The Guide: Turn the Freshman 15 into Freshman 0

October 16, 2018

Are you currently munching on a bag of chips and re-watching The Office for the third time? Believe me, I fall into the Jim and Pam relationship too. However, their relationship must be put on hold as we explore what to avoid and what to do when it comes to Food, Fitness and Body+Mind during Freshman year of University to escape the well-known 15 pounds, and be the greatest version of yourself.


1. Food

What to avoid:

  • Skipping Meals: I must admit, I rarely eat breakfast. Especially when I have an 8:30 AM class. However, it is so important that you give yourself brain food before entering a classroom. I try to keep quick and easy items in my dorm room, for example, instant oatmeal.

  • Imbalanced Meals: It can be easy to eat a meal that consists of too much of one food group. Try to make a plate that incorporates proteins, grains and vegetables. As well, aim to have three different colours on your plate.

What to do:

  • Remember to Pick up a Fruit or Vegetable: Reach for vegetables that are rich in the colour green, like kale and broccoli. For fruit, bananas are a great source of potassium, which help you stay focused and concentrate while studying.

  • Engage in the Reward Programs: The cafeteria has endless opportunities to receive free food! For example, the Student Nutrition Awareness Program (SNAP) gives you the option to receive the fruit and veggie card. After 10 purchases of fruit or vegetables you are rewarded a free one.


2. Fitness

What to avoid:

  • Only Working out at the Gym: The gym is a great place, don't get me wrong. However, I found on cold days where I really could not motivate myself to go to the gym, having a yoga mat with two 10-pound weights in my dorm room is sufficient. There are plenty of videos on youtube that give you at home workouts that are really effective at getting your sweat on!

  • Not Being Active due to “Other Commitments” : You can always make time for a quick workout. It is all about prioritizing, rather than sitting on snapchat for 30 minutes, head to the gym for half an hour to get your heart rate going. If these “other commitments” are of the utmost importance, multitask at the gym! There have been countless times where I have been on the treadmill while talking on the phone.

What to do:

  • Find a Buddy: I found going to the gym with a friend to be super helpful and motivational. Just having someone ask you to go to the gym is an instant reminder to partake in your daily workout.

  • Balance your Workouts: Have you ever told yourself- “Today is the day, I am changing my lifestyle, and I am going to be fit!”, and then a week later you are back into your same routine? I feel like the biggest reason this happens is that the workout is just way too intense for your first day back training. By the fifth day, you are just swamped. Easing your way back into a routine that you can maintain is essential in order to be consistent with working out.


3. Body + Mind

What to avoid:

  • Studying Late into the Night: When you study until 2:00AM you are not giving yourself enough down time before bed to ensure a good sleep. Your brain is still active trying to remember those 50 formulas and definitions you threw at it. My tip here is to try and aim at the same routine, even on weekends. Giving your body a schedule tricks it into a rhythm and requires less effort on your part because your body already knows what is to come.

  • Being a Workaholic: There are many individuals who strive to be the greatest, and will work until they achieve this. I find that this mindset can be stressful and demeaning when you can not always meet your standards. That is why, leaving some room for pleasure is important. Whether it be a face mask, one round of a video game or even just chatting with a friend for 10 minutes. Opening up to these little incentives along the way can really push you to do greater and give you stress free breaks.

What to do:

  • Know your Limits: It can be overwhelming going into freshman year due to the independency you face. You have your schooling life, social life, extracurriculars, the list goes on and on. Knowing your body and how much you can handle in one day is crucial for your success. If you are in two clubs, going out four days a week and sacrificing your grades, you need to change your lifestyle. Try to find the right balance between all your commitments, without putting one on the back burner.

  • Clean Space: I had visions of how I wanted the layout of my dorm room to be, tapestry on the right, colourful lights hanging on the left, and photo wall above my bed. I really am a firm believer that a happy space equals happy mind. Going home to a room that makes you feel calm will put your mind at ease, and allow it to focus on more important matters.


I wish you the greatest success in your Freshman year of University, leading a lifestyle with healthy food, a balanced fitness routine and an energetic mind, which results in a better performance in every activity you participate in.


Laura Fallowfield

Director of Events, DECA U Guelph, 2018-2019

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