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Keep the Freshman 15 Away

by Mackenzie M. September 1st, 2011 | Vitamins
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One aspect of college life that my writing has been lacking in is the importance of nutrition and vitamins in the lives of college students. This is a topic that is very sensitive to many college students, myself included, that is not addressed as often as it needs to be. Through a simple scaling back on fatty foods, proper exercise, and proper consumption of vitamins, the freshman 15 can be cut down, or avoided completely.

First things first: the freshman 15 is real, and it does affect many college students. There is even a campaign that has been started of the same name. College freshman are away from home for the first time, so they are able to eat and drink whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. This drastic change in diet and exercise behavior affected me especially hard, probably because I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, home to some of the most delicious, yet fattening, cuisine in the world. Red beans and sausage on Mondays, a fried green tomato and remoulade po’boy on Wednesdays, and fried catfish, macaroni and cheese, and greens on Fridays, set the stage for not the freshman 15, but for the freshman 20; however, as an upperclassman, I have found many easy ways to combat and overcome the freshman 15, and the general unhealthy feeling that accompanies it.

The first step is to be aware that although there is the freedom to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, does not mean you have to. For example, at the campus coffee shop, just because they have a double frappe with extra whip and chocolate and caramel drizzle, does not mean that you need one every morning to start your day. Try drinking just black coffee, or iced coffee with skim milk. Making coffee or tea at home is an even healthier (and cheaper) option.

Another key component is exercise. College students like to believe that their schedule is just too busy to accommodate even the smallest bit of exercise, but no matter how busy you are, I guarantee there are at least a couple of hours out of the week that can be devoted to either a quick run, or a trip to the college recreation complex.

The trick to college fitness I found is that you cannot be afraid to personalize your fitness routine. Many students, including myself, just plain do not feel comfortable going to the often crowded university gym. To remedy this, I go for runs in the scenic park in my neighborhood that has a path that leads two miles around a bayou, and then connects to the Mississippi River levee trail. Many college towns, especially ones in scenic areas, have beautiful paths that will make your workout more enjoyable.

The final component is vitamins. After incorporating a B-complex vitamin, and some Vitamin K into my diet, I not only feel healthier, but got a needed energy boost.

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