North Texas Daily

Five tips to fight the frightening “Fall 15”

Five tips to fight the frightening “Fall 15”

Five tips to fight the frightening “Fall 15”
August 26
00:31 2014

Samantha McDonald / Staff writer

Everyone knows the legend of the Freshman 15, a phenomena that explains those dreaded extra pounds gained during one’s first year in college.

Although Today reports the average number is usually between three and seven pounds, the weight gain is real – and it doesn’t stop with the freshmen. From sophomores to seniors, the approach of another hectic fall semester can become challenging for those who struggle to maintain a routine. Not all hope is lost, though. There is more than one way to defeat the “Fall 15.”

Get motivated

One of the most difficult steps toward physical fitness is getting off of the couch to exercise. The good news is the Recreation Center offers classes for individuals as well as groups.

Denton’s jog-friendly sidewalks also allow one to work out at his or her own pace.

Instead of driving or taking the bus, it is recommended that students either walk or ride their bikes to class to burn extra calories.

“Any time that you can do purposeful exercise and put that into your daily activity would be good for your health,” said Scott Martin, professor of kinesiology, health promotion and recreation.

Stock up on healthy options

Binge eating is a common habit among students primarily due to late-night studying or partying that can accompany a college evening.

“Overconsumption of these high-fat food options has been shown to increase serotonin levels in young adults, which can lead to a decrease in energy to participate in physical activity,” said Joseph Chaney, fitness coordinator at the Rec Center.

If eating often comes past bedtime, snacking on foods low in saturated fat content, such as a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts, can help ease the hunger.

Starting a food diary or sticking to a meal plan can help also keep students on track to a better diet.

Cut down on alcohol

There’s a reason it’s called a beer belly.

“The calories in alcohol can add up quickly,” said Danielle Gemoets, dietitian at the Student Health and Wellness Center.

Although a 12 ounce bottle of Coors Light accounts for 102 calories, the run-of-the-mill full strength craft beer ranges from around 140 to 200 calories, according to the University of Rochester Health Service.

Students can minimize their risk of increasing a pant size by regulating hard liquor consumption and balancing each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.

“Alcohol consumption can lead to adverse eating habits, which isn’t ideal if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Chaney said.

Maintain a regular sleep cycle

When the workload piles up, students tend to forget about snoozing.

Unfortunately, the National Sleep Foundation found that sleep deprivation could lead to a greater chance of obesity due to an increased appetite from lack of sleep.

“It also makes it more difficult to pay attention and remember new information, which is especially concerning for students,” Gemoets said.

In order to prevent drastic weight gain, it is important to have a consistent sleep schedule and allot from seven to eight hours of quality rest every day.

Try extracurricular activities

Getting involved in campus life can benefit one’s resume as well as his or her figure.

With more than 400 student organizations at UNT, students will have no problem finding a group that fits into their personal lifestyles.

“If you’re doing it with someone else, that might make you feel better about yourself,” Martin said. “You’re going to have fun, you’re going to get motivated, and the socialization of that activity might be very beneficial.”

Staying active in extracurriculars also provides individuals the opportunity to learn a new skill and make friends, all while keeping them physically fit and ultimately avoiding the “Fall 15” (so long as they’re not joining, say, the chess club). Now that’s something even a gym membership can’t rival.

Featured Photo: Students grab a bite to eat at Khush Roti near the General Academic Building on Monday. Khush Roti specializes in sandwiches from international backgrounds. Photo by Samantha McDonald – Staff Writer.

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