How to avoid the Freshman 15: Healthy College Living!

I know. The cup of noodles and Oreos that are hidden in your drawer are tempting. I mean after a long day of class, clubs, homework, midterms, exams, whatever it may be, you deserve the right to eat your bag of hot cheetos, right? Yes, of course you may deserve it, but it can also be a hard habit to break once you get in that routine– ultimately affecting your health and possibly your weight. And no, gaining weight isn’t always a bad thing! But when it isn’t controlled or planned, it can be just another stress to add to the list.

Changes in your lifestyle are inevitable when you get to college, especially your freshman year when most students leave home for the first time. Between going to class, hanging out with friends, going to your next club meeting and living the co-ed college life, lifestyle changes are inevitable. And it is agreeable among most students, including myself, that eating, exercise habits, and prioritizing your health are one of the biggest adjustments students have to make.

Here are my five tips to staying healthy in college:

1. Munch, Munch, Munch
The first way to stay healthy is by carrying around a bunch of healthy snacks for you to munch on when you’re out and about on campus and in your dorm.

It is a classic college stereotype to stay up late and eat everything available to you in one sitting. When you stay up later, you eat later, and as the night goes on it becomes less likely to for students to choose a healthier option to snack on. So what do we do? We go to bear market or Walgreens to grab cookies and a red bull.

Instead of this, pack a bunch of high energy snacks in your backpack and in your room so you can control your portions and stay full throughout the day. Unsalted popcorn, almonds, fruits, and turkey jerky are great high-energy sources of protein nutrients that if kept on hand, will stop you from snacking on unhealthy options that add to unwanted body fat.

2. Rec It Up
Our recreational sports facility is such a great resource that all Cal Students have access to with the swipe of a Cal ID. But I know that usually the hardest part about going to the gym is just building the motivation to get yourself there. The best way to motivate yourself to get to our RSF is to create a routine for yourself. I have found that the best way to ease into this idea is to take the classes that are offered at scheduled times throughout the week. The classes provide a fun way to workout with other people and not have to plan out what you do when you get to the gym since you have a class instructor facilitating it all.

Some of my favorite classes have been UrbanKick (a kickboxing class), HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and Zumba (an aerobic, latin dance inspired class).

3. Be a Joiner
This is probably one of the most fun ways to stay active and possibly explore new things Berkeley has to offer. There are hundreds of sport groups, dance groups, and miscellaneous clubs that will get you up and moving throughout the week. I am currently on a dance team that keeps me up, moving, and dancing 6 hours a week and it is the most fun I have all week. I voluntarily spend my time exercising while also meeting new people and doing new things. Doing something that involves a team makes you also more accountable for your activeness because it’s harder to let your team/ club mates down than it is to skip going to the gym.

4. Walk it Out
One of the best ways to stay active in college is to just walk as much as you possibly can. It sounds easy…and it is! UC Berkeley is designed for you to be able to walk from your dining halls, to your classes, to your room, etc. When was the last time you went to the Haas School of Business Side of Campus? Or taken a stroll around the beautiful trees and green in the College of Natural Resources? There is so much of the campus to explore, so grab a water bottle, a jacket, and do just that!

5. Catch your Z’s
Last but certainly not least, get some sleep! Prioritizing your mental health is just as important as your physical health if you want to stay fit, and making sure you get the right amount of sleep helps with that exactly. I know: you’re busy, you have homework, there’s not enough time in the day– I have made all those excuses too. But it is up to you to decide what to prioritize. Ultimately, sleep helps prevent stress; stress helps prevent stress eating; limiting your stress eating helps you maintain your healthy diet.
The power is in your hands!