How college students are avoiding packing on the ‘Freshman 15’

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — College kids are heading back to school, and one concern among first year students is packing on the Freshman 15.

Taylor Persons wanted to ace getting lean and eating right before heading off for her freshman year at the University of New Haven.

“I was at the doctor’s for my physical and they told me that I was very overweight for my height,” she said.

So, Taylor spent five months working closely with fitness and nutrition expert Lisa Lynn, shedding 20-plus pounds.

“I didn’t want to go into college heavier because I knew once I got to college, I just wouldn’t get the weight off. I would just keep gaining weight,” Persons said.

“At some point, they have to grow up and change what they are eating,” Lynn said. “They are not as active. They aren’t growing, and so the food needs to change.”

Persons plans to follow Lynn’s tips on avoiding the Freshman 15. One of those tips is making sure to eat breakfast.

“Start your day off with protein because there was just a study out this morning saying it boosts brain power, but also flips the switch to your hunger hormones, so that it’s going to prevent all that other eating that we are not going to be able to control,” Lynn said.

Exercise, and choose healthier options in the cafeteria.

“I actually had one of my clients show me she had a travel container. She goes to the chow hall, gets her salad, puts it in, goes back to her room, does her exercise and eats her salad,” said Lynn.

Replace bad choices with good food.

“Go for popcorn chips instead of chips; get the baked, not the fried,” she said.

If you can’t hit the gym, work out in the dorm room.

“Take 15 minutes or a 10-minute break in your room. By the way, that’s more than enough to boost your metabolism,” Lynn said.

Step-ups, push-ups, tricep dips, and frog kicks can all be done in tight quarters.

“Seeing everyone come back like Freshman 15, like bigger, it makes me want not to get like that,” a determined Persons said.

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