Now that everything has been purchased and packed to send your recent high school graduate off to college, what's left to do? For many parents and grandparents, it's time to start worrying about the notorious freshman 15.
College weight gain is a bigger concern today than ever before because so many more young people are arriving on campus overweight. Packing on five or ten pounds between now and winter break and another five or more by the time they move back home in the spring can saddle them with excess weight they may never lose.
The health risks of starting adulthood overweight should not be ignored. As anyone who has tried to lose 15 pounds - and keep it off - knows, it's not easy. Taking steps to prevent gaining those unwanted pounds in the first place is far easier.
As the author of Fighting the Freshman Fifteen, I can show you how you can help your college student do just that.
What Causes College Weight Gain?
Life on campus is filled with opportunities to eat, drink, and party too much. The rest of the time is often spent sleeping, sitting in classes (sometimes both at the same time) and studying. That combination of overconsumption and under activity is all it takes for some kids to gain a pound a week, which happens to add up to 15 pounds at the end of the first semester.
Yes, the school has a state-of-the-art fitness center, a campus that stretches over several acres or city blocks, and round-the-clock recreational activities. But somehow all of that opportunity to burn calories is underutilized. It's sort of like all the home exercise equipment and gym memberships that go unused.
Another source of unneeded calories are those care packages that come in the mail filled with all their favorite foods. Bags of Twizzlers, boxes of Cheez-Its, and tins of homemade chocolate chip cookies arrive one day and are gone the next.
Repackaging those care packages from home can eliminate the temptation, and extra pounds that go with them. Try some of these instead.
Care Packages That Prevent College Weight Gain
- Gel or Mouse
- Spray or Spritz
- Dental floss
- Dryer sheets
- Stain remover
- Bar soap
- Shower gel
- Bath powder
- Body lotion
- Printer cartridges
- Computer paper
- Gift cards for apps
And whatever you do, don't keep reminding them of what it was like when you were in college!