We all know about the infamous freshman fifteen. If you’re a senior in high school, it seems like a distant and unlikely horror story. If you’re coming home from your first year at school, though, you know that it is real.
The freshman fifteen doesn’t hit everyone, but it is a pretty common phenomenon. Whether you gained 5 pounds or 15, we’ll give you some tips for shedding that extra weight. To learn how to fight it, let’s first look at how the weight creeps in.
How the weight adds up
1. Sleep Pattern Changes – Life at college has a completely different schedule. There are usually major shifts in the way you sleep. You may go to bed late, sleep late and take naps throughout the day. The new environment can affect the quality of your sleep, too. Your body reacts to these changes by altering your appetite-related hormones. You may eat more and more without feeling satisfied.
2. Alcohol – Calories like to hide in alcoholic drinks. You probably don’t realize the amount of calories in that bottled mixed drink, but you definitely aren’t worried about the calories after four bottles. Drinking can cause your body to decrease fat burning hormones and increase in fat storage hormones.
3. Stress – Your first year at college is full of changes. You have to adjust to new friends, new surroundings, a different learning environment and more work. Your body isn’t oblivious to these drastic changes. It responds by releasing stress hormones that bring weight gain.
4. Poor Diet – One of those major changes is the shift from home-cooked meals to the cafeteria and fast food. Most college students struggle to get solid nutrition. They’re facing scrambled schedules with little time or resources to prepare healthy food and limited money to spend. This often brings on unhealthy food choices.
How to shed the extra weight
Make exercise a habit
You could exercise all summer and lose weight. But, if you don’t make exercise a habit when you get back to school in the fall, you may see the weight return. So, take this summer as a chance to find exercise that will fit in your life. If you hate running, don’t force it. If you have fun playing tennis, set up regular tennis dates with your family and friends. Think about where you’ll play when you return to school and who will play with you.
Start a solid sleep routine
No, we don’t want you to sleep every night from 3 am to 1pm. But, we do want you to be consistent. This summer, try to form a predictable sleep routine. Maybe you’ll start having time set aside before bed to relax with a cup of tea or yoga. We know this isn’t going to happen every night when you’re at school, but we do know that forming the habit now will make your rest better.
As you focus on your health this summer, you may have more time to check any health concerns you may have noticed during the busy school year. ARCpoint Labs offers wellness screenings to help you learn about your health and start developing habits for the rest of your time at school.