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The Freshman 15, Fact or Myth?

By Donna Stark

George Washington and the cherry tree, that famous monster in Loch Ness, the Liberty Bell crack … all three have something in common … all three have stories surrounding them that aren’t necessarily true. I’m pretty sure that we all have heard a tale here or a piece of information there that may seem more like a myth than fact, and with my daughter heading back to college, I’m starting to hear one of the most popular college myths of all. The Freshman 15, the number of pounds a freshman gains once in college.

Myth or Fact?

With college in full swing, many parents, and even some students start to worry about more than getting good grades and making lifelong friends. They worry that with the unlimited food in the dining hall, the late-night study snacks, and the copious amounts of unhealthy takeout options, that the freshman 15 is inevitable. But actually, it’s not. What’s more inevitable is the potential change in lifestyle habits. Remaining consistent with the healthy habits formed at home will show everyone that the freshman 15 is just a myth … and here’s how it can be done.

  • Daily structure - Routines, routines, routines … that’s the magic word. Stick to your sleep, morning, eating, fitness, and work routines as much as possible. Don’t let your days go sideways by improvising your way through them.
  • Eating habits - It’s easy to say, “eat healthy,” but that isn’t always practical. Some days there are only a few minutes between classes and the snack bar may be the only option. So yes, choose healthier options when available, but more importantly, balance the bad with double-doses of good … and always add more fruit and veggies to your meals!
  • Active lifestyle - Take advantage of school's fitness center, find some friends who like to stay active by joining an athletic club, choose the scenic route to class, or take those long walks on the beach (well, if you are lucky enough to be near one, that is).
  • Stress management - College can be a cesspool of stress and anxiety-induced activities, so seek creative ways to cope with and balance those kinds of events. Building a strong support system, getting adequate amounts of sleep, and consuming nutrient-dense foods is a step in the right direction!

Prove Everyone Wrong

Starting college can be stressful enough without the added pressure of being lumped into a category that includes a mythical lake monster and a cherry tree cut down by a guy with wooden teeth. So keep the myths where they belong … in the heart of great storytellers … and create your own story, your true account that tells of great health and a successful college career.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Arvada, Colo.

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