The “Freshman 15” Can Extend Past Freshman Year

The Freshman 15 weight gain can be caused due to lifestyle changes during any period in time, not just during college years. With the holidays approaching, it is easy to get caught up in the sweetness of it all, but it is important to consider how this will affect your health in the future.

Experts agree, freshman year is when so many lifestyle changes occur that can contribute to weight gain when entering the new realm of college life. For example, late nights, take-out food, drinking, high stress, lack of sleep, large workloads, living on your own, and malnutrition are just some of the factors that encourage the scales to tip a little too much.

However, even though your freshman year is over, you may not be in the clear. If you are continuing to make poor eating choices, this can turn into a vicious cycle.

Speaking of scales tipping, Thanksgiving just passed, and now more holidays are coming up. This means that many people will be indulging in high-caloric foods, drinks, and desserts on more than one occasion. Imagine eating and drinking as you do during the holiday seasons, but picture that as an everyday occurrence. Of course you would see a difference in the way your pants fit. There is a time to indulge and there is a time not to, and moderation is key when it comes to this.

Eating is one factor that can affect your health, but there are also others such as a lack of sleep. You may not notice right away the damage that staying up too late can cause, but it catches up soon enough. Whether it is staying at the office or the bar too late, experts agree that your body needs a chance to recharge.

Nanci Hellmich of USA Today explains that scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain.

Brian Miller of CNN suggests that in order to avoid the freshman 15 dorm rooms should be free of junk food, but this also is good advice for any residence where weight gain is unwanted.

Senior management and marketing major, Kaitlyn Cassidy said, “I’m sitting here eating Cheetos at 10:27 am and I’m a senior. I would have to agree that weight gain is determined by the choices you make and the way you live your life.”

Experts claim that watching what you are eating can determine which side the scale tips to. Unhealthy options are always available, whether it is at the school cafeteria or on your lunch break from work when you are no longer a student. Even though you may be home for break, your usual Ramen noodles and chips may only be replaced with different kinds of unhealthy foods. During the holidays, dishes like stuffing, potatoes, cakes and pies are in abundance. These may seem tempting, but you will notice the consequences later. Of course, you can enjoy some of these choices in the spirit of celebration, but avoid taking it too far. Health nuts agree that the healthy options may be more difficult to find, but in the end they are more favorable. You may want to reconsider passing up the vegetable platter and sweet potatoes.

While on campus, the Dining Hall may seem like the only option. However, some people have ulterior motives for going.

Senior health studies major Patricia Fontaine explained why she goes to the Dining Hall.She said,“Eating is a social event, so I ate more to make more friends.”

Even though you may be finding yourself making more than one trip to the dining hall daily, you should always consider the health options, like fruit, vegetables, and the salad bar, that it has to offer.

The holidays are another reason to eat socially, but make sure you are aware of the healthy options available at the dinner table.

With the holiday season also comes consumption of alcohol. Lead researcher of the Eating Behaviors study, Sherrie Delinsky said, “Not only does alcohol contain a lot of calories, but people also make poor food choices when they’re under the influence.”

Liquid calories should also be considered. They hide in many drink choices, especially alcohol and soft drinks. Not only does alcohol contain a lot of calories, but so do the mixers that get combined with it. Soda, juice, and even iced tea are packed with calories, sugar and carbohydrates. Whether you are drinking beer, wine, or egg nog during this holiday season, keep in mind that calories also reside in liquid.

It is obvious that there is a time to indulge and a time to be conscious of what you are consuming. Having your holiday gorging habits transfer over to everyday life would be a dangerous lifestyle change. Enjoy the holiday drinks and desserts, but don’t let it become a daily habit. Whether in college or in the real world, experts say lifestyle changes could be to blame for weight gain.