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What Really Causes the Freshman Five?

What Causes the Freshman FiveAh, college. It’s a time for learning and growth, experiencing new things, and meeting amazing new people. But, it’s also a time during which many students end up gaining too much weight.

Have you heard of the term “freshman five”? It is in reference to the 5 kilograms that students typically put on during their first year in college. How many pounds does 5 kilograms equal? The answer is 11 pounds, but people actually refer to the freshman five as the “freshman 15” when referring to pounds.

Now that we’ve gotten the definition out of the way, let’s cover what actually causes the freshman five in the first place, shall we?

Eating Unhealthy Foods

When kids go off to college, their diets might take a turn for the worse. Moving out their parents’ house means they don’t always have access to fresh, home-cooked, healthy meals. Students may not know how to cook, they might not be motivated to try, or they might just be too tired or lazy. So, they end up turning to unhealthy food from the cafeteria and fast food, and they go to restaurants with their friends in between classes.

Too Much Stress

Everyone knows that, even though college can be a lot of fun, it can also cause a lot of stress. That not only leads to stress eating in some students, but also to an increase in the release of a stress hormone known as cortisol. That hormone makes you crave fat, salt, and sugar, causing you to eat even more unhealthy meals than usual—and that ultimately leads to the freshman five.

Not Enough Physical Activity

Being in college requires long hours of sitting in a classroom and at a desk doing homework and research. Gym class isn’t always required, and students tend to have fun by doing things like playing video games or going to parties. That sedentary lifestyle ends up leading to weight gain.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

You already know that drinking too much alcohol has the potential to cause weight gain, so it should come as no surprise that college students who drink a lot at parties end up gaining weight. According to Study International, a bottle of beer has roughly 150 calories, so students who drink often, and especially those who binge drink, are more likely to put on the extra pounds by the time their freshman year is over.

Having an understanding of the reasons for the freshman five is the first step is avoiding weight gain during your first year of college. Eat right, stay active, and drink less to stay healthy and lean.

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