Freshman 15 Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

One of the topics that college students hear the most horror stories from is Freshman 15 weight gain. Throughout the students’ first year in college, legend has it that 15 pounds is the average weight a student gains.

What is the Freshman 15?

Once students head off to college, most college students will increase at least 15 pounds!  Freshman 15 is the term that has been tagged along with this 15 pound college weight gain. It has also been known to happen later on during the time spent at college. But normally, this weight gain happens during the first semester of the freshman year at school. The “Freshman 15” is being replaced with 20-25 pounds of weight gain more and more. But still, some even lose weight because this phenomenon does not occur to all college grads.


Freshman 15 Statistics

  • An average weight gain for freshman females is 3.5 pounds according to a study performed at Dartmouth College by 600 college students.
  • Freshman 15 statistics are “exaggerated” as reported by a study from Rutgers’ Cook College. They found out that the average weight gain was only 7 pounds based on their study on 67 students.
  • Most students gain an average of 4 pounds during their first 12 weeks of college based on Cornell University researchers.
  • Women experienced around 4.5 pounds and men experienced an approximate 6 pounds freshman weight gain according to the researchers at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts


What is the Freshman 15 Challenge?

For many college students eating healthy and staying fit while maintaining a very busy schedule is a major challenge. College student find it more difficult to give time to exercise and to eat right instead of just grabbing “fast food” because they are constantly on the go. To help avoid the Freshman 15, challenge yourself to make regular exercise and healthy eating part of your daily routine.


What are the causes of Freshman 15?

  • New eating habits. Several weeks of having limited experience in cooking and unlimited choices can cause quick weight gain. Getting to college can let a diet of pizza, soft drinks, chips or fast food at 3 am commonplace.
  • Eating when studying. Studying on their own time more and less studying during class time when they can hourly grab on junk food mindlessly without anyone observing is a bad thing. College students find themselves in this position.
  • Late night eating. Hunger may sneak up on you naturally if you find yourself staying up later to party or study. They end up being stored as fat because you don’t remain awake long enough later on to burn off the calories you ate. That is the main problem with late night eating.
  • Eating snack food. For any time of the day, a convenient option is fast food. It’s easy to tumble into deep fried nuggets, fries and burgers supplemented with soft drinks and chips diet if you are not used to cooking your own meals. The nutritional information on these foods must be checked if you want a real scare!
  • Emotional eating. Homesickness, new relationships and difficult classes are the challenges and changes that college life comes with. Eating when you are not hungry, satisfying an emotional emptiness with snacks or emotional eating are the emotional stresses that many people deal with.
  • Drinking. Even freshmen students drink. Drinks that are alcoholic tend to be calorie high and this contributes to the Freshman 15. Alcohol can also lower your overall metabolic process and can deteriorate muscle tissue.
  • Inadequate exercise. Involving in other physical activities and committing to regular exercise can help prevent the Freshman 15 but many college students are busier than when they were in high school, so there’s less or no time to do it.


How to get over the Freshman 15?

  • Effective stress management. Some healthy stress management strategies like meditation, yoga and walking can contribute to overall health and weight loss.
  • Make an eating plan. In order not to fall into unhealthy habits, it’s important to have a healthy, simple eating plan. Rather than few big meals, consider eating several small, healthy ones. Fruits can be a convenient snack so it is best to keep lots of fresh fruits on hand.
  • Use a plate. Instead of eating snacks right out of the bag or box, some experts says that using a bowl or a plate can help keep you from over snacking.
  • Stop emotional eating. Getting some added exercise to blow off steam or write a journal about your feelings can help to effectively cope with the emotional stress you are dealing with.
  • No eating two hours before bed. Within two or three hours before you go to sleep, it’s important to avoid eating big meals. Opt for a healthy snack like a banana or a glass of milk is great if you are too hungry to sleep.
  • Find a workout buddy. To ensure that you keep up with your workouts, having an exercise buddy can be an effective way. If you have an exercise buddy, you will be less likely to cancel on a workout partner. When you are tired and nobody’s waiting for you, you would be to just skip a workout.
  • Work exercise into your routine. One 30 minute session is as beneficial as 30 minutes of exercise broke up over ten minute sessions according to research.
  • Special note on caffeine. Quality sleep is interfered by consuming too much caffeine. Two cups of coffee or less a day is a good idea to limit your caffeine intake. You will increase your chances of late night snacking if you can’t go to sleep early.

There is no guarantee that you will get bigger waistline when you go to college. College does not guarantee a myth like the Freshman 15. The Freshman 15 occurs depending on the lifestyle, amount of exercise and on one’s eating habits that will contribute to the weight fluctuations.