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Making the transition from high school to college is often accompanied by the dreaded Freshman 15. Many high school athletes stop participating in sports once they get to college, drinks like soda and beer pack in tons of extra calories and mom is not there saying “eat your vegetables.”
But there are some simple ways to stay active and healthy throughout the transition.
Three experts from different fields on campus agree that moderation is key.
“Remember that all foods can fit in moderation,” said Amy Kubal, a bionutritionist at the General Clinical Research Center at the University of Colorado. “It is okay to indulge, but choose only one indulgence per meal. For instance, if the cheeseburger sounds good, go for it, but balance your choice by having a salad with low-fat dressing and a piece of fruit instead of French Fries and ice cream.”
She said it is important to eat nutritious meals on a regular schedule to keep energy and concentration up. She recommended keeping dorm rooms stocked with healthy snacks like granola bars and fruit.
Another major downfall for many new students is alcohol and drugs.
“You go out and do drugs, you smoke marijuana, you drink alcohol and you get up the next morning and it has effects on your ability to concentrate in class, sleep deprivation frequently occurs – it’s not a direct effect of the drugs necessarily but the lifestyle – and you find yourself in a whole different situation,” said Allan Collins, a professor at the Institute of Behavioral Genetics at CU.
Kubal said alcohol is especially a problem because it is full of empty calories. Getting rid of those empty calories means one thing – exercise.
Pick an exercise, find an exercise partner and make a routine, said Rich Castro, the intramurals coordinator for Recreation Services.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 35 years,” he said. “My advice is very simple. People always ask me what the best exercise is: I tell them it’s the one that they are willing to do. The other thing is to make a routine that is compatible with your lifestyle.”
No matter how much motivation you may have, if exercise does not fit in your routine you will not do it.
“Time management is important, so people need to realize they can’t say, ‘well, I’m going to go do this in the middle of the day,’” Castro said. “I always tell people if something sticks out like a sore thumb and you can’t explain it or rationalize it to yourself, then it’s not going to work.”