Don’t let the fearsome fifteen slow you down.

A way to beat the Freshman 15 is to take the stairs instead of the elevator, though some buildings like Bibb Graves Hall don’t give you an option.

The dreaded freshman 15 is a nationwide epidemic among college students. With changes in diet, sleep patterns and daily schedules, it is easy to get off track on healthy eating habits. “College is a critical time for people to create good or not good eating habits,” said Sherrie Delinsky, a psychologist and eating disorders expert at McLean Hospital.

College is a time for freedom; you can eat what you want, when you want, and as much as you want. Towers Cafeteria is an all-you-can-eat dining service that offers fries, pizza and ice cream. However, you can make the healthy choice by eating a deli sandwich or a salad from the other side of the cafeteria. Also, the Guillot University Center offers Pizza Hut, Rice Box, A&W, the Sandwich Shop, salads, cereal and yogurt. With all these choices, it is possible to make a healthy decision.

Senior UNA student Jeff Bolger gives freshmen advice on preventing the freshman 15. He suggests working out regularly, refraining from consuming food four hours before sleep and eating 30 minutes after waking up.

Junior UNA student Betsi Boutwell is a Resident Assistant on campus and is accustomed to the stressful situations that college presents. She said, “You have to make wise choices in Towers and in the GUC. Also, getting a trainer from the Student Recreation Center is encouraging. They help if you want to lose weight or just maintain where you are. They also encourage you to keep a food journal to track your progress.

College presents stress, which can cause students to eat more to calm themselves. Also, many students stay up late studying for tests and eating junk food to stay awake. Caloric intake, along with an unhealthy lack of sleep, causes weight gain. Weight gain can also be blamed on a large amount of alcohol intake.

Having a schedule for each day helps students to keep routine eating habits. Also, waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends, regulates the body and the mind. Cramming the night before a test can lead to a lack of sleep, making students less likely to retain information.

Sophomore, Katie McGill, said that stress is a big factor in the freshman 15. She said, “When I get stressed out about a test or about anything in general, I tend to eat more.” Many students follow this pattern. They turn to food for comfort during stressful times.

Some tips for beating the freshman 15 are: find something that relieves stress for you, make time to exercise each day, get at least eight hours of sleep each night, and make healthy decisions on a daily basis. College presents new experiences, but gaining weight does not have to be one of them.