Fun and Fitness: Battling the freshman bulge

Seeing all you students with your keen faces these last few days makes me remember a few years back when I was enrolled in college. Walking through the hallways, completely lost, checking out the scenery, finding new activities of interest and realizing that just like when you started kindergarten, you've now come full circle and have to make new friends all over again. On the flip side of all this excitement, I also remember the one thing I thought could never happen to me; gaining 20 pounds.

For those of you who don't know, the “freshman 15” is the popular term people use for those college students who gain a bunch of weight. This weight gain is usually due to obvious reasons such as eating poorly, drinking, and lack of exercise. Man! I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just graduated while I continued drinking, eating Reese's Pieces for dinner, laying on my couch all day, still living the college dream. Then all of a sudden my girlfriend of the time told me straight-up that I was fat and my mom was talking behind my back to my aunt saying how I was getting nice and plump. All mothers tell their sons they are handsome no matter how grotesque they are. I wasn't getting that special treatment anymore from her, so I knew I was doing just awesome with my new physique. I had to dress in some serious baggy gangster gear to fit my new body type. I had let myself completely go for the first time ever and I knew it was time to turn things around.

So here I am today to tell you all that it doesn't have to turn out this way. It is not impossible to live the college life and maintain your regular body weight. Keep a balanced diet as much as you possibly can, while putting in some exercise and you'd be amazed at how much partying you can get away with. Don't get me wrong now though, everyone's body types are different and unfortunately, some people can get away with more then others when it comes to “cheating” so to speak.

By this point in your lives, the majority of you are between the ages of 18-22, which means you probably have a good sense of how your body reacts to diet and exercise. I'm sure you're familiar with what habits tend to add a few pounds to your waistline and what habits help you make or maintain improvements. If a very snug pair of pants don't give you a big enough indicator that something's up, just ask a close friend if they notice if you've been going through any “changes.”

It's all about balance, and that's the bottom line. Let me give you an example to help illustrate what I mean. When I gained my freshman 15, (sadly it was 20 as I discussed earlier) , my main problems consisted of eating a lot of chocolate, eating late at night before bed, drinking pop, not exercising and eating after the bar. When I turned it around and lost the weight, I avoided all of these as best I could and added three hours of exercise a week to my schedule. Eventually I started drinking a bit more and having more fun as we all naturally do, but I maintained all these good habits that helped me improve in the first place. I had finally found my BALANCE. Find your balance and you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.