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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
UHS is an acronym for UW-Madison’s University Health Services. When most students think of UHS they think of, “that place I go to when I’m sick.” Yes, UHS is the place to go if you’re not feeling well, but they also can help you out when you don’t have the sniffles.
1. Try meditation if you want to improve your mood and help your brain function better.
Meditation is a quick, easy, and free way to boost your mood and productivity every day. UHS offers hands-on classes to help you get started. Classes are held at Union South every Wednesday at noon. No registration is needed, and it’s free!
If you can’t handle the commitment of being at a certain place at a certain time (don’t worry, I’ve been there too), check out their online ‘Meditation on Your Own’ sound bites, and try it at home.
2. Try nutritional services if the employees at Wendy’s know your order or you can’t find motivation to exercise.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone could tell you exactly what to do to get in shape? How many times have you downloaded a fitness app just to let it sit there and haunt you?
UHS has all kinds of nutritional services that can help you be healthy as a student. They will help you make a plan to change your habits, create meal plans, exercise, how to cook healthy, and even more. Plus, it’s free!
Schedule an initial visit by calling 608-265-5600 and selecting option #2.
3. Try Let’s Talk if you are stressed, homesick, having troubles with friends or family, worried about grades, or ANYTHING.
Let’s Talk is a UHS program made for students who need someone to talk to, want to see what it would be like going to counselling, or would just like some perspective.
UHS counselors go to a different locations around campus Monday through Friday so students can visit them to talk without an appointment. Check the Spring 2015 schedule!
Let’s Talk is for one-time or infrequent visits. If you speak with a counselor at Let’s Talk and decide you would like to try ongoing counseling call UHS to book an appointment for ongoing counseling at 608-265-5600. Ongoing individual counseling is free if you’re a student!
Interested, but still have questions? Check out the Let’s Talk FAQs.
4. Try acupuncture if you have discomfort from stress, not getting sleep, or too much partying and/or studying.
Everyone’s heard of acupuncture, but what does it actually do? Tiny needles only about the size of a human hair are slid in between where your muscles connect. The needles are rounded and so tiny your brain doesn’t register pain.
According to UHS, these needles block pain and release endorphins, so you feel a little tingly during the session. But you leave relaxed and somewhat exhilarated. A great way to perk up after pulling an all-nighter for Math 221.
There is a small fee of $20 per session (cash only). Remember, if you don’t try it in college, when will you?
Call UHS to set up an appointment at 608-265-5600.
5. Try message therapy if you are feeling anxious and want to concentrate better.
If you are a student and you are anxiety free with amazing concentration skills, please enlighten me I have been having a hard time since season three of House of Cards was released. Being anxiety free and able to concentrate is like the students’ version of the fountain of youth.
While the fountain of carefree concentration hasn’t been found yet, think about this alternative: massage therapy. UHS massage therapist, Heather Simmons, is able to tailor the massage to you! Relax, target a specific pain, or increase your circulation.
Fifty minute sessions are $40, and you can schedule an appointment by calling 608-265-5607.
Want your parents to spiff up your care package? Drops some hints and have them send a massage gift certificate. Call 60-265-5607 to purchase!