Fighting the Freshman 15: How to Keep the Weight Off

Fighting the Freshman 15: How to Keep the Weight Off


There’s nothing like your first year in college. You gain freedom, friends and fun but unfortunately, you may also gain weight, which many affectionately call the “Freshman 15.” A 2009 study conducted by Utah State University found that–on average–freshmen gain about 10 pounds their first semester in college. The study concluded that sleeping late, eating unhealthy foods, drinking and lack of exercise all contribute to the weight gain. With little time, money and food choices limited to what you can forage in the dining hall, it’s tough to consistently make good health choices. With Back to School season already in full swing, provides some help for students to stop the Freshman 15 before it starts. Here are nutrition and fitness experts Taheerah Barney, Wendy Ida and Tracye McQuirter sharing their sage advice.

But fighting the freshman 15 isn’t just a matter of vanity. All three women emphasized the professional, economic and personal benefits of eating healthy and staying in shape. “When I was still in the corporate accounting arena,” says Ida, “I would go and I’d workout early in the morning, and I would go into the office so refreshed, so lucid in the mind.”

Ida says as her health improved so did her performance at work. She says for some this can translate into promotions and increased pay. She also points out the potential to save money. “You will save on health care,” she says. “You won’t have to go to the doctor as often.”

Barney says being healthy makes people better prepared to manage the stress of the professional world. “The healthier you are mentally, nutritionally and physically, the more capable you’re going to be of handling the stress that’s ultimately going to come from being in the professional world,” she asserts.

She also believes that, on a personal level, a healthy body helps you have a healthy mind. “If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you for as long as it can.”

McQuirter agrees. “Really, it’s all about love,” she says. “Eating healthy foods–fruits, and vegetables and whole grains–doing this for ourselves so that we can be physically and mentally and spiritually in our bodies is an act of self love.”