The Freshman Fifteen

During my first year of college, like many freshman, I learned the hard truth about unlimited meal plans: The Freshman Fifteen.  Granted, I was a student at a different university at the time, it did not keep the pounds from adding up.  I used my meal plan the same way students do in Winslow – buffet style, eating multiple servings and eating all the “bad” foods.  By the time spring semester rolled around, I was up two dress sizes.

So, what do you do about it?  Between the constant stress of school and work, eating right gets pushed to the back of your brain somewhere with getting the oil in your car changed and getting a haircut.  Soon, you just eat when you can find time, and more often than not, that leads to eating foods that are not so great nutritionally.  

To manage my weight gain, I started eating vegetarian meals.  The way I figured, if I cut out meat, that would eliminate many fast food options and many fried food options.  No more cheeseburgers, fried chicken or pepperoni pizza.  I started changing where I purchased my food (I began frequenting the salad bar more than the pizza bar) and I changed what I had as the bulk of my meal (grilled veggies as opposed to steak).  Soon, I found I did not miss meat entrees at all.  I enjoyed sitting down to eat and I felt like what I was eating was more beneficial to my body. 

To supplement my new eating habits, I began jogging as exercise.  My father has been an avid runner his entire life, so I thought his love of the sport may be genetic.  It took a while, but I began feeling stronger and leaner as a result.  I had more energy and a more positive attitude about myself and school. 

Though this is what worked for me, I am not by any means recommending diet plans.  For me, exercising and eating more colorful veggies, fruits, low-fat dairy and protein alternatives (like peanut butter, beans and eggs) led me to shed 18 pounds in four months!  To find the best plan for you, contact a certified dietician who can help you plan out your diet and exercise needs.

I kept up with vegetarianism for two years.  Recently, I have gone back to eating chicken and fish mainly because I wanted more experience in preparing healthful meat dishes for friends.  Now that I know how to prepare lean meat in a nutritional way, I love to incorporate it into my diet. 

If you are currently vegetarian or would like to try it out, there are so many options for you on campus.  Everyday in Winslow, a veggie entrée is served along with steamed veggies and meatless side dish options.  Many of the soups in Winslow are meatless and you can always build a vegetarian sub in the deli, or opt for hot, cheese pizza in the pizza line.  If you would like to stay healthy and keep the meat, try lean cuts of meat such as the grilled chicken in Winslow or a turkey sub in the deli.

Have you battled the Freshman Fifteen?  Share your success story!

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