Food and freedom, a recipe for gaining the ‘freshman 15’

We’ve left home and we’re ready to have more freedom: the freedom to stay up to all hours of the night, the freedom to go to class or not and the freedom to eat whatever we please. Freedom, however, comes with a hefty price. The “freshman 15” is dreaded by most and could potentially make any student cringe.  Surprisingly enough, not everyone is packing on the pounds. Six percent of college sophomores reported gaining 15 or more pounds during their first year, and 50 percent of first years may gain between two to five pounds, according to Daphne Oz, author of “The Dorm Room Diet”.  College is a huge adjustment, and no one wants to gain weight on top, even if it’s only a couple of pounds. Where does the weight essentially come from?  At college, access to food is just plain easy. You’re hungry? Walk straight down to the dining hall and there is more than a wide array of food from salad to pizza.  It’s no shocker that most students will go toward the chicken patties and french fries. Not everyone makes bad food choices. Some take the salad, or the sandwiches. Eating in a dining hall makes it challenging, especially since it’s unlimited. “Eating in the dining hall is like eating out for every single meal, and when we eat out we tend to overdo it,” first year Elisabeth McDonald. The worst part of the dining hall is the dessert table. Just because you get a salad for dinner doesn’t mean that you are balancing it out by eating three brownies topped off with candy ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Unfortunately, eating healthily doesn’t work that way. Multiply the brownies by seven days a week, and it’s easy to see why the gym is such a popular place.  Another problem is the late nights. It’s 2 a.m. and you’re studying or doing whatever else and you get hungry. Where to go? Dining halls are out. The Marché closes by 10 p.m. Unless your roommate has a stockpile of fruit and trail mix, your options become limited.  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to plan ahead, for when you know you’ll be munching at all hours of the night.  If weight gain does occur, it isn’t necessarily a reason to go off of the deep end. Think about cutting certain things out of your diet, but in a healthy way, like treating yourself to dessert once a week instead of once a day.  When it comes down to it, a balanced diet is important to your overall wellness. Regular exercise and plenty of sleep can’t hurt either.