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Tips on how to avoid the 'Freshman 15'

September 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The first year in college can produce a lot of anxiety. Students have to get used to new surroundings, new friends, new schedules - and all of that stress can result in eating on the fly. But there are ways to avoid adding on those extra 15 pounds during the freshman year. Take one small room, add eating badly and eating late, and you've got the perfect recipe for the "Freshman 15." A term coined for weight gained a students first year at college.

"We have some Oreos over there, some Cheez-Its some Dum Dum lollipops, a lot of Doritos, a lot of chips, we have Ritz bits," said USC freshman, Alex Powers.

USC freshmen Alex Powers says weight gain is a big concern, but so far her schedule has made it tough to get a meal.

"And that probably is the biggest issue, is that there is no one prompting those healthy choices anymore, they're all on your own," said USC's Hospitality dietitian, Patrice Barber.

Barber says the average is more like 5 to 7 pounds, not 15; often due to crazy schedules and lack of planning.

A typical day for a student may be waking up late with classes back to back, most likely missing lunch and then eating anything and everything they get their hands on. That's usually a recipe for weight gain. So the solution is to pack something small and sensible to take along in a backpack.

"Something that combine protein, carbohydrate, and fat. The carbohydrate is utilized first and when that starts to be used up in your body, the protein kicks in and then that little bit of fat kicks in at the end to carry you through to your next meal and your next snack," said Barber.

Like a bag of whole grain cereal with nuts and raisins, actually any piece of fruit with protein like cheese or peanut butter will work, along with a bottle of water.

"Finding a time for me to work out by myself is a little bit challenging," said Powers.

Karen Jashinsky is the owner of 02 Max Fitness, a club for teens. She says most students can get cardio simply by walking to class, riding bikes and taking stairs. Adding a dorm room workout will keep them strong.

"All you need is a floor and an exercise ball. And you could do pushups, crunches, lunges, squats, you could jump rope in the living room area, in the hallway, so those are all things that you could do to keep your strength up and work on keeping your metabolism working efficiently," said Jashinsky.

Scheduling fitness breaks, even when time is short, helps reduces stress and burns calories.

"It makes a huge difference," said Jashinsky.

And some of those tools like the fitness bands and tubing, or even the stability ball are pretty reasonable, costing around $10 to $15 at sporting good stores or online.

 

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