Causes of college weight gain and Freshman Fifteen, lose 10 pounds or lose 15 pounds in college

Diet and Exercise at College

The "Freshman Fifteen" is well known on college campuses.  Incoming freshman, new to dorm life, eating on their own for the first time, are said to gain fifteen pounds during their first year at college.  Although it's a bit of a legend, doctors and scientists have confirmed that students gain weight in college - usually 5 to 10 pounds, but still a rapid weight gain in a short time period. 

The biggest reason for college weight gain, or "freshman fifteen" is simple:  college student eat too many calories, and don’t exercise enough!  Here are some causes of the “Freshman Fifteen”, along with ways to stay slim, or even lose weight during your college years!

Reason #1:  You're eating more.  The usual 'freshman fifteen' story involves the all-you-can-eat cafeteria.  Sometimes, it's seeing lots of new food, or being able to have an extra snack any time of  day.  When food is more available, you eat more, unless you are paying careful attention.  Even if you're not away at school, you have more chances to eat what you want, when you want, and options are much better than the school cafeteria.  Without knowing it, a little extra food every day adds up to extra pounds on the scale.

Reason #2:  You're eating more junk food.  Mom and Dad aren’t buying your food, and aren’t watching what you eat anymore, and the kind of food you eat can make a big difference on your weight..  A chicken dinner (baked in the oven, with vegetables) might be healthy, but KFC (deep fried, with mashed potato and gravy) has way more calories.  Processed food and fast food have more calories (especially fat calories) than regular meals baked in the oven or cooked on the stove.  Combine that with the extra soda and fries instead of water and vegetables, and the extra sugar and fat add extra inches to your waistline and hips.

How to stay thin in college?  Read this article to learn how to keep a food diary.  Just writing down everything you eat helps you keep track of your snacking, and helps you eat better and eat less!

Reason #3.  You're exercising less than you used to.  This is a real issue if you are sitting at a desk all day.  But you might not be walking around campus, you aren't carrying around as many books as in high school, and it's probably been a few years since you've had a PE class.  That means as each year goes by, you have a little less muscle mass, and even if your weight stays the same, you have a little more fat.  Since muscle burns off calories, you will eventually hit that tipping point where the amount of calories you are eating is more than your body can burn.  Sometimes that leads to sudden weight gain that surprises you when you try on those old jeans or last years swimsuit.

How to stay skinny in college:  Get some real exercise!  Read this to get started on a simple exercise program that will help you lose weight and get in shape!  The plan is to burn off calories to keep the extra pudge away, but also build some muscle, so you can eat pizza and ice cream once in a while and not burst out of your jeans.

Don't forget this article on the hidden ways that college students gain weight!