Here’s the ultimate, yet simple, recipe for the freshman 15:
1. Stop playing competitive sports from high school
2. Obtain a magical card that gives you all-you-can eat hot, delicious meals in the dining halls
I came into college off a fourth year of Varsity tennis, so I was in pretty decent shape. I got careless though, and by the end of freshman year I had gained at least 20 pounds. I have always loved the food at EVK and Parkside, the two dining halls that have been around since my freshman year, and they’re a central spot for social life on campus as well.
Now as a Senior, I have finally made the decision to do something about it! My sister goes here and knows a ton about healthy dieting (and how to guilt me into staying on track!). I’m also doing my best to make it to the gym at least twice a week for an hour or so. USC does give all students free access to a nutritionist, but I’m not THAT proactive, so I let my sister go and relay the advice to me 😀
I once again have a dining plan, but since my freshman year USC has made a LOT of changes in how the dining halls work, and it’s much better now. It’s still all you can eat, but they have healthier food and it’s arranged in ways that make portion control much easier. Instead of loading up three plates with a little (read: a lot) of everything like I did freshman year, I’ll just grab a turkey-burger and some vegetables, sit down and eat it, and if I’m still hungry, THEN I’ll go back for more.
It’s subtle changes, but it’s making all the difference. Another HUGE difference is that when I was a freshman, we got 10 meals a week, which is not the 21 meals a week that a normal human being eats, so I always wanted to “get my money’s worth” and eat as much as I could every time. Now the freshmen get unlimited meals, so they can just stop in for a reasonable meal whenever they want, which would have really taken the pressure off!
In addition to that, I’m also making more of my own food (saving money, too!). The other day I sat down and cranked out really tasty ham or roast beef, green pepper, onion, and swiss cheese sandwiches for the entire week, and used the extra green pepper, cheese, and onion to make omelet fixings, so this was a really healthy and high quality week for me. I’ve even learned to eat salad without dressing, which I honestly thought was impossible.
I started eating healthier and tracking my meals this summer, and after about four months, I’m proud to say I’m down 20 pounds, right back to the weight I came in with as a freshman!
I honestly think with the new dining hall system and my conscious effort to stay healthy, I wouldn’t have gained the 20 pounds if I was a freshman here now, and most of my friends didn’t gain any weight freshman year anyway. If you’re worried, it should be encouraging to know that not only can you maintain weight on a college diet, you can lose it!