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As you settle into your dorm room on Friday night, you think about going to parties and hanging out.

Soon the weekend is over and the reality of college life sets in: the anxiety of papers, midterms and finals—an anxiety you have never understood before, until now.

Then there are the more frightening ‘f’ words: “freshman fifteen.”

The extra skin, love handles around your waist, fluff added to your torso: those wonderful 15 pounds you gain freshman year. Freshman year is life altering, which can lead to over indulgence.

Late nights with friends, all-night study sessions and just serving yourself too much at the buffet—all create the perfect opportunities to eat and drink excessively. Many times, the excitement and stress of college life cause a student to rationalize their unhealthy habits. As a college student you must exercise will power.

UTSA freshman Regina Madrigal is optimistic about avoiding the “freshman fifteen.”

“I feel it is all about eating right and taking care of your body; temptation is always there, but the satisfaction from over-eating is only temporary,” Madrigal said. She knows about pressure and stress.

Madrigal is enrolled in 12 hours this semester and has a part-time job. “School and work can get really hectic, so I know it is really hard to constantly exercise or eat healthy in general, but the food you eat and your weight is definitely something you can and should control,” she said.

There are several ways to avoid the infamous weight gain. For instance, the accessibility of intramural sports can became an outlet for stress and opportunity to maintain weight for incoming freshman. Many times it is easier to relax and “chill” after class; however, your body and mind will thank you if you allow yourself to participate in physical activities. The campus Rec Center, along with its services, provides a healthy haven for student; plus an opportunity to meet new people.

Although there are many ways to avoid weight gain in college, there is, sometimes, an overlooked factor to consider in a student’s stress level, ultimately leading to extra “fluff”; out of state versus in state students. Kristin Kuckleman, a freshman at Kansas State University, believes lacking control and poor sleeping habits contribute to weight gain.

“At home, my mom served enough for one serving, however, at the cafeteria buffet, people eat second and third servings,” Kuckleman said.

“Also, not getting enough or too much sleep contributes to weight gain.”

“I limit myself to one dessert a week and have a consistent eating schedule. Also, I stay away from snacking on junk food,” Kuckleman said.

Kuckleman has will power, even though she has to eat in the cafeteria everyday. “Unfortunately, I am limited in my food options,” she says.

The main issue students seem to face is being able to say “no” to over indulgence. Food is a fleeting comfort, humans (not only students) in general seem unable to use moderation.

Pete Torres, senior, claims cooking for yourself is the best way to avoid eating unhealthy meals. “As a freshman, I could only make toast, but I quickly learned if I wanted to enjoy what I was eating, and not gain weight, I needed to cook for myself. My mom helped me out, but I got the hang of it now.”

“Freshman fifteen” may seem unavoidable; however, gaining weight is an issue, regardless of where you are in life. The benefits of creating a healthy lifestyle early in life are underestimated. Eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep all lead to a positive mindset, and a successful freshman year.  

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