How to avoid the Freshers 15

For those of you who don’t know what the ‘Freshers 15’ is, it’s the weight supposedly most people gain (15 pounds) when they first go to university. I can vouch that this is a thing that does happen. I gained 12 pounds in my first term of university, felt awful, developed IBS, binge ate and binge drank thinking I was invincible and that my metabolism was so fast that I would never gain weight. Sadly, I was incorrect.

But with the weight gain came a loss of confidence and embarrassment so I am writing a few things I wish I had been told before I started at catered halls, to help me avoid this.

CocoPops at breakfast will not keep you full and is not nutritious in any way. 

Every day in halls I would help myself to two big portions of CocoPops, thinking nothing of it. Really, I was hungry an hour and half later and did not give my body any nutrition when I woke up, which is very important. It’s best to avoid the cereals, stick to bread and nut spread or eggs, bread and veg. The sugar will not help you focus in lectures and cereal disguises eating a large number of calories (unhealthy ones) in a small portion.

Avoid fruit juices, hot chocolates and mochas (in excess).

One of my biggest errors was mimicking all the boys in my halls and having about 2 hot chocolates at dinner after a desert and huge meal, along with 3 glasses of apple juice or more. Opting for water will help keep the calories under control and stop you from eating excess sugar. Especially when you will probably go on to drink later that night filling your body with even more sugar. Avoid it where you can so you can enjoy yourself elsewhere! I’ve always preferred eating my calories to drinking them anyway!

Drink squash as a mixer.

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*Disclaimer* actually water in that bottle… this is before my disco pants no longer fit me in first year. They didn’t last too long haha…

It is best to avoid cokes, lemonades etc. as mixers. Even if they are the light versions, fizzy drinks slow your metabolism and seeming as first year life will consist of alcohol nearly every night of the week, best to help yourself out by having squash and water as a mixer. It will also help to hydrate you as you drink, making those hangovers a little better and the ability to go to lectures in the morning ever so slightly improved.

Try to avoid drunk food as much as possible.

Luckily I managed to overcome this feat eventually, but it took me a while and I would still have some every now and again. I’ve always found I feel so much better when I don’t buy drunk food after a night out and honestly the next day you also feel so good about being able to restrain yourself. Having said that sometimes you might just need nuggets or a Taka Taka, and that is perfectly okay. However, as you go out so much in first year, the temptation is there nearly every day, so best to try avoid it as much as possible.

NEVER FEEL GUILTY.

The worst thing about gaining the weight for me and what facilitated it was the guilt I felt. I would eat a dessert nearly every night, eat huge portions, always have more if I could, and afterwards I would feel horrible about myself. Go out feeling bloated and unattractive. That was by far the worst part. You are allowed to indulge, just make sure that when you don’t have your parents there helping you to control the indulgence, that you don’t let it go too far. But, if it does,
just think to yourself, it doesn’t matter and you’ll be better tomorrow. That is the most important thing. Going to Uni is hard, it will take time to learn how to take care of yourself, just make sure you enjoy your time and it will all work out great!

The most important thing to take away: You will probably gain weight. There is a huge change in lifestyle that will shock your body (for most). But, if you do, it’s totally normal and will be easy to lose. Don’t stress, enjoy yourself and get drunk and have fun.

And you WILL have fun and probably not listen to any of this. Then you’ll have a list you’ll want to make to tell people when it’s all over for you. GOOD LUCK!

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