How to Avoid the Freshman 15 as an Online Student

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Posted on January 18th, 2011

The dreaded freshman 15 haunts young students throughout the United States as they enter college for the first time. No one wants to suddenly gain weight, and some freshman students go to great lengths to avoid what many claim to be unavoidable. However, the freshman 15 is not some mysterious weight gain that begins as soon as you enroll for your first college course. In fact, the freshman 15 is not even real. It is more about a sudden change in lifestyle than a sudden enrollment in college. For online students, this is good news, but you still need to prevent a lifestyle that could lead to weight gain.

The reason the freshman 15 has become such a constant is because university students all go through many changes at the same time that do not lend themselves to weight maintenance. The first change is diet. Traditional students often begin a college meal plan, which includes snack foods like burgers and pizza. They can control what they eat, but have little influence over the food served at the cafeteria. Next, their schedule suddenly changes. Students take on hours upon hours of class and study time every week and do significantly more sitting than before college. These two changes, combined, can lead to weight issues.

As an online student, you may not be affected at all by these types of changes. However, you will still need to change your lifestyle to incorporate in your schooling. If this is done carelessly, it really can lead to disregard of other important areas, such as health and exercise.

The first thing to pay attention to is your amount of exercise. Maybe you used to attend high school all day and then play extracurricular sports. This involved much more physical activity than participating in online coursework. Try to make sure that your physical activity does not take a major dive when you start your online classes. Do things as simple as taking walks or throwing a ball with someone younger.

Next, watch your diet. If you are suddenly responsible for taking care of your own food and don't know quite where to start, or, if you are having trouble fitting shopping and cooking into your academic schedule, it's time to stop and make a plan. Make a grocery budget and schedule shopping times. Also, if you have little time during the day, try cooking in bulk and saving smaller portions to be frozen and re-heated later.

With a little attention and effort, you are sure to avoid the freshman 15, even as an online student.

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