Avoiding the “Freshman 15” in College

by Ashley

First off, I just have to share with you that on my way home from work today, I stopped to get a little treat for myself!  It didn’t cost me anything either…even better!  Any guesses on what it is??

Goodies from Sephora!  I had a gift card and needed a couple new make up brushes.  Holy cow, I forgot how much my make up brushes cost!  Thank goodness for gift cards!  (Cody was thankful for my gift card too. 😉 )

I got an email today from my cousin, who is a sophomore in college this year, asking about some questions regarding healthy eating and exercising while she’s at college.  She wanted to know what I did in college to maintain a healthy lifestyle without missing out on all the fun.  I told her that her question would be a good blog post idea, so here it is!  Isn’t she beautiful, by the way?

College is a phase of life that you can have the craziest of times schedules, so it’s often hard to incorporate a “workout schedule”, let alone eating regular meals.  However, if not gaining the “freshman 15” is a priority to you, you’ll need to make some boundaries for yourself.  Many new college students will gain the freshman 15 from a variety of reasons: drinking, all-you-can-eat cafeterias, midnight munchies, 2 AM fast food runs, not being as active, etc.  I promise that there are ways around all of this freshman 15 nonsense though! 

When I went off to college, I was overly paranoid about gaining the freshman 15.  In fact, my freshman year of college, I even lost some weight because I was extra particular about eating right and exercising.  I didn’t necessarily need to lose weight, but I am glad I didn’t gain any! 

Here are some tips/ideas to avoid the “freshman 15” in college:

  • Try to avoid what I call the “midnight munchies.”  I did this by trying to get to bed at a decent time throughout the week so I wouldn’t be awake to get hungry late at night.  Some nights (the weekends) it was inevitable, but I just tried to make wise choices about what I ate if I got hungry late at night. 
  • My friends loved going out to eat.  I allowed myself one meal each week to go out.  Eating out can cost you a lot…in money and calories.  I just made sure I chose my “dining out meal” wisely!

  • I ate one big salad a day, usually for my lunch or dinner.  I lived in the dorms my freshman year, so I ate in the cafeteria most days for lunch and dinner.  They had a huge salad bar that I took full advantage of.  I usually avoided the “main dish” that was so-called “food” that was sitting under a heat lamp for who knows long.  I also was a regular at the sandwich bar and made tons of deli and peanut butter/banana sandwiches. 
  • I always had my purse/backpack stocked with some healthy snacks such as granola bars, fruit, carrots, pretzels, or crackers.  College schedules are crazy between classes and work, so eating regularly can be difficult.  Make sure you’re eating something (preferrably healthy) every 3-4 hours to keep your mind and body working efficiently.
  • My friends and I loved our frozen yogurt (still do!), and in California, frozen yogurt places frequent the streets.  Sometimes I just had to say “no” because otherwise I would’ve (and easily could have) had frozen yogurt every single day (or even multiple times a day!).  That’s with anything else too, sometimes you just have to say “no”.


  • I didn’t drink a whole lot in college, and when I did, I kept it to a minimum.  “Binge drinking” can be one of the worst habits for your health in college.  Limit yourself! 
  • I tried to surround myself with friends that desired to be healthy too.  I went to the gym with one of my roommates regularly and ran around the track at our school consistently with another friend.  We all tried to remain active by going to the beach, doing intramural sports, playing volleyball, and regularly exercising.   

This post was so much fun to write.  It brought back some great memories from college.  I miss my friends so much!  If you have any other questions about how to keep a healthy lifestyle in college, please don’t hesitate to email me or comment below!  I hope this helps whether you’re in college or out of college. 

Questions of the Evening:

  • How do/did you keep a healthy lifestyle in college?  Or didn’t you?
  • What are some of your best college memories?

3 Comments to “Avoiding the “Freshman 15” in College”

  1. -Stop drinking pop/soda. As in, all together. Just stop. As a freshmen, most of your meals will be in the caf, and it is far too easy to drink the equivalent of 2-3 cans of pop/soda a day. Sometimes even in just one meal.

    -Make the switch from “enriched” food to whole food. When eating at the caf, make sandwiches with whole wheat bread, not white. When going out, get whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread from subway, et cetera. When buying groceries, buy whole wheat pasta, oats and whole oat meal instead of name brand cereal. This will save your health and your wallet, because even healthier cereal costs way more than buying oats and granola in bulk.

    -Watch what you drink! Covered this a bit on my first topic, but it goes beyond pop/soda. That “vitamin” water that sounds so good after your long work out has as much sugar as most candy bars. Water and milk should be your primary drinks. Whole milk has a higher fat content, but it is good fat, and your body actually needs some of that. So you can have 2% or whole without feeling guilty. But avoid water bottles, sobe, most juices, and go easy on the alcohol. Again, most of those are just not good for you, but they are also incredibly expensive. Water bottles can cost up to 2000% more than tap water, and leading hydro-geologists (such as my father) maintain that tap water is actually better for you.

    -Almost everybody wants to look better in some way. Many women and men decide they want a better looking stomach, or arms, and then they spend hours working on just those two areas. Fat does not burn topically. If you want a flatter stomach, you can’t target the fat that covers your abs. You have to burn all fat. And while yes, it does help to have strong ab muscles, it does no good if there is a hefty layer of fat over them. So I recommend two things. CARDIO and workouts that target large muscles. Cardio will make your heart healthy, burn fat, and build muscle. Run, bike, swim, whatever. Just do it. Targeting large muscles, especially those in your legs, uses more energy. You will burn more calories if you spend time using your larger muscles. In fact, large muscles take more calories to just run day-to-day. So if you continually develop these muscles, you will burn more calories on the days you don’t even work out.

  2. These are great tips!! I don’t think I’ll have to face the whole fear of Freshman 15 because I’m actually going to the community college and living at home. 😀 I’m excited to finally start though!! But, if I wasn’t going to a community college, I would focus on working out, always having healthy snacks on hand, and taking advantage of salad bars. 😀

  3. Ashley thank you so much for posting this- it was great that you had lots of ideas and advise, and I’m glad you enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane! Thank you thank you thank you! Also congrats on treating yourself today! 🙂

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