It is time to drop some hard truth on you. Freshman 15 is a real thing. Sure, you can go to the gym as often as you’d like but what you don’t realize is that you do not have a whole lot of time in college.

While you’re working on beefing up your resume with extracurriculars and internships, you may not even notice your physique beefing up as well, and not in a muscular way! There is a slew of factors that will influence your weight in a different way than it did when you were in high school.

Your schedule is weird af.

The idea of pulling an all-nighter may make adults nostalgic, but after age 22 it is a ridiculous notion. The main issue with your college schedule is not the all-nighters though, it is the three or four classes that are placed sporadically throughout the day. Finding time to eat right can be hard to fit in, much less making it to the gym.

Tired of adhering to a dining hall diet?

If you’re anything like most college kids, you haven’t really learned how to cook. Pasta, Raman, eggs, and avocado toast just don’t cut it for an entire four years, or five if you’re taking a victory lap. Instant mac and cheese, pizza, and dining hall chicken nuggets are where the freshman 15 are born. Trust us. Most schools these days require a meal plan in your first year of school, so if you are forced to purchase, do not buy an unlimited plan! Though it sounds so much easier, “but what if I run out of swipes??”. Do not fear, freshman. You should not run out of swipes if you eat three meals a day and sneak some snacks out that you can eat during class. Unlimited plans lead to boredom eating or eating whenever someone asks you to join them, even if you legit just ate. Beware.

Dorm with no kitchen?

So you don’t have to buy a meal plan, and maybe you can actually cook (props @ you) but you’re living in a dorm without a kitchen. Oops! Over-looked that staple, didn’t you University! SO you are either reduced to making all your meals in a mug (i.e. eggs in a mug, chocolate cake in a mug) or eating out. Our advice: make the microwave or toaster oven your new BFF. With Balance by bistroMD, you can heat up perfectly-portioned, healthy meals (that actually taste good) when it’s convenient for you. Just choose your meals and get your meals delivered to your dorm.

No more home-cooked meals.

Some people love what their parents make for dinner and others are indifferent towards it, but one thing is for sure, a home-cooked meal beats fast food. every. single. time. More importantly, your meals are forcibly regulated. You eat when mama says dinner is ready. This detours eating more than three meals a day + snacks (i.e. going to the dining hall after every class, and when you’re just bored).

Peanut Butter: Choose Wisely.

Peanut butter is a great protein-filled snack that is quick and easy to take on-the-go. If you have purchased a meal plan, you will most likely be able to find some peanut butter in the dining hall. The one thing to keep in mind is that some peanut butter is better for you than others. Make sure you ask the dining hall employees, or read the labels at the grocery store and make sure your peanut butter does not include unnecessary additives, oils and added sugars. The ingredient label should just list the type of nut and perhaps a little salt.

Less active?

If you did not join a collegiate team, you may see a drastic drop in physical activity. Your rational should never be, “A walk to class is pretty far, that counts as cardio, right?” Walking to class is not cardio. Go to the gym. The problem is fitting the gym in to all of your activities. Intramural sports give you the best of both worlds; it is one of your extracurriculars, and it is more fun than going to the gym. At the very least, join a class with your friends like yoga or spin or weightlifting.

BARS.

Happy hour, 2-for-1 night, wine night, sink-or-swim, all you can drink for $10, mug night or its nefarious cousin the $1 pitcher night. Whatever the drink special, or even if there isn’t one, you might wind up at a bar more often than it is probably healthy. Though you will most likely get this lecture of sorts at orientation, here are some fun facts for ya.

  • Beer:150 calories per 12-ounces of regular or light beer or 8 to 9-ounces of malt beer
  • Wine:125 calories per 5-ounces of red or white wine
  • Liquor:100 calories per 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof spirits

When you’re out, the key is to choose what drink specials you go for wisely. But of course they have to be on special because #brokecollegekids is not a joke.

For wine night check out: Red vs. White Wine – Which Is Healthier?

For $1 pitcher night: The 30 Best and Worst Beers for Weight Loss.

And for any other drankin’ night beware these 6 Surprisingly Unhealthy Alcoholic Drinks.

College eating habits can have long-term effects.

Whether it be eating too much or not enough, it can have a serious impact on your eating habits even past college. It can be hard to recover properly when your body becomes accustomed to the shrinking or expanding of your stomach, also effected by how active you are. It is best to maintain a consistently healthy lifestyle especially in your turbulent college years.