The Freshman 15, the dread to college freshmen around the country, the so-called myth that haunts one’s every bite. Does it come with the college turf? Or is it just a figment of our imagination?
The Freshman 15 is used to describe the weight gain some students experience within the first semester of college. This idea started back in 1989. The term was first used in Seventeen, as a ‘catchy’ headline.
“FIGHTING THE FRESHMAN 15,” read the headline, describing an article about how much weight a student can gain due to meal plans, drinking and midnight snacking. While those actions may have an impact on one’s weight, the fact that freshmen gain 15 pounds over the course of their freshman year is a myth.
“In some ways people articulate about the ‘Freshmen 10 or 15’ and it goes right to people’s fears. It’s ‘Oh my god. My son or daughter is going to college and is going to benefit a lot of weight because of all these changes from high school,’” Jay Zagorsky, co-author of a weight gain study done at Ohio State said. “I found it’s not so.”
According to WebMD Health News, a freshman in college will only gain around three pounds his or her freshman year of college. A relief to many, the meal plan is not a curse that will instantly make one as round as a pumpkin. The key to avoiding weight gain is picking the right meal plan and determining ways to be active every day.
USF freshman, Walayat Zaidi, plays basketball and goes to the gym on a regular basis in order to avoid gaining weight.
As the Mini Wheat commercial says, “Keeps them full, keep them focused!”
Universities all over the country have different meal plans in order to ensure every student gets fed. From not having a meal plan to a three meal per day meal plan, food is always available on campus. Many schools even require students to purchase a meal plan. This is to make sure that every student has the opportunity to eat.
However, the availability of food 24/7 is one of the factors that help make the Freshman 15 seem real. Knowing that there is always food somewhere makes the body believe that it is hungry even when it isn’t.
If ‘you are what you eat’ were really true, thousands of freshmen would turn into slices of pizza after a few weeks at UF,” UF alumni, Sara Watson, said.
The Freshman 15 isn’t a curse or a promise. Choosing a healthy meal plan and staying active will help ward off the lingering thoughts of every bite adding pounds during one’s freshman year of college.