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Tips to Avoid the Freshman 15 Weight Gain Featured

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freshman15Tips to Avoid Unwanted Weight Gain in College

People often joke about gaining the “Freshman 15,” even though research shows most freshman college students only gain 3.5 pounds during the their first year of college. But even a modest weight gain should be taken seriously, because such modest weight gains can often be from developing bad new lifestyle habits that can lead to further weight gain later in life.

Reasons for Freshman Weight Gain

“Everything from late-night eating, lack of exercise, increased alcohol consumption and an abundance of all-you-can-eat dining halls leads college students to pack on the unwanted pounds,” said Kari Kooi, a registered dietitian at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

Gaining weight in college can be detrimental to your health because it puts you at greater risk of developing chronic disease including diabetes and heart disease.

Tips for healthy Eating on a College Budget

  • Don’t skip meals: Skipping meals usually leads to overeating, and a slower metabolism. Make sure you set the tone for a healthy day by having a substantial high fiber, high protein, low fat breakfast. A good breakfast jumpstart your metabolism and help you perform better on tests! It can also prevent binge eating. Plan: Always pack healthy snacks ahead of time that will help fuel your body throughout the day. Packing healthy foods and planning out what you eat can prevent binging, reaching for unhealthy items.
  • Get enough sleep: Science shows that sleep deprivation (getting less than six hours a night) affects hormones that control the appetite, cravings and metabolism. Less sleep means higher cortisol levels, and less growth hormone levels. Sleep deprived people also tend to crave junk food, like cookies, candy, energy drinks and soda that the body can break down fast for quick energy.
  • Watch the Liquid Calories: Liquid calories do not satisfy hunger and can quickly lead to weight gain when consumed in excess. What’s more, sugary drinks like soda can cause blood sugar swings that leave you even hungrier. Consume alcohol in moderation since it has 7 calories per gram, which is very close to the 9 calories per gram in fat. The calories can add up fast! Plan: Opt for water. The best hydration choice is water.
  • Exercise: One of the bet ways to keep the extra pounds off is exercise. Not only do you burn calories but it is a great way to relieve stress, and if you incorporate resistance training you can tone up and also raise your Basal Metabolic Rate (and burn more calories). Walk to class, visit the gym or get involved with intramurals to remain physically active while at school.
  • Stock healthy snacks: For those late night snack attacks, keep your dorm room refrigerator stocked with hunger-satisfying, fiber-rich, low glycemic healthy snacks. Healthy snacks include turkey, low-fat string cheese, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, air popped corn, fruit, and fresh veggies.
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