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Is the Freshman 15 real or just a myth?

So it won't be long before you'll get into your dream college. Many college and university dining halls offer all-you-can-eat food to students. Unlike high school and middle schools which try to serve healthy foods, not all of these foods are the best to eat for you. So let's check it out: Is the Freshman 15 real or just a myth?

Combine fatty and sugary foods with sodas and unlimited portions and you get the “Freshman 15″ — the 15 pounds gained by many students in their freshman year of college.

T_Freshman_15_1Well, it really depends on the person. If you eat unhealthily and don’t exercise, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some weight gain in college.

However, if you’re able to control your eating habits well and/or exercise, you won’t have much to worry about. After my first year, I noticed that most people hadn’t really changed weight at all, though there were definitely some students who had put on a few pounds over the year. So, what can you do to avoid the Freshman 15?

Eating too much of the wrong food is a common problem among college students, and not only students by the way! Startup entrepreneurs, for example, like students, often feel overwhelmed by what's going on around them.

As with anything else regarding weight, the obvious answers of “eat less” and “exercise more” are what counts, but here are a few ways I’ve found that help you achieve those two:

  • Don’t drink soda. This is a huge one — if your dining hall provides unlimited soda, try drinking something more healthy instead, like juice, iced tea, or best yet, water. Limit your soda intake and you’ll cut way back on unhealthy sugars and calories.
  • Have a piece of fruit as dessert. Instead of grabbing cake, cookies, or some other dessert, grab a piece of fruit. Fruits have their own sugars which are far healthier for you and still taste great.
  • Put less food on your plate. I’ve found out that I’m usually too lazy to get seconds, so by putting less food on my plate, I would eat less. If you’re grabbing huge platefuls of food, you’re going to feel like you need to eat it. Go small. Also here counts, there's a rule to remember, the 80/20 rule. You're bound to waste 80% of your time on bad food while perhaps only 20% of your time, you'll be eating healthy foods!
  • Exercise when you can. You don’t need to do a sport or go to the gym daily, but small lifestyle changes can make a difference: walk instead of taking the bus, take stairs instead of the elevator, and so forth.
  • Prepare your own food. For example, if the dining hall is serving corn dogs, make yourself a sandwich instead — usually food you assemble yourself can be healthier.

Anybody have Freshman 15 stories or tips to share?