Fighting the Freshman Fifteen - A College Woman's guide to Getting Real About Food and Keeping the Pounds Off

Freshman 15 Cues Diet 101

The Boston Herald

By Jessica Ullian - September 4, 2002

Bulking up with the dreaded "Freshman 15" has become almost a rite of passage for college students. A few late-night pizzas, too many supersize mocha lattes before class and by Thanksgiving you can't fit into any of your new college clothes.

"It's the unbridled, unchecked, uncontrollable freedom," said Robyn Flipse, a registered dietitian and author of "Fighting the Freshman Fifteen: A College Woman's Guide to Getting Real About Food and Keeping the Pounds Off' (Three Rivers Press, $14.95). "Within three months of being on campus, young women are gaining noticeable amounts of weight, and it doesn't seem to be something that's in their control."

But it is possible to avoid weight gain. Flipse advises balancing changes in diet with changes in lifestyle. If you've added a sugary soft drink to your lunch, remove it from your dinner. Addicted to midnight chicken wings? Schedule some time to exercise every day.

The cafeteria's unlimited quantities pose a danger, but it's not hard to find the components of a healthy meal there. "If you're not crazy about the selections, you can still walk away with a carton of milk and some oatmeal," Flipse said.

When eating becomes a major group event in the dorm, limit yourself to a taste or a small portion. Better yet, keep healthy snacks around, and offer them when everyone's hungry.

And don't forget about the calories lurking in beverages. ' 'The No.1 reason for weight gain is probably liquid calories: power drinks, energy drinks, coffee drinks, supersize drinks and alcohol," Flipse said.

On the other hand, many college women take their weight far too seriously -to the point where they develop eating disorders. But when you indulge, punishing your body isn't going to even things out.

"The middle of the road is where good nutrition lies," Flipse said. If for some reason you do overeat, just go back to normal instead of feeling that you have to pay back in a big way."

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