Debunking the Freshmen 15

Debunking the Freshmen 15

For some reason or the other, I’ve been in a jumble of emotions. First, I’m heading into my last year of high school (insert screaming face emoji here) and that in itself is surreal. I tell my friends this all the time, but I still very much feel like I’m a freshman.

Second, a lot of my friends are heading into their freshmen year of college. And that feels weird too. Although they’ve always been a year ahead of me, it just doesn’t seem right that they should now possess the maturity of a college student. Anyways, some of these friends told me that they were worried about getting the freshmen 15.

For those of you who don’t know, the freshmen 15 is an expression that refers to college freshmen gaining arbitrarily 15 pounds their first year of college.

And now I get it, gaining 15 pounds sounds scary. I mean in this culture gaining any little bit of weight is daunting. As a boarding school student, “freshmen 15” was already buzzing around the halls in the freshmen girls dorm. I even wrote a post two years ago about how to “avoid” the freshmen 15.


But in many ways now, I personally think the freshmen 15 phrase is dangerous. It is one more time for society to tell us that gaining weight = bad and so conversely, being skinny = good. And this black and white spectrum is a toxic mindset to adopt.

I still vividly remember freshmen year exclaiming, “There goes my freshmen 15” as they took a bite into a slice of pizza. That takes the joy out of eating. The “Freshmen 15” presents one more obstacle to something that was so natural as simply eating when we were hungry and stopping when we are full.

Eating is truly and genuinely for fuel and nourishment. It is just as much an essential, in fact a basic essential, as SLEEP. But then when we go to sleep do we worry about not getting enough sleep? (Actually maybe that might be a concern for some, but it’s not as raved about as the Freshmen 15, no?

Why do we have to create certain limits and fears and “rules” to an essential? If you are hungry eat! If you have a craving, respond to that craving. I’ve talked about this many times on the blog before, but our bodies are a lot smarter than we think.

Respect. Listen. And Honor your body. Don’t shy away from getting to know your new dorm mates because you know there’s going to be Chinese take out. Don’t ignore a text to go out to dinner at a restaurant you know is “Freshmen 15 conducive.” Live life. Enjoy life. Understand that food can be a very social thing and that yeah, you might gain weight. But that shouldn’t be your biggest worry. It’s just not worth your time. I promise.

Have you heard of the Freshmen 15?




How to Avoid the Freshmen 15

How to Avoid the Freshmen 15

Staying healthy in college is a major concern for those heading to college. While the Freshmen 15 may be a haunting threat to many, there are easy changes you can implement into your routine or tips you can keep in mind that might keep those extra 15 (or even more) pounds off.


Now, I do want to preface that while weight gain is mainly considered as a bad and unhealthy thing, many might be surprised that people care a lot more about who you are and what qualities/characteristics you possess than how you look. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset of looking a certain body type and size, but guess what? Nobody cares as much as you.

Think of these tips and changes as long term, lifestyle changes for a healthier version of yourself rather than quick-fixes so you hit a certain number on the scale.

Just before I start, I do want to say, even though I am the one writing this post, I did gain about 30 lbs. my freshmen year of boarding school. I left the summer before freshman year with an eating disorder and a drastic 20 lbs. weight loss that happened because of my vulnerable 13-year self. However, I do attribute a lot to the buffet style dining hall, the wide availability of food (especially the bad ones), peer pressure, and stress eating. So don’t worry, I’ve been there too.


Once you sit down, stay down // This is one the hardest things for me to keep. It’s so easy in a buffet style dining hall to keep on going for seconds, thirds, and fourths. However, 99.99% of the time I stand up to get seconds, my stomach already feels full but my mind who denies it wins. So stick with your single serving. I think the most helpful tip for this tip is to eat slowly and really savor each bite in that single serving.

img source

Dampen the size, up the frequency // In the beginning of my freshmen year when I realized that the dining hall wasn’t open 24/7 (unlike the convenience of your pantry at home), I suddenly ate three very big meals because I knew I wouldn’t be getting in another snack/meal until the dining hall opened. This was such an amateur trick – instead of expanding your stomach, eat in moderate portions but eat whenever you’re hungry. This means that you’re going to have to keep healthy snacks at hand so even if the dining hall isn’t open, you’ll still have access to food. My favorites are apples, plums, bananas from the dining hall (just pick them up as you leave) or KIND bars and granola that I buy at Costco before coming to school.


Be picky //  I know when we were young, our parents told us to NOT be picky eaters, but here I am telling you to be. I mean picky in a sense of picking when to have your indulgences. Life is too short and precious to not eat those processed and fatty indulgences – so “schedule” when you’re going to have your indulgences and have them then and only then.

