Research has shown that some, not all, of college freshman gain weight during their first year at school. College is a time of change, and the stress associated with these changes can lead to overeating. In addition, exercise levels often decrease during the first year away at college.
Why should you be concerned about the weight? Rapid weight gain caused by poor dietary and exercise habits in college can start teenagers on a path that can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and may increase risk for certain cancers (all associated with obesity).
The big question is, how can you avoid gaining the "Freshman 15"? Try the following strategies:
* Make it a rule to have time for eating and time for other activities. Avoid eating when watching TV, studying, or when stressed.
*. Make time for exercise a few times per week. do something that you enjoy!
* Slow down at meals. Put your fork (or sandwich) down between bites. Be mindful when you eat and enjoy your food.
* Eat 3 meals per day (and 1-2 healthful snacks).
* Limit empty calorie beverages (soda, lemonade) and drink water instead.
Lastly, don't freak out if you notice that you have started to gain a few pounds. Look at your intake and activity habits. Try to make small changes (an extra 125 calories per day can equal one pound weight gain per month). Start with small changes and take it day by day. You can do it!