10 Ways to Defeat The “Freshman 15”

With the school year approaching, students are frantically running around, trying to figure out which mattress to buy, which lamp looks good, and which comforter is going to be the coziest. While all these details are important, figuring out how you are going to eat is just as important, if not more. In recent history, the term “freshman 15” has swept the college nation. What is the freshman 15 exactly?
Well, College Humor is here to help us define it:

With tests, papers, social stresses, athletic stress, constant snacking, bad cafeteria food, and alcohol overload, it’s no wonder why the freshman 15 affects so many college freshman. But, thats why we’ve created Caveman College. We are here to help you defeat the Freshman 15, and take that one stress out of your college experience.

Here are 10 tips to help you defeat the Freshman 15:

  1. Don’t get Lazy. While you may be stressed out about your upcoming paper, final, or lab, it is important not to stray from the basics. Eating under duress is a very large contributor to weight-gain. While it may be convenient to just order a pizza, ordering a salad with double meat can be just as easy and far healthier for you.
  2. FInd Time to Sleep. Staying up and partying or studying all night may seem like a great idea every single night, but sleep is incredibly important. Studies have shown that getting more sleep improves test grades dramatically. Along with the added benefits on your grades, finding time to sleep will give you more energy in the day to get up and be active physically, mentally and emotionally. This Science Daily study shows that people who sleep less are generally hungrier than those who get more sleep. Sleep can also prevent depression and stress, so find time to get in some zzzzz’s!
  3. Walk Everywhere. It’s very easy to get your walking in on a college campus. Moving constantly at a slow pace is key for defeating the freshman 15.

    Why not walk barefoot?

    Extra sitting in a car, or on a bus, will halt your caloric output for that duration. Walking is a great way to get in some good cardio. At my school, we have a lot of stairs, and a big hill that is great to walk up and down everyday.

  4. Stand and/or Squat as often as Possible. You are going to be sitting A LOT in lecture halls during your 4 years. Unfortunately, sitting burns a lot less calories than standing does. Try to stand up and move around a little bit during long lectures. Take a bathroom break, go stand in the back of the lecture hall. It won’t be perfect, but the more you stand, the more calories you will burn.
  5. Replace Grains with Veggies. It’s Primal Basic’s 101. But this small step can have profound effects on weight gain. Ever heard of Atkins? Yah, well there is a method to their weight loss madness. When you eat less carbs, you lose weight. And when you replace the carbs you are eating with vegetables, your diet becomes more nutrient dense. It’s simple, yet for some, it is difficult to stick to. Again, it won’t be perfect. But replacing dining hall mashed potatoes, breads, bagels, muffins, corn, and donuts with nutrient-rich, delicious vegetables from the salad bar, or cooked, will indeed help you keep off the 15.
  6. Eat More FatI know, I know. “Won’t eating fat make me fat?” No. Eating more fat, and cutting out grains will make you a fat adapted, fat burning machine. Beating the freshman 15 will seem easy. Your friends will ask you, “how can you eat all that bacon and not gain weight?” You will proceed to tell them how our bodies were not meant to run off of sugar from carbohydrates, but rather from fat. Your friends will proceed to make the classic Macaulay Culkin face, in pure shock.
  7. Drink Less Alcohol. Yah, you’re gonna drink anyways, I know. But it will effect your weight gain drastically if your chugging down four, five, or more beers every couple of nights. Try and stick to red wines and aged spirits (whiskey, scotch). Avoid the beer and Vodka, at least most of the time, as they tend to have higher caloric and carbohydrate content, with less nutritional benefits.
  8. Control your Habits. It is very easy to get into a regular habit when you are on such a rigid schedule. This can both help and hurt your battle with the freshman 15. If you make it a habit to walk to your classes, you can kiss the freshman 15 goodbye. It is very important to know when you are getting in a bad habit. Being conscious of your habits is difficult but it’s vital that you know when it is a bad habit. Once you realize that the habit is keeping you from taking down the freshman 15, stop the habit and make a positive change.
  9. Get your Protein Fix! Eating sufficient protein from meats with saturated fat will help your body digest the nutrient dense amino acids that make up protein. This will improve brain functioning as well. Eating enough protein will make you feel full and satisfied while also enabling you to build muscle, all of which will help keep your brain focused on the task at hand.
  10. Don’t Stress Out. The absolute worst thing you can do for your overall health is stress yourself out. Happiness is the key to success. Stress only leads to more stress which leads to depression which leads to overeating . . . All of the nutritional and exercise advice we give here is important, but if it is just going to stress you out, don’t worry about it! It’s all about happiness! If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right. We just want to help inspire you to make an amazing transformation.

About The Author


Max is a passionate pursuer of integrative health. He has been drafted by a professional baseball team, worked in publishing scientific laboratories and spoken to groups of students on health and well-being. He is currently a biology major and philosophy minor at Denison University. Max spends his time reading, weightlifting, traveling and learning. Email Max at mungar810@gmail.com.

2 Responses

  1. Josh Dalva
    Josh Dalva July 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm | | Reply

    These are all definitely true. I finished my first year at college and I really didn’t gain any weight- if anything I got in better shape. Out of all these suggestions listed I would say walking everywhere is key. Also, what wasn’t mentioned is avoiding elevators as much as possible. I lived in a dormitory on the 5th floor and walking up and down those 5 flights of stairs really helped keep the weight off. Regardless of where you go to school, most freshman will most likely live in a dorm where there are multiple floors. Try taking the stairs and avoiding the elevator as much as possible- you’ll definitely see it pay off.

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