Freshman 15: fact or myth?

Allison McInnis | Assistant Opinion Editor | @allisonmcinnis_

Everyone has heard about it: the Freshman 15, the dreaded 15 pounds that the majority of first year college students gain. Turns out that students at the University of San Diego are no exception to this curse.

Many variables have led to this phenomenon, such as the stress of a new environment, rigorous classes, and a lack of understanding when it comes to eating without parental supervision.

The most common source of the Freshman 15 is the overconsumption of alcohol. According to DailyBurn, over consuming at one party can tally up to 3,700 calories in alcohol alone. That is 1 1/2 times the recommended amount of calories for one day.

To put that into perspective, it takes approximately 30 minutes to run off about 200 calories on a treadmill. College students claim to even skip meals just to account for this, which ends up with even worse results.

Another reason for weight gain is the freedom of choice you have with your dining option. During the first few weeks of freshman year, you may think you have walked into a paradise with all of the delicious food around campus. Who doesn’t love La Paloma’s pumpkin pancakes, Aroma’s savory crepes, or Bert’s California burrito?

You may be walking around the SLP thinking “whoa, I could get used to this.” Then, after a few days, you may realize that the diet of chicken tenders, warm pizza, and those delicious desserts that you have been subsisting on may not have been what your mom had in mind for a well-balanced student diet. It’s understandable: that food is delicious and ready to eat, so why not?

Now, how do you battle this common plague so often spoken of? Here are a few tips to put you on the right track:

Eating. There are always healthier choices to make. Choosing the sweet desert or the savory lunch is definitely okay, just in moderation. It can be extremely tempting to choose the least healthy option, but try to resist. Give the salad bar at the SLP a try, or the wraps in Aroma’s. You might be pleasantly surprised with the taste of traditionally healthier alternatives.

Drinking. If you are 21, be mindful of the calories you consume when you drink. Consider drink options that have less sugars, and try to avoid those mixed drinks.

Exercise. There are so many ways on our campus to get your daily dose of exercise. With a plethora of recreation classes (like Zumba, Yoga, etc.) you can enroll in and two gyms on campus where you can run, jump, and bench, lack of opportunity is not an excuse. You could also take a nice hike down Tecolote Canyon or swim in the pool or the blue ocean in the beautiful San Diego weather. And who are we kidding? The daily walks to your classes can be a vigorous workout with all the hills on campus.

However, there is some good news. According to an Ohio State University study, the average weight gain of a college freshman is only two to six pounds. This is more digestible than the ever-looming 15, but it is still something to consider.

The Freshman 15 is a completely understandable phenomenon. The 15 is avoidable by eating correctly, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy attitude, even when those delectable crepes come around.

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