Many of us have been there. You go from being an active teenager who can eat anything and not gain a pound to a student at the end of your freshman year who can’t fit into half the clothes in your closet.
Nobody wants that! Not only because we like to look and feel our best, but it’s hard on your body (and your clothing budget) to be fluctuating in weight all the time.
If you have a child who’s off to college now for the first time, or if you’re a college student yourself, today we’re going to talk about how t to avoid becoming a cliché by gaining fifteen pounds in that first year away from home.
There are several causes of the Freshman 15. Yes, part of it is because you’re buying groceries on a student budget, and that can often mean carts full of cheap, convenient, junk, full of empty calories. Then, there are the empty calories that come from drinking alcohol, which college students tend to do. They may also be consuming unhealthy sweetened coffees, colas, and energy drinks.
And then there’s stress. Stress of school deadlines, grades, money, social life, etcetera, are all abundant for most college students. And stress puts on weight.
When your body is under stress, the hormone cortisol is released into your blood stream. This is the hormone that gives you the rush of adrenaline your prehistoric ancestors would have needed when they were being chased by a predatory animal and had to find a reserve of energy to fight or flee. This release of cortisol triggers your body to fill its energy reserves by taking in additional calories. The way your body tells you to take in more calories is to make you feel hungry. Then, your brain chimes in and says, “I want to feel happy, so please give me chocolate and chili fries.” We crave those unhealthy foods because they make us feel happy.
When we’re away from home, it’s much easier than ever before to just give into those cravings.
So, how do you avoid the Freshman 15?
- Stop buying those convenience foods and learn how to cook! We have a ton of resources on our website that can help you with that.
- Cut out refined sugar. Just because you have the freedom to eat what you want, doesn’t mean you should eat that junk.
- Fill up on water. Drink your body weight in ounces of water every day-you’ll feel full, and you won’t feel as hungry as you might if you’re dehydrated.
- Go gluten free. It’s easier than ever to avoid gluten since half the population seems to have gone grain free! Grains are fattening and they are health-depleting, so giving them up is win-win. You should still be fueling your body with real foods and not packaged, gluten-free snacks. Paint is gluten-free but that doesn’t mean you should eat it.
- Buy as much organic produce as you can afford. That might mean shopping from the freezer because frozen organic veggies are cheaper than fresh. Some schools offer market days for students so watch for those! Fill up on vegetables, and eat them with the highest quality lean protein you can afford. Eggs are a great option!
- Exercise. Even if it’s a quick walk around campus after dinner, try to find time every day to move your body.
- Take time to relax. Do something that will combat all that stress every day. Whether it’s getting a manicure or sitting under a tree, do something that helps you get your zen on so that your body’s not constantly under stress.
- Sit down to eat. Make each meal-even if you’re eating all by yourself-a ritual. Give your food the respect it deserves and sit down to eat. Be mindful of each and every bite. It’s easy to eat more than we need when we’re eating on the run and eating out of packages all of the time.
This is basically a Part-Time Paleo lifestyle I’m talking about here, and it will absolutely prevent you from packing on those Freshman 15.
The timing is perfect to start eating this way because we have a 30 Day Paleo Challenge happening. Sign up and make this easy on yourself with a ton of information about this way of eating, delicious (simple) recipes and as much support as you need. Click here to join!