Currently slouched in my dorm’s wannabe rocking chair, I see the remnants of a KitKat bar and a bag of chips quickly inhaled, a bowl of fruit abandoned behind my laptop’s screen, because let’s be honest, I don’t eat like a normal human being during Frosh Week. This is essentially the essence of what every girl, or boy, fears when entering into university. Even with the mere word, “freshman”, a certain number slyly creeps next to it, waiting on the tip of your tongue. “Fifteen, fifteen, fifteen.” As soon as I utter these two words, “Freshman Fifteen,” the eyes of the adolescent girls nearby light up with sheer horror as if I had mentioned that Canada had just started the Third World War against North Korea, and the Mounties are going on horseback.
See, us girls do not take these apparently inevitable extra pounds lightly. In fact, it’s somewhat of a pact to try and avoid it. Plastered across some of the athletic clubs posters in the booths during Mac Clubsfest was one of their most powerful incentives: “Avoid the Freshman Fifteen!” Just down my hall, one of my friends has devoted herself entirely to rowing, a sport she hasn’t ever dappled in yet alone considered until she saw those words, her savior, her free ticket out, to avoid the terror of gaining fifteen extra pounds.
Others, maybe including myself, maybe not, have adopted a sort of “yolo” or should I say, “yofo”, attitude about it all. The rows upon aisles of not exactly the healthiest options conveniently placed by the cashiers are a source of my quick surrender into its salty goodness. Clever move, centro, clever move.
But can I be real with you for a second?
The Freshman Fifteen, my fellow first year students, is a myth. Now you may have heard this before, and brushed it aside in favour of the adrenaline you can savour amongst girls anxiously talking about it, the tales passed on from mothers and sisters and cousins alike, but it is imperative to know that honestly, you can escape it pretty swiftly because the Freshman Fifteen is in fact the Freshman Five.
There. Breathe. Put down those running shoes for the third workout of the day. Finish that bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Pat your wheezing friend on the back. We’re not joining the army, folks. We are not actually in a metaphorical war with our raging hormones and metabolisms in the face of our freshman year. We’re simply exploring the next stage of our lives where every meal hasn’t been planned by mummy hours before you got home from school.
And how do I know this is so? Science, yo. Studies galore. If you even type freshman fifteen into the all-knowing mother of technology known as Google, you will find “myth” and “exaggeration” alongside those menacing words.
Despite its apparent exaggerations however, I took it upon myself to scour the internet for some perfectly reasonable and valid tips to avoid the said Freshman Five all together. And no, it’s not going to be as mind-numbingly simple as saying, “Well, just eat a salad,” because hey, genius, sometimes I’m going to want a burger and you can glare at me all you want, but just because we’re in university doesn’t mean I’m going to adopt the diet of a bunny rabbit to keep off extra weight (as admittedly cute as bunnies are).
1. One of my newfound buddies had invested in me some wisdom she had heard from one of the wise, wandering upper years. Start your routine as soon as possible and stick to it for two weeks without faltering. Now I admit, I haven’t started this either. But hey, we’ll see eachother at the gym tomorrow, or gracefully gliding through Cootes Paradise like the gazelles we really are. As soon as it’s in your routine, you will – gasp – crave exercise.
2. Hey you! Don’t leave to class without a breakfast! And a breakfast doesn’t count as a medium coffee from centro. Your metabolism is most likely a lazy fellow, and he’s going to stay in his peaceful, little slumber until you kick start him with some nutrients. Think fruit plates from the salad bar, granola bars at the very least, or even whole grain waffles you can slip into the microwave in your commons room before class, topped with decadent greek yogurt.
3. The goal is to make your meals look like a rainbow, and no, that doesn’t mean a pizza with black olives and brown mushrooms. That’s a kind of an evil looking rainbow anyway. Who would want to see that streak through the sky? Now that we’re on the mindset of pleasing your metaphorical audience with a meal rainbow, let’s choose something with veggies of all colours, protein in the form of chicken or ham, and some calcium.
4. Get some buds and join something. Anything. It can be as specific as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (who knew?) or Beginner Yoga. Something along the lines of Zumba seems to be quite the craze lately. Do I know what it is exactly? No. Can I tell you now? Yes. It’s “an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party.” Okay, you had me at dance-fitness party.
To get down to the gritty, the freshman fifteen really is just psychological. The campus is not forcing food down your throat, nor is the gym glaring at you every time you walk by it. And hey, bikini season’s over, am I right? It’s sexy winter parka time. Ooh la la!