This archived article was written by: Melissa Spencer
While incoming college freshmen have much to look forward to, in the back of their minds, many are worried about the rumored weight gain that sometimes haunts new college students. The “freshman 15” refers to the belief that college freshmen commonly gain 15 pounds during their first year of college.
Sarah Jorgenson said, “I was so scrawny in high school, but now I’ve gained at least 15 pounds. I have pudge for the first time in my life.”
“The stress of handling rigorous studies and being away from parents for the first time, in an environment with unlimited access to food, can quickly result in weight gain. And if freshman use food to soothe emotional needs instead of hunger, putting on 15 pounds is quite possible,” said Elizabeth Somers, R.D.
Sarah continued, “It frustrates me that I’ve gained this much weight. I think it’s because I don’t eat regularly l like I used to. And when I do eat it’s usually greasy cafeteria food.”
Not all students struggle with their weight, usually students who live at home don’t seem to have a problem because their eating habits don’t change much. Price resident Jason Burrows said, “I usually eat pretty healthy, but then I have a mom who cooks for me.”
Jennalee Richens, who lives is Aaron Jones tells a different story. “I have terrible eating habits. I never cook, I eat at Wendy’s all the time. But I haven’t gained any weight.”
So, is the “freshman 15” a myth or a reality? It depends on the person, it seems. Many new college students do experience some weight gain the first year, possibly as a result of being in a new environment and having more freedom to decide when, what, and how much to eat. However, other students are able to maintain their weight, and some even lose weight. The outcome depends a lot on if and how the eating, drinking and exercise patterns of the student change when they enter college.
According to a CNN report, keeping off the extra pounds is easy if you follow a few basic steps. Draw up a plan of what you want to do and how you’re going to do it, keep track of what you eat and when, stay active and choose food wisely. Portion control is another imortant factor, it’s just as important to watch how much you eat as it is to watch what you eat. And remember that as stressful as college can be, eating is not the way to drown those feelings.