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Features Have no fear for college weight gain

Have no fear for college weight gain

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In an effort to avoid the Freshman 15 and Sophomore 25, students make time to work out at the Payne Center despite their busy schedules.
In an effort to avoid the Freshman 15 and Sophomore 25, students make time to work out at the Payne Center despite their busy schedules. | Photo by Mary Sergeant

One of the biggest fears many freshmen face when coming to college is fear of the freshman 15.

It is one of the most well-known rumors about college that freshmen tend to gain a few or more pounds during their first year. What many did not warn us about was the sophomore 25. Weight gain is something college students face every year, but there are ways to prevent it and Southern Miss offers many healthy outlets for its students as well.

According to College Parents of America, some of the top reasons new students experience weight gain are meal plans, change of routine, stress, social meals and alcohol.

The majority of universities require freshmen students and students on scholarship to live on campus for a certain number of years. Typically, residence halls do not have accessible kitchens so students are also required to purchase meal plans. At Southern Miss, the most common meal plan is the Golden Eagle pass which includes unlimited meal swipes into the two cafeterias located on campus as well as $75 in bonus bucks to spend at the other eateries available.

Eating is an outlet for socializing. Every year you can spot freshmen spending hours in the Fresh between classes hanging out and going back for seconds.

Also, change has a lot to do with weight gain. All of these changes cause stress, which causes metabolic alterations in the body. It also takes a while for students to create a normal sleep pattern for themselves.

But with classes changing each semester and each class requiring more studying than the last, sleep is something hard to come by during your collegiate years.

Taylor Jordan is a senior exercise science major at Southern Miss. Coming to college, one of her worst fears was experiencing the freshman 15. Jordan works as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor for the Payne Center.

She keeps up a healthy lifestyle by planning. “Living a healthy lifestyle day-to-day certainly isn’t easy, but it’s definitely possible,” Jordan said. “Planning your day in detail will help keep you on track. Plan your meals, study time, gym time and even plan your nap time.”

Jordan has started her own business, Taylor-Made Fitness. She provides personal meal plans and training schedules as well as personal training sessions and boot camps for people of all ages looking to stay in shape.

The university has recently accepted a large grant to fund their Health is Golden program. This program is geared toward creating a healthier lifestyle among students and faculty by educating them on what it takes to be healthy and stay healthy.

Mark Crager, director of recreational sports, agrees with Jordan that planning makes all the difference. “Don’t think you have to get into the gym seven days a week,” Crager said. “Find a routine that you can maintain for the rest of your life.”

Simple things, such as eating healthily and consistently, can improve your health and weight tremendously.

This fall the Payne Center has made some big changes. Crager said they wanted to offer its students what they would receive at any other gym, but better. It also offers personal training services and group exercise classes at various hours Monday through Saturday.

If you are a freshman or a graduate student, you should not fear the weight gain you have been warned about. These tips and the resources the university provides will help students maintain a healthy lifestyle for the next four years.

Mary Sergeant
Writer and Photographer for the Student Printz at the University of Southern Mississippi

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