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You’re starting college in a few weeks when you hear a phrase as unfamiliar, as it is horrifying, “The Freshman 15.”

The ill-fated 10-15 pounds that most first-year college students pack on during their initial year on campus.

So, what is the cause of this magical weight gain?

Well, for the first time we’re away from home and challenged by the task of incorporating a healthy diet and exercise while balancing course work and a hectic schedule. Not to mention, fast food restaurants are EVERYWHERE, the additional stress, increased alcohol consumption, and the calorie rich cafeteria food tastes pretty good — usually.

So what can we do to avoid adding a pot belly and love handles to our svelte physique? Here are 5 easy tips for dodging the Freshman 15:

5 Steps To Dodging The Freshman 15! was originally published on ipowerrichmond.com

1. Always eat breakfast.

Always eat breakfast.

It’s the most important meal of the day. Breakfast jumpstarts the body and brain. By “breaking the fast” we are providing our bodies with the energy needed to ignite our metabolism and restore our glucose levels, the essential carbohydrate required for the normal functioning of the brain and red blood cells. (Photo by Getty Images)

2. Stay active!

Stay active!

Most college campuses are equipped with student gyms or athletic centers. Consider taking a group fitness class or jumping on the treadmill. The point is to get moving and start burning those calories. (Photo by Getty Images)

3. Watch what you’re eating.

Watch what you’re eating.

“You are what you eat.” Be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Everything thing that tastes good is not good for you. Eating a balanced diet is essential for immediate and long-term health. (Photo by Getty Images)

4. Don’t eat after hours.

Don’t eat after hours.

Pulling all-nighters or staying up late is a collegiate rite of passive. However, while working into the wee hours of the morning the worst thing you can do is eat. When eating after hours (when your body should be resting) your metabolism is much slower, so your body processes the food differently making it easier to gain weight. (Photo by Getty Images)

5. Prepare healthy snacks!

Prepare healthy snacks!

When on the go or between classes it is easy to settle for fast food or candy. Instead keep healthy alternatives like nuts, carrots, fruit, or string cheese on standby. (Photo by Getty Images)

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