Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo of The Spectrum
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

The Real Deal About the Freshman 15

It's a nasty truth that some college freshmen may have to buy a new pair of jeans by the time they get home for winter break. As in, a bigger pair.

This phenomenon goes by the name the Freshman 15, referring to the amount of weight supposedly gained by a college newbie during their first year away from home.

Such gains do not befall all students, but a fair amount suffer from at least a few new pounds courtesy of their freshmen year. There are several new factors encountered in college that can lead to new pants sizes that all students should watch out for.

College is like an all-you-can-eat buffet, making it very tempting to go back for a second or third plate from the dining hall, or grab another burrito at Moe's to stash as a snack for later. With all this food available, it can sometimes be hard to resist.

"I attempted to mostly eat the same as I did before," said Kelsey Clark, a sophomore biomedical sciences major. "It was harder to eat healthy because of the temptations like Pistachio's pasta and Moe's, but I tried to limit that to once or twice a week."

UB does a great job of making sure students are fed well, and as a result, there is food everywhere. For freshmen with a meal plan, it's as easy as one swipe of a UB card to conveniently get something.

Each dorm has a buffet-style dining hall, as well as other food options like The Cellar in Governor's, Sizzles and other food stops in the Ellicott Complex, and the brand-new Au Bon Pain on the first floor of Greiner Hall. Small stores in the dorm are also a quick way to grab some snacks, and they are fully loaded with unhealthy yet yummy options. Not to mention the Student Union that houses Moe's, Tim Horton's, and the food-filled Putnam's.

For many students, it is preferred to just grab the first thing that catches your eye or whatever sounds the best, and not many think about whether their meal is healthy or not. Because of this, unhealthier foods may end up becoming the norm in a student's diet.

"I started not to care as much about what I was eating. I just ate the food that was there and wasn't too worried about eating healthy," said Jenna Gustafson, a sophomore chemical engineering major. "It takes more of an effort to make better choices. Towards the end of the year I started to become more conscious of what I was eating, and always chose the healthier option."

Another component of the Freshman 15 is physical activity, or rather, the lack of it. For someone who was an athlete in high school but is no longer participating in sports in college; having the same eating habits will have different results than it did when activity was involved.

The super sneaky way that the calories really add up is alcohol. No parents and no rules means that students want to get seriously crazy and adult beverages are generally involved in the process. Not many people really notice or care that these kinds of drinks also have calorific value, and they do not call it a beer belly for nothing.

Although it's super easy to fall into these typical traps, there are simple ways to avoid them as well. It's all a matter of control and effort.

The easiest way to avoid over-eating is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you're full. It sounds simple, but sometimes it's tempting to ignore the fact that your stomach is full when a pint of Ben & Jerry's is staring you in the face. And a trick for the dining halls is instead of grabbing another plate to fill the time, just get a glass of water to drink when enjoying long dinner conversations.

Healthy options can sometimes be hard to find, but they are definitely there. Little things like choosing whole-wheat, adding extra vegetables, and choosing a small-sized anything can be a big help. There are also plenty of options for healthy meals that are also delicious, like the salads at Edgy Veggies or a sandwich from Bread Box.

Avoid over-indulging. Sure, that pasta at Pistachio's may be the most delicious thing ever, but it's not the best thing to eat every day. Save your splurges for once in a while and make them really count by sharing them with your friends instead of scarfing them down in between classes.

Go to the gym on a regular basis. There is most likely one very close to the dorm, the machines are easy to use, and are free for all UB students. A few nights a week there will make a difference, and exercising will give you the freedom to eat more of your favorite foods.

"I tried to exercise at least four times a week," Clark said. "The gym was right below my floor, so I would just go down and use the treadmill and weights."

Find a friend who also wants to stay healthy to join you at the gym. Working out is often more enjoyable when there is someone else there for motivation and support. Whether it's getting healthy meals together, working out somewhere other than the gym, or knocking back a few less drinks, the buddy system makes it fun and easy to stay healthy

If the gym isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to stay active on campus. A great one is to join a club sport that you love. This will keep you moving and introduce you to other people, a huge bonus.

Walk to class if possible, always choose water, and cut down on the Cheez-Its. Little things like this, and the big things like exercise, will keep students fitting into their favorite clothes all year long.





Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Spectrum