How to avoid gaining weight in college

(Photo by Stefan Carlson)

The freshman fifteen: that infamous side effect of any first year college student’s venture away from home. It creeps up on unsuspecting freshmen faster than one might realize; and even when you think it’ll never happen to you, many students end up sharing the same story about gaining that extra 10, 15, or even 20 pounds during their first year.

Luckily, there are a few resources near the college that can help any freshman avoid the shock that comes with stepping on a scale to realize they’ve put on some extra pounds.

If you’re a student living on campus with a meal plan that offers pizza, burgers, wings, and ice cream every single day, it can be tempting to eat whatever the hell you please for every meal.

While using the campus meal plan to get food is fine, and helps to save money, it also doesn’t hurt to go grocery shopping occasionally to get used to cooking for yourself. The Jewel Osco on York road, and the Whole Foods near route 83 are both great places to shop for your own food in place of eating at the café or the roost every day.

If you do find yourself primarily dining at Chartwells, there are still a few healthier options to choose from. Downloading a calorie-tracking app like My Fitness-Pal works wonders for keeping track of what you’re eating. The app has a search feature that can search for the nutritional values and calories for specific Chartwells meals.

Aside from eating right, it’s also important to keep active. While the weight and cardio rooms in Fagnell hall are close and free, the facilities aren’t very big and there are better options in the area for gyms.

One of those options includes the Courts Plus park district on West. The park district is with- in walking distance of campus, and has more weight and cardio equipment than Fagnell, as well as a pool. Even though it is a local park district, Courts Plus offers monthly memberships for $26 even to non-Elmhurst residents.

If you happen to have a car on campus or some other way of getting around, other gyms in the area include the XSport on North Avenue or the Patriot fitness gym on route 83. The latter will cost you a lot of money though, with memberships sitting at around $70 a month.

One of the least discussed ways to prevent significant weight gain is to just keep yourself busy. Freshman year can come with a lot of downtime if you aren’t a student athlete or involved in a club. Getting involved in some way or even picking up a part time job is a simple way to keep your mind working and not eating purely out of boredom.

Your first year of college is fun, but looking in the mirror halfway through the first semester to realize that you’re a little huskier than usual can be the antithesis of fun. So keep these tips in mind, take care of your body, and try to have a little bit of fun along the way.