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Fight The Freshman 15 Follow these steps to avoid gaining extra pounds and added stress during your

Although the first semester is four months long, many students’ health takes a nosedive. Loaded plates from the cafe buffet, late nights spent studying or partying, and a lack of exercise make up the recipe for the dreaded “Freshman 15.”

A lower immune system, causing colds and more serious illnesses are also common factors.

Kandace Murray, a certified fitness professional and founder of Estee Elle A Companies, has more than 15 years of health, fitness, and dance experience. Here is her knockout advice for helping  incoming freshmen avoid unwanted stress and weight gain.

Round 1: Choose the Right Food

Avoid Fast Food – If you must, choose foods that are baked, rather than fried and control your portion sizes. When choosing a salad, make sure to use only 1- 2 tablespoons of dressing in order to keep the fat and calorie content low.

Snack Smart While Studying-

Eating while studying or writing those late night papers can lead to mindless eating which leads to weight gain over time. Also, calories consumed late at night are not used as those consumed earlier.

Choose Healthy Portable Snacks -Make choices such as fruit, a granola bar, trail mix, or a small sandwich when you’re on the go. Pay attention to the sugar content and protein of these snacks. Make sure the sugar content is low and the protein is high.

Round 2: Stay Active

Make Exercise Apart of your Regular Routine – Find time between classes to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise four times per week. Get your heart pumping! Not only will you feel healthier physically, but there are numerous mental health benefits that can help you excel in school.

Sleep Often – Scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain.

TKO: Bring it all together

According to the Center for Disease Control ,other factors that are important for staying healthy in college are:

Maintaining stress – College can cause major stress on students. It is important that you reach out to someone – a friend, family, or school counselor – if you need help.

Visiting the doctor – Living in a dorm with more than 100 people is breeding grounds for germs. Make sure to take daily vitamins and visit the doctor if you are feeling sick for an extended period of time.

Keeping your good friends close-The friendships you make in college can last a lifetime or one minute. Surround yourself with people that are not only here for the same reasons you are, but will help you reach those goals and not tear you down. If you are in any relationship, whether romantic or platonic, ensure that the person is supporting you and is never violent or abusive.

In college you have freedom over your mind and body. It is important that you take make sure to make good choices that will not negatively affect you in the future.

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