Beware the “Freshman 15”

Oct 02, 2012 No Comments by

SAN RAFAEL, Calif.—Most college students are all too familiar with the phenomenon known as the “Freshman 15,” which refers to the sudden weight gain first year students experience due to their major lifestyle change.

For the majority of freshman, this is the first time they are living without the supervision, concern or nurturing affection of their parents. So students are suddenly responsible for making their own choices about what to eat, and when.

Freshman psychology major Daniel Mai admits he is used to eating late at home, “that’s why I am always hungry at night, because I usually don’t have dinner until 9 or 10p.m.”

At first, the freedom is exhilarating:  pizza every night, cookies for dinner, ice cream in a friend’s dorm room, and late night drives to In-N-Out Burger.

At first, the freedom is exhilarating:  pizza every night, cookies for dinner, ice cream in a friend’s dorm room, and late night drives to In-N-Out Burger. Students also take advantage of the easy availability of junk food in the dorms.

Freshman students tend to gain weight mainly because of the newness of campus life, whereas upperclassmen are typically more self regulating because they have already adjusted to the student lifestyle.

 Get your grub on! Daniel Mai, a freshman psychology major, indulged in a variety of snacks ranging from Double Stuffed Oreos, to Ghirardelli chocolate. “I always eat late at night because, this is typical for me” said Mai.


Here are a few rules: Exercise, not only because it helps control weight, but it has been shown to significantly improve a person’s mood and state of mind. Avoid making unhealthy food choices in the cafeteria by remembering that your body needs proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products daily. Avoid eating food late at night.

Studies have shown that the digestive system slows down at night, so any food eaten then will not be fully absorbed and since the body is less active at night, it’s more likely the calories will be converted to body fat. Lastly, refrain from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. It’s high in carbohydrates, which have the potential to turn into body fat. For those underage, it’s also illegal.

Simple in theory, these choices are not always easy to incorporate into the student lifestyle, especially for eighteen year olds who are away from home for the first time. However, this does not mean that students have to struggle with making healthy food and lifestyle choices.

Going for a 20 minute run two or three days a week, walking to shops and entertainment, and restricting  junk food purchases to just one item at a time, are good strategies for dealing with the munchies.

Keeping a basket of fruit in the dorm also makes a better late night snack than candy, or high carbohydrate, fatty, salty, or sweet foods.

Campus, News

About the author

Kathryn Torralva is a freshman communications and media studies major with a background in journalism and informative writing. Her career goal is to become a newspaper journalist or a web based news reporter. She is dedicated to informing readers and reporting stories relevant to the community and students alike.
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