The Lesser Known Evil: The Sophomore 15

A dramatic lifestyle change like starting college can make it very difficult to maintain your weight. Especially when mom isn’t making you those wonderful well-balanced meals anymore. However, the popularization of the ‘freshman 15’ has made many new students hyper-aware of their eating habits/work out routines their first year of college and, in turn, has helped them keep the weight off…

…at least until sophomore year.

That’s right, folks. The sophomore 15 is real, and it will sneak up on you.

What are two big reasons the sophomore 15 strikes?

How do you to avoid it?

Great questions.

1. More responsibilities.

My freshman year I wanted to get used to the swing of things. I took 13-14 credits and only worked on Saturdays. I had a lot of extra time to do whatever I wanted to dedicate time to. Many students choose to fill that time with studying, participating in student organizations, and working out. Many other students choose to fill that time with napping, browsing the internet, and maxing out their WisCard at the dining halls.

Admittedly, I was not one of the students who avoided the freshman 15. I was used to running track and playing basketball throughout my high school years, so motivating myself to workout was something I never had to do before. Plus, I was used to eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. When I got to college I stopped burning calories and started burning through pints Babcock Dairy ice cream.

babcock hall mocha macchiato ice cream pint

The dining halls sell pints of Babcock Dairy ice cream. Beware.

The point is, freshman year most students have many opportunities to work out throughout the week, whether they choose to do so is another matter. Sophomore year even those who took time to be active and work out freshman year may struggle. Why? Because there is simply less time!

Sophomores usually work more hours, maybe even have an internship, and are taking more credits. The number of free time hours is scarce. You find yourself spending your free time doing *gasp* responsible things like cleaning your room or paying your bills. Because let’s be honest, the clothes sitting on your floor have basically been acting as a second layer of carpet for the last three months.

How can you make time to work out?

When my sophomore year started I slowly forgot about the routine I had created that summer. In November I noticed the weight had been slowly creeping back. The truth was clear. I hadn’t been active basically at all, but I felt like I had no time to go to the gym.

I decided to plan out my whole life for Sophomore year. I planned out when and the number of hours I would be in the library, the gym, relaxing, all in advance. That may not sound super glamorous, but my grades improved and I felt a lot more in control. Sooo, make a schedule and stick to it! Buy a planner that breaks down each day into hours or print off your class schedule from your Student Center.

Hourly Planner

Do you have any breaks in your classes? Plan to go to the library or get to the gym during that time. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done if you spend little amounts of free time being productive instead of sitting on your phone. Literally plan your whole week out by the hour. You’ll find it much more motivating to go to the gym if you feel like you’re SUPPOSED to be there rather than hoping you decide in the moment to go.

2. Cooking sucks.

If you’ve gotten your own apartment sophomore year, you’ve already started to miss eating at the dining halls for so cheap. All the food options allow you to choose your own adventure. Channel your inner Leslie Knope and get waffles and whipped cream or take a trip around the salad bar.

What are you supposed to do now? Cook for yourself? Cooking means you have to plan out the meal, prep, and clean. Plus, how do you even do it? It’s much easier to go out and pay for someone to make your food for you.

As easy as it is, eventually your body (and your wallet) realize that maybe you should give the employees at Five Guys a chance to forget your order.

How can you make cooking easy?

For the love of Bucky, buy a crock-pot (also known to some people as a slow cooker)!!!! These things work miracles. Plop a few ingredients in it, go to bed or go to class, and come back to a fully cooked filling meal. Let’s weigh the options here, 1) prep for an hour and clean fifty pots and pans or 2) prep for ten minutes and clean one pot.

Plus, it’s easy to make it healthy. Here’s a recipe for Pineapple Salsa Chicken from the Skinny Mom Team. It only has five ingredients and the only real directions are ‘dump ingredients into pot’, so no excuses. Find more yummy and healthy crock-pot meals on Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes, the free mobile app. It will even explain the nutrition break down of each meal! You could even sign up for Pinterest and search for what you want to make.

Pineapple Salsa Chicken. Photo courtesy of Skinny Mom Team.

I know what you’re thinking. What do you eat when you’re out and about running back and forth from class to the library to class? This is when you learn the art of planning ahead and packing your lunch.

Lindsay, a dietitian who writes The Lean Green Bean blog, has a great post about packing healthy lunches. Streamline her idea by preparing a whole weeks worth of lunches before it starts. Spare an hour of Sunday evening to get everything ready so you aren’t temped to leave your lunch at home.

Make some healthy sandwiches whether they are the classic pb&j, a cold cut, or something more creative, and put them in the freezer. Not only can they stay there until you need them, they will keep fine in your backpack until you’re ready for lunch!

Buy individually wrapped snacks or put them into snack baggies yourself! Aim to put about 100 calories of each snack into a separate baggie. Small Tupperware containers make it easy to pack dipping sauces, hummus, salsa, and peanut butter. The options are almost endless.

You’ve probably heard all this advice before, but that’s because it works. Just do it!

Questions

Do you have any tips or tricks that help motivate you to work out and eat healthy? What was your experience like with the freshman or sophomore 15? What is your favorite flavor of Babcock Dairy ice cream? Comment below!

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