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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Ten Tips for Fending Off the Freshman Fifteen

    So here you are at SBU, all settled in your dorm, got your schedule down pat, know the best ways to get to all your classes, you’ve even figured out the bus routes, so there’s nothing to worry about right? Not quite. You see now it’s time, along with organizing all your lecture notes and studying for midterms, to fight the battle of the bulge. Yes, the ‘Freshman Fifteen’ is looming. What’s the ‘Freshman Fifteen’? Only the fifteen pounds you will most likely gain once you get comfy here at SBU, but there are some good tips to fight off the dreaded weight:

    1.Walk More or Take the Stairs. Yeah we know, the bus is sitting there waiting and you can get a couple of phone calls in while you ride to your dorm instead of walking, but the reality is, you’ve got to move to lose or at least avoid gaining. How about taking the stairs once or twice a week, you’ll burn some extra calories and won’t have to think twice about the midnight snack.

    2.Get Involved in an Extracurricular Activity. We all know, video games are fun and hanging with your friends is great conversation, but the reality is, you’re sitting on your fanny inviting the calories to do the same. Getting yourself involved in a ‘sporty’ extracurricular activity, even if you decide to on a quick swim at the Sports Complex instead of just “hanging out,” may result in smaller jeans size by Christmas break. Hey this isn’t high school, physical education is not required anymore, so now you have to see to it yourself to try and get close to the same level of activity.

    3.Eight to Ten Glasses of Water a Day Helps Keep the Bulge Away. Facts are that drinking more water helps stave off the weight. You are less hungry because you’ve got the water in your belly and you stay hydrated and active. Your body needs hydration to keep moving and keeping moving is going to keep the bulge at bay.

    4. Park a Little Further. If you are one of the fortunate ones to have a car, believe it or not, it will behoove you to not fight over the closest parking spot, let the impatient nut that wants the closer spot have it. You can take the spot all the way at the end, where no one will make dents in your door, you won’t get towed and best thing yet, you’ll burn some extra calories.

    5.Mom Said It! Eat Your Veggies. Yes, the fries at the SAC are really good! The pizza is even better, and cheap, but the reality is, if that’s all you eat you are going to need an extra wide mattress for your dorm bed next year. If you pick one of your meals each day and load it with vegetables, you will allow your body the vitamins it needs, and fill your belly with lower calorie food. No, potatoes are not veggies! Corn and peas are considered starches on many diet plans as well. Aim for broccoli, string beans, carrots and lettuce. The result of this will be your body is going to be processing all these leafy green veggies and you’re getting all those nutrients in stead of all the carbohydrates and sugar going into your bloodstream and eventually being stored as fat.

    6.Watch Those Carbs. Yes we all love bagels, and English muffins, and potato chips, etc. The reality is most people’s metabolisms can’t handle the amount of carbohydrates we take in. It gives you a quick blood sugar boost and then you start headed straight downhill afterwards. When your body has too much glucose in your blood stream (also called blood sugar) you wind up storing it in fat cells in the most unattractive areas of the body. So its best to limit your carbohydrate intake especially things made with white flour and white rice. Try some brown rice with your Chinese take out, or a whole grain bread instead of white. These complex carbohydrate foods metabolize differently in the bloodstream which gives you a longer lasting boost along with a fuller belly feeling.

    7.Watch Calories in Drinks, Especially Alcohol. Let’s face it, we all have our share of alcohol, (off campus of course!) but if you limit your alcohol consumption you will seriously cut a lot of extra calories. Alcoholic drinks a loaded with lots of hidden calories, besides the fact that many people don’t think about calories in anything they drink. Soft drinks, that aren’t sugar free, have up to 200 calories per each eight ounce glass. Three soft drinks a day, is approximately 600 extra calories, so think twice when you choose what your drink.

    8.Eat Only When You’re Hungry. Many people do not realize that they eat either when it’s time to eat or when they are bored. Simply because it’s noon doesn’t mean you have to eat. Ask yourself, are you hungry? Sitting in front of television is also synonymous with snacking, mindless snacking. Get yourself used to the feeling of hunger again. We live in the land of plenty and obesity is one of the biggest problems in our country. Scale back a bit and wait until you are hungry, then you will probably find you can make it a lot longer than you though before you actually feel hungry.

    9.Keep Healthy Snacks Available. Let’s face facts, if you have chips, ring dings and cheese doodles available in arm’s reach, that’s what you are going to eat. If you have a bowl with a few apples, an orange and a couple of bananas in your room and are running out to class, that’s what you can grab. Fruit is not only lower calorie, better sustained glucose in your bloodstream, but it’s going to save you the crash and burn you feel in an hour a two from the carbs.

    10.Eat More Small Meals, Instead of the Big Three. One sure fire way, to speed up even the slowest metabolism, is to eat several small meals a day, instead of sticking to just the big three. Depending upon what you choose, you can nourish yourself and prevent over-eating very rapidly by giving yourself six to seven small meals a day. You also tend to shrink the size of your stomach as your body adjusts to the small meals. This is a healthy eating habit that lots of diabetics follow to energize themselves and keep a sustained level of nutrients in their bloodstream. Once you try it, you will never go back to the big three. It will also help you identify when you are truly hungry and when you might be eating out of boredom. It takes some planning. You may have to pack a little food bag along with your books, but in the long run, it is going to keep your internal furnace chugging at a great pace, and wouldn’t it be great to be as attentive and energized in your last class as you are in your first?

    All in all, the best rule of thumb to avoid gaining the ‘Freshman Fifteen’ is moderation. No one says you have to eat carrot and celery sticks for three days if you have a big juicy burger on Saturday night, but if you keep in mind the fact that the college lifestyle is much more sedentary than many other lifestyles you will be ahead of the game and win the battle of the freshman bulge.

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