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How to avoid freshmen weight gain

by Tugce Soysalturk, staff writer

Most students gain about 20 pounds in their freshman year, but overeating is rarely the reason. This fast weight gain usually results because new students have left a family environment in which parents insisted on balanced meals for a fast food environment in which the convenient, unfortunately, is often high in fat, high in cholesterol, and high in calories. Worse, most fast foods do not provide the nutrition that our bodies need in order to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

After a long day of school, and facing all the assignment due the next day, finding a pizza coupon in the mailbox can be a nice surprise. Studying will be less boring with a tasty snack, we think. Not so. Students need energy in order to function, but eating while studying is not a good idea. Eating causes lack of concentration, and when the body’s metabolism starts working, energy levels drop and we fall asleep. The best complement to study, guaranteed to keep us awake, is a cup of coffee or tea.

While multiple coffees during the day may help us function properly, don’t rely on them alone. Because of study pressures, many of us develop the bad habit of skipping breakfast and even lunch, and passing the day with small snacks and coffee refills. That kind of diet contains as much fat and as many calories as a regular meal; however, it doesn’t provide adequate nutrition or even suppress hunger. As result, we are more likely to consume greater amounts of food for dinner, which is the main cause of unwanted weight gain.

Nutritionists recommend having a high-calorie, nutritious breakfast, a light lunch that will give a boost for the day and the time to burn those calories, and a light dinner eaten at least four hours before going to bed.

Another reason for freshmen’s fast weight gain is stress. Stress makes us feel hungry, even though our stomachs are full. Over eating is often caused by emotional factors: loneliness, boredom, even a failed diet. Most diet plans fail, and some that are about eating only one kind of food for weeks are unhealthy. Eating only meat, or only cabbage, or only low-carbohydrate food, or taking no sugar at all: these diets might work for a short period of time, but are very unhealthy. Sugar and other carbohydrates make our brains function better and provide energy.

College years are the most important time in our lives, at least so far. These years will be the key to our futures, so we should take care of our body and feed it properly. Not doing so, overeating, or starving to lose weight, will cause problems both physically and emotionally. It will make us crave what we don’t need and cause us to be depressed when we put more weight, and that will cause us to eat more, and so on, in a vicious cycle.

And avoid all those weight-loss products that are available with or without a prescription, such as diet pills, slimming shakes, and slimming patches. These products guarantee that people can eat whatever they want, and still lose weight fast. If a product could actually do that, it would destroy our metabolisms and digestive systems.

These products are not without their uses, however. They can speed up the metabolism, and give us more energy, when used as supplements with a proper diet and exercise program. However, their help is so slight they are not worth spending money on.

So, if you are gaining weight, or struggling with to reduce weight, don’t panic. Achieving a normal and desirable weight is not about taking pills, or starving. For good physical and mental health, we should make a healthy diet plan for our life- style and reduce stress. Maintain a balanced diet, and eat at least three meals a day. Weight loss will be slower but healthier. And our brains will function better.


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