Tips for avoiding the freshman 15

The Lion’s Roar / Kelonda Dixon
Healthy choices are offered at the Mane Dish in an effort to help students maintain a healthy lifestyle. There is a salad bar offered for lunch and dinner every day, as well as a selection of fresh fruit. Each hot meal is labeled with nutritional information, which can help inform students on the amount of nutrition and calories they are consuming for each meal.

New students entering college hear of the much-feared freshman 15. It is common for students to gain weight not only as freshmen, but throughout their college years. According to nutrition professor of Ball State University Amber Haroldson, students likely gain weight in college due to being on their own when it comes to meals, having busy schedules, increased snacking during studying or leisure time, emotional eating, perceived lack of healthy food availability and being less physically active.

According to both Haroldson and the staff of Recreational Sports and Wellness, the freshman 15 can be avoided through conscious eating, exercise and more.

“We need to exercise obviously,” said director of Recreational Sports and Wellness Dollie Hebert-Crouch. “Not only does exercise help us not gain weight but it also helps reduce stress. So from a mindful perspective, if you’re just looking to do something that’s good for you, exercise is the first step. But you also have to eat right. Because if you exercise, but you’re eating at McDonalds everyday, you’re not going to achieve what you want to achieve.”

When it comes to exercise, Hebert-Crouch explains people need 30 minutes to an hour of exercise in their day. With much of student’s time spent at school and work, prioritizing is important.

“There’s 24 hours in the day. When we make our priorities when we wake up in the morning we all choose how those 24 hours are going to play out,” said Hebert-Crouch. “The bottom line is when you look at your 24-hour day, how are you going to piece it together when you look at your priorities? Because if exercise is not a priority to you, your not going to choose to do it. If you want to stay away from the freshman 15, look at your day and fit 30 minutes to an hour into your day.”

The Rec center offers multiple programs and tools for students to stay healthy and fit. Students may freely use the gym, track, weight room and more within the center. Group X classes are offered for free throughout the week. Classes include cycling, abs and back workouts and more. For students who want one-on-one training, they can hire a personal trainer.

“We have awesome instructors and two of them are on the track team so you’re definitely going to get a work out,” said assistant director of health and wellness Megan Mast. “We have Interval 30. We also have our personal training packets. And I can do a personal assessment on you so you can see where you are and where you should be based on national standards.”

Mast also encourages students to join Fit for All and participate in Health for the Holidays as it approaches. Fit for All is a program that encourages the utilization of all the center has to offer. Students will receive a punch card that they will use when at the gym, and will turn in the punch cards for rewards.

“Fit for All is a free program,” said Mast. “Health for the Holidays is a nutritional management program, so you don’t feed your stress. You learn how to come out of your stress. That program runs at the stressful time of the year between Thanksgiving and New Years.”

Aside from going to the gym, the Rec center offers nutritious food at their Pride Café.

Pride Café buys much of their produce from local Poche Farm. They focus on providing natural and healthy options.

“We make a really good kale smoothie over here and we make salads that use their fresh produce, and it’s amazing how much better the food taste as a result of it,” said Hebert-Crouch. “The students can be comfortable knowing it’s all natural food. We really try to do that. Even our smoothie products we get are all natural. That’s our focus.”

Students can receive any nutritional information about all meals at Pride Café. Calories are counted out and students can choose to remove or add anything to their meals for less calories or added protein.

The Mane Dish, Southeastern’s cafeteria, also provides nutritional information on meals served, and daily offers a salad bar.

There are many small steps that can be taken to implement healthy eating into ones diet. Haroldson suggest filling ones plate half with vegetables and choosing whole grain products. For students who do not have a meal plan, then purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables is both a nutritious and budget friendly choice.

“Prepare food for the week ahead of time; that can be cut up fruits or vegetables and have them easily accessible to snack on or pack to take to class, or prepare meals and freeze in single serve portions,” said Haroldson. “That way you can use foods before they go bad, cut down on food waste, and have healthy meals readily available.”

Haroldson also suggest keeping a food journal, either on paper or on an app. This will help students remain aware of what they are eating.

 “When you have this information, you can then identify areas that need change,” said Haroldson.

One way to reduce a large amount of calories from ones diet is cutting out sodas and replacing it with calorie-free and nutritious beverages.

 “Cut out the soda and other sugar sweetened beverages,” said Haroldson. “It is very easy to drink a large number of calories and not feel full.”

Southeastern offers many options for students to stay fit and healthy while in college. For further information contact Recreational Sports and Wellness at 985-549-5591.