By: Miranda Babbitt

 

Currently slouched in my dorm’s wannabe rocking chair, I see the remnants of a KitKat bar and bag of chips while a bowl of fruit sits abandoned behind my laptop’s screen. Let’s be honest, nobody eats like a normal human being during Frosh Week. This is the essence of what every girl or boy fears when entering university. Even with the mere word, “freshman”, a certain number slyly creeps next to it, waiting on the tip of your tongue. “Fifteen, fifteen, fifteen.” As soon as I utter these two words, “Freshman Fifteen,” the eyes of adolescents nearby darken in sheer, unadulterated dread and horror.

Especially us girls do not take these apparently inevitable extra pounds lightly (pardon the pun). It often seems a pact to try and avoid it. Plastered across some of the athletic clubs posters in the booths during Mac Clubsfest was one of their most powerful incentives: “Avoid the Freshman Fifteen!” Just down my hall, one of my friends has devoted herself entirely to rowing, a sport she hasn’t ever dabbled in until she saw those words, her savior, to avoiding the terror of gaining fifteen extra pounds.

Others yet, (maybe including myself, maybe not) have adopted a sort of “YOLO” or should I say, “YOFO”, attitude towards it all. The rows upon aisles of not-exactly-the-healthiest options conveniently placed by the cashiers are a source of my quick surrender into Freshman Fifteen’s rich, salty goodness. Clever move, Centro, clever move.

However, my fellow Mac Students, I believe the Freshman Fifteen is a myth. Now you may have heard this before, and brushed it aside in favour of the worry-induced adrenaline. But it is imperative to know that honestly, you can escape it pretty easily because the Freshman Fifteen is in fact the Freshman Five.

There. Breathe. Put down those running shoes you had for the third workout of the day. Finish that bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Pat your wheezing friend on the back. We’re not joining the army, folks. We are not actually in a metaphorical war with our raging hormones and metabolisms in the face of our freshman year. We’re exploring the next stage of our lives where every meal hasn’t been planned and made by mummy for when you get home from school.

And how do I know this is so? Science. Studies galore. If you even type freshman fifteen into the all-knowing mother of technology known as Google, you will find “myth” and “exaggeration,” belittling those menacing words.

Despite its apparent exaggerations, I took it upon myself to scour the Internet for some tips to avoid the said Freshman Five all together. And no, it’s not going to be as mind-numbingly simple as saying, “Well, just eat a salad,” because hey, smartass, sometimes I’m going to want a burger. Maybe even a double bacon cheeseburger. You can glare at me all you want, eyes throwing daggers over that bowl of cottage cheese and celery, but I’m not going to adopt the diet of a bunny rabbit to keep off extra weight (as cute as bunnies are). Here are some reasonable, achievable tips:

 

  1. Start your routine as soon as possible and stick to it for two weeks without faltering. As soon as daily jogs or elliptical-machines are in your routine, you will – gasp – crave exercise.
  2. Don’t leave for class without a breakfast! And a medium coffee from Tim’s doesn’t count. Your metabolism is most likely a lazy fellow, and he’s going to stay in his peaceful little slumber until you kickstart him with some nutrients. Think fruit plates from the salad bar, granola bars, or even whole grain waffles you can slip in your common room’s microwave before class, topped with decadent Greek yogurt.
  3. Make your meals look like a rainbow. No, that doesn’t mean a pizza with black olives and brown mushrooms. Choose something with veggies of all colours, protein in the form of chicken or ham, and some calcium from white or chocolate milk.
  4. Join something. Anything. It can be as specific as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (who knew?) or Beginner Yoga. Something along the lines of Zumba seems to be the craze lately. Try it out.

 

To get down to the gritty, the freshman fifteen really is just psychological. The campus is not forcing food down your throat, nor is the gym glaring at you every time you walk by it. And hey, bikini season’s over. It’s sexy winter parka time.

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