Many of you have heard me reference the Freshman Fifteen (hashtag: been there, done that).
For those who might not know, the Freshman Fifteen is the roughly 15-ish pounds any new college student will gain upon being suddenly thrown into the least conducive environment found possibly anywhere in the First World to one’s health. It should not be confused with the Sophomore Ten, which is really just a compilation of bad decisions and having too many friends who can afford to feed you pizza.
I am an overcomer (and I don’t use this term lightly. It took me three years to lose the twenty pounds I gained in college. And if you’re not keeping track, with my two years for Associate studies, that averages out to gaining about five pounds per a semester or roughly two pizzas a week).
As one who has walked this walk (and eaten this eat), I would like to bestow some god-motherly advice upon those who may be beginning the start of a lot of self-hate, unused gym memberships and a first-name-basis relationship with the cafeteria lady on campus.
Call them warning signs. Call them beacons of guiding light.
I call them…
11 WAYS TO EARN YOUR FRESHMAN FIFTEEN
- Eat on campus – Campus food is horrible. It’s packed with sodium and salt and salty-like carbohydrated sugars and like … you know, stuff. Also it’s bad for you. AND THE SALADS ARE EXPENSIVE. Don’t even try to kid yourself that the OJ will compensate for the tub of lard they cooked your breakfast potatoes in. It won’t. It’s laughing at the very thought – a hard, cruel, high-pitched cackle that only orange juice can truly pull off.
- Eat off campus – First of all, money. But beyond the slimming of your wallet, might I remind you that off-campus food tends to come in mammothly American-sized portions that could feed an entire family. The prime example of this would be the Chipotle burrito which is basically the most expensive non-Mexican burrito you will ever buy and not finish. And you won’t finish it. Because it’s huge. *That’s why they charge you ten dollars for it.
- Snack – Okay, if you are part of the 2 percent of humans who will actually bring raisins and celery sticks to school, you can get away with snacking. All I know is that if the bookstore hadn’t stopped carrying cheese puffs and candied peanuts, I’d be about four pounds heavier than I was eight weeks ago at the start of term.
- Don’t sleep – It’s a largely known fact that there is some correlation between sleeping and weight gain. I don’t know what it is, I just know that whenever I find myself drooling through my 7 a.m. class, it reflects on the scale. My amatuer opinion is that lack of sleep makes one grumpy and stressed. Stress makes one eat. And eating is DEFINITELY related to weight gain (though again, I’m a little iffy on the details).
- Wear sweatpants / leggings / yoga pants on the reg – You’d be amazed at how far you can let yourself go when you don’t put real pants on every day.
- Accept pity food – It’s hard for one starving college student to recognize that another starving college student may not actually be starving just because they don’t have food in front of them. And it is one of the greatest acts of generosity for former said college student to offer latter said college student some of former said student’s precious food reserves (this includes but is not limited to french fries, candy, granola bars, uncooked mac ‘n cheese and essentially anything in a take-out box). However, it would be wise for aforementioned latter college student to know his or her own boundaries and learn how to say, “Naw, thanks bruh.”
- Skip the workout to study – “Studying,” also known as “Netflix,” is one of the primary causes of college weight-gain. The time spent in a sedentary position (and the teeeeears wept over Mary Crawley’s run of tragic luck in love) is not good on the body. Be aware
- Indulge in late-night nibbles – Whatever you’re reaching for will not write your paper for you. Inspiration does not come out of an ice-cream carton. Put it back.
- Get daily servings of the four food groups – Candy, cane canes, candy corn, and syrup. Thank you, Elf.
- Throw portion control to the proverbial winds – If someone brings in a lot of left-over Marie Callendar’s pie, why stop at one piece? There are four kinds. Why not try all four? Why not retry that second one with the oreo crust? Why not then get pizza for lunch because someone else is paying? Or eat an entire bag of Doritos because you found it in your parents’ pantry and it was looking at you kinda funny? You’ll show those Doritos.
- Stop caring – Forget about the fact that you only have one body and that your health is important. Assume that “surviving college” is the highest possible standard of living in your early twenties and don’t bother shooting for anything that would require to you get up early to exercise, pace yourself throughout the day or be intentional with your eating habits. Leave that till you’re more of an “adult” because it’ll be so, so much easier to begin creating important habits when you’re older. Afterall, what is your body other than a vital, irreplaceable instrument of your precious heart and mind? Who needs to take care of that old thing. Hashtag: cheese puffs.
*Some of those Chipotle facts may be less facty than other facts. Please don’t not eat Chipotle because of this post. I some friends who work there and they’re nice people and they like customers. Just saying.