Between late-night study sessions, meal budgeting, and the stress than can come with adjusting to a completely new environment, weight gain is typical among first-year college students — typical enough to have long been known by the nickname “the freshman fifteen.” Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stop the gain before it ever starts, and to drop any bothersome pounds you have gained over the summer.
Following any major change in routine, it’s natural to afford yourself some comfort with food that tastes like home — or that simply tastes good. However, emotional eating can easily become a habit, and a habit that results in packed-on pounds. If you find yourself munching when you’re bored and antsy, nervous about an upcoming social event or a big test, or lonely for home and old friends, chances are you’re falling into the trap of emotional eating.
One of the best ways to conquer this is simply by being aware. Take note of not just what you’re eating but why you’re eating. Are you truly hungry, or are the fries (or popcorn or cookies, etc.) an answer to an emotion that needs to be dealt with head-on? Journaling can help you recognize and effectively deal with your habits where emotional eating is concerned.
Start in the Summer
Planning ahead helps tremendously when it comes to either preventing weight gain or getting back lean and fit. The summer before your next classes start is a great time to take assessment of the types of food you’ve been consuming, where are own potential pitfalls are (these can include emotional eating, eating late at night, overdoing it greasy or sugary foods, and more), and what you want to do differently when school is back in session.
Many students trying to deal with the freshman fifteen find it beneficial to turn a weight loss camp, where those with objectivity and know-how can help you custom tailor a weight loss plan that works for you. The guidance, supportive environment, and newly acquired good habits can easily transfer to the year ahead.
You don’t have to wait until the fall to cement good eating habits — and you don’t have to deal with weight gain alone.