There is a lot to look forward to for a college freshman but the dreaded freshman 15 is definitely not one of them. The freshman 15 stands for the weight that a college freshman will put on during their first year of school.
Although most college students don’t put on 15 pounds, most will gain at least a few pounds their first year away at school. There are simple ways that you can avoid putting on this weight during college, but a new study shows that having a heavy roommate may actually help you gain less weight at college.
According to a recent study done by the University of Michigan and Marquette University, a woman who lives with a heavier or overweight roommate during college will gain less weight than one who lives with an average sized or skinny roommate. The students who lived with heavier roommates only averaged gaining half a pound a year while the students who lived with normal sized roommates averaged gaining approximately 3 pounds.
The study also revealed that the freshman 15 is really not 15 pounds, but instead the average weight that college students gain the first year averages to about 2-6 pounds. So, why do women with heavier roommates gain less than the average amount of weight?
According to the one of the assistant researchers it all goes back to the way that the students live their lives. A survey was done on 144 females who participated in the study and found the average weight was 140 pounds. The survey also showed that the heavier students were the ones that exercised and tried to eat nutritiously or were on a restricted diet.
Kandice Kapinos, who was an assistant researcher on this study says, “We expected the social effect to be that if you had a heavier roommate, you would weigh more at the end of the year. But if you look at the behaviors, our results makes sense. Those who weigh more are trying to lose weight, and it makes sense that the pure peer effect is actually in the behaviors.”
The results of the study are still preliminary as they only included a small handful of women at one university. What the study does support is that weight loss is definitely triggered by social aspects as well as peer behavior.
What Can You Really Do to Avoid the Freshman 15?
Although this study shows that you are influenced by peer behavior and different social aspects there are certain things that you can do to avoid gaining the freshman 15 and it has nothing to do with having a heavy or skinny roommate.
Avoid eating late at night. It can be tempting to want to order pizza or get some fast food when you are pulling a late night studying, but eating late at night can lead to extra unwanted pounds. If you are really hungry, try snacking on a piece of fruit or some whole grain crackers.
Walk to as many places as you can. Even if you have to go to something across campus, don’t be tempted to drive there. Make the extra time to get as much walking in as possible.
Try to hit the recreation center at least 3-4 times week. Most colleges offer free classes at the gym you can take or simply hop on a treadmill or stair climber for 30 minutes. Getting in at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times a week can help you keep those extra pounds off.
Lastly, be aware of what you are eating. Think about everything you eat before just shoving it in your mouth. Try to avoid eating while watching television or studying because you will lose track of how much you are eating. By making a conscious decision when eating you can avoid overeating and eating all the wrong things.
Although this study is very interesting, you can’t depend on finding a heavy roommate to help you keep off the pounds at college. Instead practice good habits and exercise on a regular basis and if you want to indulge in a slice of pizza every now and then you don’t have to feel guilty about it.