Freshman fifteen: fact or fiction?

The term refers to the rapid weight gain students experience during their first year at a university. The most recent studies show this is caused by the over consumption of alcohol, buffet-style cafeterias and a lack of sleep (which causes leptin levels to drop and your metabolism to crash).

A study at Cornell University proved, on average, freshmen gain 4.2 pounds during the first 3 months of school. "Significant weight gain during the first semester of college is a real phenomenon, with breakfast and lunch at all-you-can-eat dining facilities accounting for 20 percent of the weight gain," said David A. Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology at Cornell. "The freshmen, on average, gained about 0.3 pound per week, which is almost 11 times more than the weekly weight gain expected in 17- and 18-year-olds and almost 20 times more than the average weight gain of an American adult."

We all are slightly embarrassed to admit to having such constant cravings but I’ll be the first to admit that I have an undying love for carbs. Yes, we all know carbs are from Hell but that’s why they are so good. Dieting in college is impossible so don’t stress over it; everything in moderation I say. Life on your own means mommy isn’t making your meals and you have to know how to eat healthy, which, lets be honest, is usually all the nasty tasting food, but as long as you try to exercise or use portion control you won’t become a statistic.

So to answer the question of whether this is just a myth, all facts aside it’s easy to tell if you just look around you. OK, problem addressed; next up are the solutions. Try to exercise as frequently as possible. Avoid the high calorie and high carb foods available in the cafeterias or football games for example. “Free pizza” only means that much more work for you to keep the weight off . Try not to snack too late (if so make it a healthy one), and when it comes to drinking, don't over do it. Girls beer is a big no-no. It’s so high in calories you might as well eat a candy bar. Basically, keep everything in moderation. There is no such thing as a diet in college, that’s just not realistic. Eat healthy. You only have one body, don't abuse it or you'll lose it.

Each Fall an army of eighteen-year-old "adults" floods USF,expectingto finally set foot in the long prophesized "real world." They soon discover that college, and the real world, are whatever these freshmen make of them.  In constructing their identities, most are required to take a basic writing course. Creative Loafing has chosen four of those students to blog for the Daily Loaf.

We all know college is by far one of the most anticipated times in an individual's life. With it comes doubts, fears and worries but mostly the excitement of being out of the house. College is where we discover the true art of surviving on our own.

It's not the all-night cramming session, or the lingering drama over high school boyfriends that most haunt us; no, it's (God, how typical) the "freshman fifteen.” This, I believe, is most girls' (and possibly an increasing number of guys') biggest fear of college...

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