In a similar fashion, everyday at the dining hall, be picky about what choices you are making. That chicken breast look funny? Then don’t get it. The potatoes looking too oily? Don’t get it. We all know what’s good and bad for us, it’s just the matter of carrying out our inner-thoughts.


File_000 (6).jpeg

Find a buddy // Everything is better with a friend….

This is so so true. Bring a buddy with you to the gym on campus or find a class nearby. Maybe it’s my Type-A personality, but whenever I have someone working out to me, I push myself to be better – to be better than them. But best of all, having a buddy helps to keep you accountable. Not only for working out, but eating habits. Serena is definitely my eating “mom” – she’s always with me for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and tells me whether I can or cannot get a bowl of yogurt (#yogurtlover).

img source

MOVE // Just move!!! There’s something about endorphins and breaking a sweat that makes you feel so productive and energized. My personal favorite is running – I love going on runs after a long day of classes as a stress reliever. I know that not everybody loves running, so just do whatever makes you happy and active. Walk, dance, do yoga, play tennis, just anything that makes your heart pump.


Don’t be obsessive – life is too short // While all these tips are great to keep those 15 pounds off, don’t make these tips restrict you from having late night pizza or dessert with friends! Remember, everything in moderation!


What are your tips for keeping your weight in check?



Tips and Tricks for College Dining Halls

Tips and Tricks for College Dining Halls

One to the most defining factors of boarding school is eating at school. Home cooked meals become a rare commodity, a serious treasure. Me and my fellow boarding school friends have the “honor” of being able to experience college-style dining halls four years EARLIER than most. Whether you’re a boarding school student like me or college student, I hope these tips and tricks will help you be smart and eat healthy in the dining halls! Remember, nothing can get in the way of eating healthy!

Instead of putting these in cups, use Tupperware/Ziplocs! It’s a lot easier!

TRICK #1: Tupperwares and ziploc bags are your saviors.

One of the cons about dining halls is that they only open on certain hours. But, I’m sure a lot of you can relate, I need to snack and my hungry times don’t match up with the dining hall operating hours! 

These are where tupperwares/ziploc bags come in the save the day. Bring a tupperware and a pack of ziplocs from home. I use my tupperware to put yogurt from the yogurt bar. This is especially helpful on Sunday mornings (where no breakfast is served but brunch at 11) when I can have yogurt to hold me over until brunch.

I use my ziplock bags to hold another breakfast item. During breaks or whenever I go back home, I put nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) plus my favorite granola (Love Crunch Granola) into small ziplock baggies. These daily servings are convenient because the granola in the dining halls are okay, but sugar laden, and they never have my favorite nuts. Also, these daily servings of nuts/granola is helpful or else I would be eating too many!

I personally don’t do this, but I know several friends do, which is packing dry cereal in ziploc bags. If you’re a cereal lover, than why not do this instead of spending money on cereal?


TRICK #2: Stock up on apples/bananas

Or this really goes with any food that are easily portable. Pretty much everyone I know always leaves breakfast with a banana in their hand. Why? Because they know they are going to get hungry mid-way through the day and a banana is a perfect mid-day pick me up snack.

TIP #1: Do what you would do at home

 I think the main reason why it’s so easy to gain weight is because of the plethora of food but no one to stop you from it. At home, you had your parents to stop you or not allow you to have dessert every day for lunch and dinner. So why not do that at school too?


TIP #2: Go with the water

Going along with the above tip, you wouldn’t drink soft drinks or juices every day right? As tempting it is to have soft drinks, just go with the water. Your body will thank you (and me) later.

Doesn’t it look as appetizing as ice cream?

TIP #3: Healthy substitutes

I know, I know, you have a sweet tooth. So instead of suppressing or restricting that, get in the know of some healthy substitutes. Such as yogurt and granola instead of ice cream. 

This is an actual picture of my breakfast everyday. I know, ice cream for breakfast? Lucky me…

TIP #4: Use your creativity hat

Realize that you don’t have to resort to just standing line in the hot bar to get your food. I usually get most of my food at other places in the dining hall (sandwich bar, salad bar, omelette bar) while only a small portion of my plate is from the hot bar. 

For example, I don’t like omelettes (egg in the morning don’t work for me), but I use the omelette bar to make sautéed spinach.

Who says I have to make an omelette at the omelette bar?

Also, I know for people who live by protein shakes : use chocolate milk: great recovery drink!!!

Do you have any tips and tricks to share from your college dining hall experience?