounds. On top of that, those late nights spent cramming for tests and homework generally lead to indulging in sugary snacks and comfort foods for an energy boost. Those are not your friends.  

When we do not get enough sleep, an imbalance between our hormones occurs, causing us to eat more, according to an interview Michael Breus, author of “Beauty Sleep.

“Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat; and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus said. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”

I do not think I have met a single person who does not enjoy sleeping, and with additional health benefits, there is now even more reason to love sleep. Dream on, guys.

When it comes down to staying healthy on campus, there are actually a variety of opportunities provided by the university. Most of it simply comes down to determination, self-control and finding a healthy lifestyle pattern that works best for you and for your schedule.

Try to eat healthier and exercise a bit more. The combination of these two things is guaranteed to scare away excess weight, and if you cannot do both, try focusing on one. The most important part is that you feel healthy and happy.