Ah, freshman year. There’s nothing like leaving home for the first time, living with a roommate you’ll hang with until you join different sororities, and drunk-eating the entirety of the CVS snack aisle in the freshmen lounge at 3am. Basically, college is all fun and games until you get to Thanksgiving and you’re like, five sizes too big for your tailgate tanks. You can blame your RA’s weekly cookie meetings all you want, but gaining the Freshman 15 is NOT inevitable, and there’s nothing worse than feeling fat at your first Semi-Formal. Or anywhere. Here’s what you need to do to steer clear:
1. Ask Yourself What You’d Be Eating At Home
Your eating habits are obviously gonna change when you have to deal with dining hall food for a whole year, but that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard on Mac & Cheese Wednesdays (or even participate at all). You might not have your favorite salad bar nearby or your mom’s healthy food in the fridge, but try to eat as similarly as you can to the way you would at home. When you’re choosing what to get from a buffet or what to eat before class in the morning, think about what you’d be eating in high school, and it’ll help you stay on track without gaining 30 pounds from late night diner runs. We know grilled cheese and French fries taste amazing at 2am, but if you wouldn’t eat it on a school night in high school, don’t eat it now.
2. Keep Your Blackouts Simple
We’ve already established that we’ve been personally victimized by alcohol calories, but let’s not make the situation worse than it already is. Alcohol has a ton of calories in it, so try to stay away from drinks that will sabotage you even more. Your best choice is to stick with clear shots (think vodka, tequila) and chase with a slice of lemon or Diet Coke. There’s no need to order a margarita before a pregame and no need to chase with regular Peach Snapple either. Get your priorities straight and keep your blackouts as simple as possible.
3. Keep That Shit Out Of Your Room
You’ll want to keep snacks in your dorm for when you get hungry while pretending to study, but be careful with what you’re keeping around. We’re not telling you to live off kale and tofu all year, but keeping unhealthy shit in your room is a recipe for disaster. By keeping healthy snacks around, you’ll prevent yourself from eating hundreds of extra calories in between meals. Stock up on healthy protein bars with minimal ingredients, kale chips, Greek yogurt, fruit, and nuts—not the honey roasted ones. You’re not kidding anyone with those.
4. Buy Food In Single Servings
This goes along with the snacks in your room, but it’s extra important that you’re not accidentally buying snack sizes meant for a family of seven. You might be saving a few dollars by buying the value size, but honestly you’re saving a few pounds down the line so you can splurge a bit. Think about it. If you buy the giant Honey Bunches of Oats thinking you’re being super healthy, you’ll just end up eating like, five servings at once without realizing. The same goes for nuts, popcorn, crackers, or any other snacks that you think are healthy options. Like, multi-grain pita chips aren’t that healthy when you find yourself scraping the crumbs at the bottom of the bag. Should’ve bought the single serving packs.
5. Find A Workout You’re Actually Down For
Finding time to work out in college is the last thing you want to do, and you don’t even know where the campus gym is. I mean, I went to NYU so I literally went to SoulCycle after class, but not everyone has that option when you’re on a campus in bumblefuck wherever. The key to getting into a workout routine is finding one you actually like. Whether you’re down for 10-minute online HIIT workouts you can do in your dorm room or going for a run around campus, just find the one activity that won’t make you want to kill yourself. It may take a few tries, but at least you’re burning calories while experimenting, right?
6. Make A Friend Who Will Suffer With You
Unless you have a military buff trainer yelling at you to get up and head to the gym, you’re not gonna stick to your workout routine without a little motivation. Find a friend who will work out with you, or will at least encourage you to do it on the days where you’re lazy. You can literally spend the rest of the day lying in bed, so find someone who is willing to get in some exercise for 30 minutes. It helps to find someone who’s on the same hair washing schedule as you. Just a tip.
7. Save Your Pigging Out For Weekends
Depending on your class schedule, your weekend could literally start on a Thursday afternoon and end on Monday night. That’s one of the great parts about college—having zero responsibilities and a shit ton of free time. While you might be down to black out five nights a week, be careful with how many nights you’re ordering a pie of pizza to sober up on the floor of your friend’s hallway. Drunk eating is super risky, and chances are you won’t even remember the sleeve of Oreos you polished off for dessert. Try to limit your blackout indulgences to 1-2 nights per week, and you’ll notice a huge difference. There’s nothing like the regret that pours in when you wake up with an empty pizza box on your bed.
Ugh, I miss college.