6 Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15 (Without Actually Working Out)

Image by Tony Alter

What’s the Deal..?

Do people really gain 15 pounds during their freshman year at college? Or is the Freshman 15 actually more myth than it is fact?

In a 2006 study done by the University of Oklahoma, 137 female freshmen were poked and prodded with the end result being they gained 2 pounds over the year’s time. A 2006 study by the University of Guelph found that female freshman gained, on average, only five pounds during the year. And a Cornell study in the mid-2000’s offered a 4.2 weight gain figure for first year students during their first three months on campus.

No matter what the truth – and for each person it will be different – there are ways to stay as healthy as possible on campus. For everyone in their first year at college here are 6 ways to avoid the freshman 15 (or 2) without actually having to work out…


With an average school program lasting 30 weeks, the student would have to eat an additional 1,750 kcals per week in order to gain 15 pounds in a year. Kcals measure the amount of energy produced by food – A kilocalorie is 1 food calorie, or 1,000 energy calories. So, one would have to eat almost an extra day’s worth of calories every week to gain 15 pounds per year. If you’re lazy, don’t like exercise, use a pizza box as a pillow, and take a Segway scooter to class, this may describe you. If so, make some changes please. Try the salad bar and some fresh fruit instead of the box of donuts.

Unhealthy Cafeteria Food

Donuts, pizza, pasta, nachos, sandwiches, pie, cake, and everything your little heart desires is right inside the cafeteria’s doors. The 1,750 kcals above – You might just be able to add that amount of calories to your diet with this cornucopia of food. Fortunately, for you – at least at my school this is true – the first time you actually taste the food, not just look at it, you realize it could be the worst thing since Spam or that fake peanut butter from Australia. It’s kind of like the first time your dog tries to drink salt water from the ocean – That’s the collective face people make at college during cafeteria time. No hints needed here… You might actually save yourself the pounds by choosing your local Subway instead.

Late Night Snacks

Two Rockstars, one Redbull, a dozen donuts, and an extra large pizza from Domino’s have just been sucked into your open mouth like a malfunctioning vacuum. It’s you and the remains of your second dinner at three in the morning finishing that paper you forgot to do because you were watching Smallville and writing about how you just made yourself an absolutely fantastic ham sandwich (your first dinner) on Twitter and Facebook. Hint: Nobody cares. So, how not to be up at 3 in the morning sweating through a project that’s due in less than four hours..? TiVo Smallville, throw Twitter out the window, let your friends in Facebook know you’re going to be gone for a few minutes so they can plan accordingly, and finish that paper earlier in the day. Your brain will feel better and so will your belly.

Playing Wii

Is this categorized as actual exercise? In Webster’s Dictionary, under the term exercise, I don’t think they have a picture of you wildly swinging your arm back, looking like an uncoordinated mental patient, yelling with vigor as you smash an imaginary ball back at your opponent. But who knows..? Maybe they do.

Listen. Get a group of your friends together. Fit them into your prison like dorm room with less space than a mini-cooper and pop in Wii Sports. Before no time, you will have burned off a quarter of one of the six dozen donuts you had last night while writing that nearly due mid-term paper at the last moment.

Excess Drinking

Nearly 73% of college students drink at least occasionally. One in four students – ages 18-34 – binge drinks on a regular basis, according to a recent survey. Have you seen Charlie Sheen recently..? Need we say more? Everything in moderation! Emilio is the talented one now. Think about that!

Exercise without Actually “Exercising”

Walk. Climb stairs, don’t take the elevator. Play a light game of Frisbee. Do any number of these things. You’ll get out, breathe the fresh air, get active, and get the heart rate thumping.

As with anything, moderation is the key. Exercise, drinking, eating, Wii, sleeping, class time, Twitter, Facebook, and any of your other college activities you choose to partake in. Live by these guidelines and you’ll be set – For college and beyond.

Stephanie Phillips blogs at CreditDonkey, where you can compare student credit card offers.

One Thought on “6 Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15 (Without Actually Working Out)”

  1. Playing that boxing game on the Wii is quite the work out!

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