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Student Housing Solutions: Avoiding the Freshman 15

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student housing solutionsOur New York apartments are great off-campus student housing solutions, and they have private cooking and food storage. That is a good thing, unless you cannot remain in the same room with potato chips without pigging out on the whole bag. You should probably go for the second best alternative in satisfying those crispy cravings and seek out a lower calorie, less salty and baked snack.

The bad news is that you can’t use exercise as a balance for overeating, unless you’re an Olympic swimmer who burns 5,000 calories a session. In fact, if you succumb to the urge to wolf down that delicious McRib sandwich, you have taken on a debt of 500 calories. Make sure the restaurant is a two-hour jog away, because that is what you’ll need to work off those calories.

The good news is that the so-called Freshman 15 phenomenon is a myth. The moniker alludes to the notion that college freshmen typically gain 15 pounds during their first year in college.  Studies show otherwise.  For example, Olga Khazan writes in her online article in TheAtlantic.com:

[A 2011 study found that] just 10 percent of college freshmen gained 15 or more pounds, and a quarter of them actually lost weight. Instead, college students gain weight steadily throughout their time in school.

So the not-so-good news is that weight gain is a natural process of maturing. Women typically gain about 6 pounds, men as much as 13.  It’s simple, really: When you stop growing, your metabolism slows. You need the nourishment, but the unneeded calories are stored as fat.  Exercising more helps, of course, but who has time to jog the aforementioned two hours?

Here are some tips from eatright.org to avoid the overeating that often accompanies freshman anxiety, stress and homesickness:

Be aware and prepared

If you have an urge to overeat, “ask yourself if you’re eating out of boredom or soothing yourself with food.”  Look for other alternatives in relieving stress or seek the help of a student counselor.

Eat breakfast

Your body’s engine is not yet going when you get up. It needs fuel to wake up the metabolism and energy for those brain cells. Go for carbohydrate- and protein-rich breakfast foods. Too rushed to cook something? A slice of apple with a dollop of peanut butter is far better than nothing.

Drink alcohol in moderation

Your body turns alcohol into sugar and can pack on extra pounds quickly. If you’re out on the town having a few, order light beers and avoid mixed drinks. Alternate your drinks with water, and try to eat a balanced meal before heading out.

Finally, make some time for the best stress reliever there is: exercise. Keeping active controls weight gain. Everything you do socially doesn’t have to involve eating, and physical activity can play a tremendous role in your student housing solutions to avoiding weight gain.

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