Students worry about the truth behind the “freshman 15”

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    By Holly Hunt

    The dreaded “freshman 15” claimed victims as new BYU students realized more flab became the unwanted fad.

    Students felt the heavy transition from high school to college in more ways than one.

    Lack of time, convenience food, stress, social activities, availability and late night studying contributed to the weight gain.

    “I did gain some weight freshman year,” said Jamie Taysom, 22, a senior from Littleton, Colo., majoring in nursing and sociology. “I think about 10 pounds.”

    Taysom went from actively playing sports in high school and eating structured meals, to focusing on college classes and eating from vending machines.

    When Taysom saw a picture and did not recognize herself she knew it was time to get back into shape.

    She applied for a membership at 24-Hour Fitness and has gone daily for the past three years.

    “I weigh less and am in better shape now than I was in high school because I pay attention to it and put out the extra effort to stay healthy,” Taysom said.

    Dr. Lorabeth Brown, a BYU associate professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science, said students with a high calorie intake and poor exercise habits are susceptible to the “freshman 15.”

    The buffet-style cafeterias provide an environment in which students want to eat their money”s worth of food.

    In fact, dining plus allots students $10.25 a day for food, yielding a total of $71.75 a week. This large sum allows students to satisfy every craving.

    Also, Brown said that people eat more when they are exposed to a wider variety of food. This is referred to as the cafeteria rats” phenomenon.

    “All I do is play and eat,” said Stephanie Seager, 18, a freshman from Kingwood, Texas, majoring in audiology and speech-language pathology. “I”ve gained like 5 pounds so far. I feel so lazy.”

    Seager felt the effects of an erratic schedule. She said it was easier to eat convenient foods than healthful ones.

    Late-night snacks presented another harmful habit among freshmen.

    Karina Croft, 18, a freshman from Dayton, Minn., majoring in pre-nursing, said she ate late at night to stay awake while she finished her homework.

    Croft quit dancing and jogging since she arrived to college. She attributed this to poor time management.

    “I feel fatter, but I don”t know if that”s in my mind,” Croft said.

    These freshmen experienced the same concerns as those before them.

    BYU graduate Danielle Mathews said she knew athletes and friends that quit eating in order to avoid weight gain.

    “I had a few friends that were anorexic because they were worried about putting on the ”freshman 15,”” Mathews said.

    Neither gluttony nor starvation is the answer for incoming freshmen. Brown said the solution is regular exercise and following the Food Guide Pyramid.

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