By Sami Dugdale
Blog Content Contributor
While Freshman year comes with new freedoms and responsibilities, it also becomes the source of a lot of stress on our bodies, both physically and mentally. One of the biggest myths of freshman year is the infamous “Freshman 15”. As we become used to our class schedules and extracurricular activities, we actually find that we have a lot more free time on our hands than we thought. In this free time, many students go out and enjoy some of the many recreational opportunities Texas State has to offer, while the rest of us bunker down in our dorm rooms with a bag of popcorn and re-watch The Office for the fifth time.
It is very common for students to take on some unhealthy habits their first year of college. We go out less because of the amount of homework we have to do, our dining options are pretty limited (unless you’re willing to walk off campus), so we tend to eat unhealthily, and we put a lot of overall stress on our bodies.
Freshman year comes with many new challenges and it is very important to adopt certain “healthy habits” in order to avoid these stressors and the infamous Freshman 15. Here are a list of actions you can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle without having to go to the gym every single day:
First, drink water, drink water, drink water! Not only is staying hydrated important for your body to function properly, but it is also necessary for your body to process calories. Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism and cause you to eat way more than your body needs. Hydrate before you die-drate, guys.
Another healthy habit is packing yourself some snacks for the day. If you have a few snacks throughout your day, and I mean healthy like fruit or nuts, not chips from the vending machine, then you’re less likely to eat a lot when you eat your meals.
Next, take advantage of the vast recreational opportunities Texas State University has to offer. We have the beautiful San Marcos river right across the street, the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment with the glass bottom boats and permanent museum, and many other activities offered by Sewell Park. Just getting out of your dorm room and exploring the campus and San Marcos in general is highly encouraged.
Another way to avoid the Freshman 15 is to choose some of the healthier options our dining halls have to offer. For example, Einstein’s is not an everyday thing. You do not need the bagel. Try visiting The Den next time you go for lunch between classes. The Den has several healthy options to offer from smoothies to rice bowls to wraps that don’t pack in the calories. You could also try Commons Dining Hall, which consists of mostly home-style food. The only issue with Commons is that it is very easy to pile your plate with carbs. Try substituting some of those options for a salad at the salad bar. Wait, Commons has salads? Yes, they do, and they’re actually pretty good. Finding healthy spots on campus can be tough but it’s best to know what your options are instead of getting Panda Express or Chick-fil-a every other day.
One last “healthy habit” that I couldn’t stress enough is sleep. With the workload being so heavy and the new sense of freedom to hang out with your friends as late as you want, it becomes very common for college students to only get between three to five hours of sleep. Being exhausted from lack of sleep can lead to several negative impacts on your body. For example, when you’re tired, you’re less motivated to go out and be active. Also, you’ll be more likely to drink high calorie, sugary drinks throughout the day to keep yourself going. Sleep also affects our hormones. An imbalance of hormones causes people to eat more and consume more calories to give them that boost of energy they need to get through their day, a boost that you could have gotten if you went to bed earlier.
Freshman year is already such a confusing and stressful time in our lives as we transition into adulthood, the last thing we need is the added stress from habits that we can easily fix. Adopting at least one of these habits can greatly impact the state of your physical and mental health and help to make your freshman year a breeze.
Featured image contributed by Sami Dugdale.