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Tips for avoiding the freshman 15

The RPAC: you should go here because you're paying for it.

This is one of the main concerns of many freshmen entering college. It seems  to happen all too often that a once svelte student comes home from college with a  beer gut and cellulite, but this can be avoided. Ohio State offers students many options with which to maintain (or even lose) weight, as long as you know where to look. Here are some basic tips to follow to keep you looking good and feeling healthy as you make the transition into college life:

Only indulge in moderation if you want to look and feel good.

  1. Exercise! This is huge, and it’s perhaps the most difficult. There’s tons of exciting things to do at Ohio State, and with homework piled on top, it often seems like there’s just not enough hours in the day to work out. However, Ohio State has really great work out facilities, and perhaps the most notable is the RPAC. If the weather is bad or you’re too lazy to walk there (which is a shame), Jesse Owens North and South are great alternatives. Although they lack the grandeur or the RPAC, they have lots of fitness equipment, though you may have to wait for a treadmill if you go during a busy time (12 pm to 2 pm and 7 pm to 9 pm are busiest). Even if you feel that you don’t have time for a full workout, a mere 20 minutes will make a difference. Walking is a vital part of living on a college campus, and with the 1-3 miles a day you’ll average just doing regular activities on top of working out a few times a week, you will be getting plenty of exercise.

There's more healthy food out there than just lettuce!

 2. Eat well. Ohio State has a copious amount of food options when you’re on the meal plan. They really make an effort to offer students lots of healthy foods, and are usually accommodating to those with special dietary needs. However, there is also pizza, pasta, meatball subs, paninis, breakfast sandwiches, fried chicken, etc. Most students know enough about nutrition to realize that eating a whole pizza from the Marketplace everyday will only lead to love handles and sadness. But would you know that the Chicken Caesar Wrap at the Marketplace (which seems like a healthy option) is actually 880 calories and contains 44 grams of fat? Well, now you’ll never be fooled by these supposedly healthy options because you can check the nutritional information of most foods served at Ohio State here: Use this tool wisely and plan your meals so you know what you’re putting into your mouth!

3. Only eat when you’re hungry. I’m sure this seems really obvious, but when your friends suddenly call you after you’ve eaten a cup of Easy Mac and invite you to go to Fresh Express, it’s sometimes hard to restrain yourself from eating again. When everyone around you is eating, it’s natural to want to partake in the feast.  Instead, feast on a pack of gum or something light like a salad or fruit. Eating meals twice quite clearly guarantees that you’ll put on weight, but this issue is often difficult to see when you’re in the situation.

4. Drink in moderation. Alcohol is loaded with calories. If you go to a party and play 3 games of beer pong with two Natty’s to a team for each game, you’ve already consumed 285 calories. Stopping at Taco Bell on the way home and ordering a chicken burrito and nachos? Add another 368. Late night calories can quickly add up, and the lethargy often associated with the next day’s hangover can just add to the effect. Experts recommend that you drink in moderation to avoid these extra calories, but in college this can be a difficult task for some. So what’s the solution? Short of bulimia, I have no real answers. I’ve been in college for two years and haven’t figured this one out yet, but if anyone has any solutions I’d love to hear them!

5. Stock up on healthy snacks. Coordinating your meals can often be difficult, and you may get hungry before your friends do, so you’ll want to eat a snack. Having healthy foods like fruits and vegetables on hand is great because if that’s all you have, that’s all you’ll eat. Snacks that come in pre-packaged portions, like nutrition bars, yogurts, and small bags of chips are also great because they prevent the dreaded eating-a-whole-box-of-cereal-in-one-sitting scenario, which is truly a massacre for anyone’s diet. A few healthy frozen meals or cans of soup are also good to have around, in case the weather gets bad and you don’t feel like going anywhere to eat.

So these are my tips for keeping weight under control while in college. Sure, they’re basic and seem obvious, but it’s really easy to let things get out of control when you’re in a new environment. Just remember to pay attention to how much you’re consuming and how much you’re exercising, and you should be fine! 


  • Amanda 5 years ago

    Great article!! And shots of liquor have a lot of calories too, especially if you mix them with sugary drinks. Tonic is one of the worst!