The truth behind the freshmen 15

By Sharon Kolankiewicz
October 7, 2004

Cecelia Francisco

What exactly is the freshman 15? Most people have concluded that it is typical weight gain that many freshmen encounter during their first year in college. Many college students around the nation have fallen victim to the freshman 15, or they know someone who has.

There are many ways to avoid gaining weight, not only for freshmen, but upperclassmen as well. Eating healthier and exercising regularly does not have to be a challenge. The book, “A Guy’s Gotta Eat,” written by Russ Klettke and Deanna Conte, explores the issue of weight gain and offers college students ways to maintain healthy eating habits in college.

Although the title of the book appears to target males, mainly because many doctors have seen an increase of males gaining weight in college, females should also take the advice on healthy eating habits into consideration.

The book provides general advice on how to maintain a healthy diet. It also has recipes, which are simple but healthy. Since many students have very little time in the morning, there are also healthy recipe ideas for breakfast-on-the go. This is not a diet book, consider it a healthy food habit guide.

Entering college is a whole new and overwhelming experience for many freshmen; it is a big step towards independence. This new independence includes doing one’s own laundry, working and of course, eating. However the independence can cause many obstacles, such as the freedom for students to eat what ever they want.

Here at Cabrini, there are many ways students can indulge food that are not necessarily healthy. Besides the cafeteria and Jazzman’s, there are many popular take-out businesses such as Campus Corner, Domino’s and Winger’s at students’ fingertips.

Junior, Deidre Beadle, believes the less-structured environment is a big factor pertaining to weight gain. “I think that freshmen are away from the structured routine that is present in their homes. Basically, they are free to choose if they will stay with that routine or abandon it,” Beadle said. Freshman, Loan Nguyen, agrees that freshmen tend to take advantage of the new freedom, especially when it comes to eating food. “I don’t think a lot of freshmen monitor what they eat. I eat whenever I am hungry and I order from Campus Corner or anything that is open at night. I think a lot of it also deals with hunger late at night. Plus a lot of people have junk food in their dorms,” Nguyen said.

According to research and experts, alcohol plays a major role in many students who are gaining excessive amounts of weight. According to Dr. Chapman of Kansas University, alcohol can cause severe weight gain. “After students drink for three or four hours, many students go out and eat a fourth meal of the day,” Dr. Chapman said.

Despite all the temptations and negative aspects of food and alcohol, the book and experts agree that there are a lot of ways to stay and eat healthy. Klettke and Conte advise to eat “real food.” They suggest food selections such as lean meats, lower-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables. Since young men require more protein than females, men should focus on eating beef, chicken, fish and plants. By beef, Klettke and Conte do not mean a Whopper from Burger King, but a nice lean piece of beef minus all the additives and cholesterol. Klettke and Conte advise not to eat out too much. Not only is the food generally unhealthy, it is expensive. They suggest trying to save your money by eating or ordering out for special occasions or weekends.

In addition to eating healthy, many doctors and health experts advise that it is best to eat three meals a day. Some doctors do not recommend going without eating for six hours. They suggest eating about every three to four hours. According to doctors’ research, under-eating leads to over-eating. When bodies lack the energy from food, people seek out non-healthy foods.

Most doctors recommend eating foods from every food group during meals, that way the body receives an equal balance of nutrients. Many experts and the book suggest avoiding the junk food snacks as well. Instead try to eat crackers, fruits or vegetables rather than cookies and candy. Again, the book suggests trying to save the junk food for fun and special occasions, or as a special treat.

Many experts agree that another way to stay fit, along with eating healthy is staying active. Cabrini offers many ways to stay active and exercise on campus. For example, the Dixon Center provides students with different opportunities to stay healthy including the gym, pool, indoor track, aerobics room and squash courts. Many doctors and health experts agree that the more you stay active, the better you feel because you have more energy. They have discovered that metabolism increases if you remain active.

So, if you want to stay away from the freshman 15, experts say to avoid eating the bad foods on a regular basis, stay active and provide a balance of meals.

For more healthy eating tips check out If interested more information on the nutritional value of food from fast food chains and restaurants, go to

Posted to the web by Cecelia Francisco

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Sharon Kolankiewicz

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