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Tips on avoiding the freshman 15 and staying healthy in college

by Kayleigh Venne, Staff Writer

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The first year as an Aztec is memorable.

Learning how to exist with a random roommate, getting lost one too many times while searching for lecture halls and frolicking through frat parties are all important rites of passage during freshman year at San Diego State.

However, there is one phenomena that many students fall victim to, and although it is common, it is not unavoidable.

That’s right – the freshman 15.

For some, it’s 15 pounds, for others, it might be pushing 30.

This can be prevented by making conscious and healthy choices when it comes to eating on campus.

It is no surprise that many students pack on the freshmen 15, but it’s not the end of the world, so don’t freak out.

Freak out over more important things like textbook costs and sharing a bathroom with 13 strangers on a floor.

As freshmen adjust to their new lives as Aztecs, healthy eating drops lower and lower on the list of priorities as binging on Oggi’s pizza with new friends and checking out state’s party scene begin to take precedence.

With more than 20 restaurants on campus, freshmen have plenty of food options to explore when hunger strikes. Most of these are included on the meal plan – which is one of the best perks of freshmen year – but also the worst enemy of a summer bod.

Although the idea of eating Panda Express every day for lunch and Vinnie’s Pizza & Pasta Bar every day for dinner is tempting and sounds delicious, it is not the best option for the body.

These types of fattening choices pack on the pounds fast. But with a bit of balance and willpower, students can avoid adding on 20 pounds by the time family weekend rolls around in October.

Making healthy choices could even lead to losing weight during freshman year.

“In all honesty I lost weight in my freshman year due to learning how to simplify my diet while having a semi-strict meal plan where I only had twenty dollars a day,” nutrition senior Patty Brady said. “I made it work by exercising at least once a day and making mindful choices on our campus.”

Even though East Commons is full of mouth-watering options like Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill and So-Cal Chicken, it is important for students to not completely neglect the salad bar at Salad Bistro.

Salad Bistro has an assortment of fresh vegetables, various toppings and a ton of different dressing options that allow students to customize their salad however they choose.

Don’t be afraid to eat a salad once in a while, the greens will do good.

When looking for a quick bite to eat between classes while avoiding the trek back to the dorm, freshmen can pop into one of many Aztec Markets and grab some fresh fruit, hummus and pita or vegetables.

These healthy snacks, along with a bit of caffeine, will help to keep students’ minds alert and focused during those long and tedious afternoon lectures.

However, pizza does not have to be the enemy if students make health conscious choices.

“I found it easy to make Oggi’s healthy by using low fat mozzarella cheese and loading it up with all the veggies I could,” Brady said.

In addition to the perks of meal plans, freshman receive an all inclusive membership to the Aztec Recreation Center as well.

It’s called the ARC for short and it could become a freshman’s new best friend.

This membership includes access to the ARC Express, the Aquaplex, Aztec Lanes Bowling, tennis courts, racquetball and a plethora of guided group fitness classes and intramural sports leagues.

It is not hard to stay active at state. Whether it be lifting, cycling, swimming or even meditating, with a bit of exploration freshmen will find their physical activity of choice.

It takes time and dedication to get into the groove of working out, but once it is a habit, students can experience great benefits.

“Once you get into a good routine of going to the gym, it’s easier to keep up,” mechanical engineering senior Jessica Roesgen said. “When you work out every day you feel much better in general.”

Grab a gym buddy and make a plan to hit Shakesmart for a delicious protein shake to refuel after the workout and it’ll all be worthwhile.

“I began using Shakesmart as a huge meal replacement and it fueled me for study sessions as well,” Brady said. “I definitely don’t regret making lifestyle changes as I felt my best and it’s what motivated me to become a nutrition major.”

All in all, freshmen year is about life balance.

Play hard, work hard, and don’t feel too guilty about that Trujillo’s burrito after “thirsty Thursday.”

Take a new yoga class, eat some salad and make the first year as an Aztec the healthiest and best year yet.

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