Tried and true — Student health tips from a senior
It’s your first time living away from home, you have free reign over everything you do. That includes eating whatever you want in the cafeteria, late night snacks and drinking alcohol in excess — but is it really worth it? The term “freshman 15” refers to the widespread weight gain in college freshmen, generally in their first semester or year at college. This is mostly attributed to a severe lifestyle change.
Many first-time students have access to unlimited amounts of food in their dining halls and might be exercising less than they did in high school. Add to that the possibility of increased alcohol consumption and you have some serious indicators of weight gain, but there are many ways to avoid it.
Just because you’re no longer playing high school sports doesn’t mean you should stop working out. You don’t need to train for a marathon or anything, but making use of the Student Recreation Center is a great way to stay healthy, even if you only go three times a week — and it’s free while you’re a student.
There are many great classes if you like having someone to push you, tons of equipment for hire and a fully loaded cardio and weight facility. If you feel like you don’t have time to hit the gym on a regular basis, try walking next time you want to go out somewhere and perhaps take the stairs up to your dorm room rather than waiting on that sluggish elevator.
As far as nutrition goes, efforts to make quality food choices regularly can go a long way. Making healthy choices while eating on campus can set you up for a much healthier first year of college and build great habits for adulthood. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Start everyday with breakfast
Even though Bob’s is all you can eat, be careful not to overdo it, and skip the dessert bar more often than not.
Only pick up one plate and eat slowly so you can determine if you really are still hungry before you get up and go for a second plate.
Drink water more often than any other beverage to avoid drinking excess amounts of sugary drinks. It is also best for staying hydrated.
Keep healthy snacks in your room such as granola bars or dried fruits to help you avoid going to the vending machine
If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation and avoid high-calorie late night snacks.
The biggest thing to remember is that college is a critical time for creating eating and exercising habits. If you make healthy choices now, it will be easier in the future to maintain those habits. Some weight gain is normal in college, but maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is a must. If you do experience weight gain and are concerned, set up an appointment with our campus dietitian to create a personalized plan.
The campus dietitian office is located in the Student Health Clinic and can be reached at 885-6717. For more information on nutrition and weight management visit www.uidaho.edu/VandalHealth.