Stomping the Yard

How to Avoid the Freshman 15

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Calling all college students! Our weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives.’s team of experts will show you how to get it done, from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for Stomping the Yard via

When I look back at my pictures from college, one word comes to mind: CHUNKY! Yes, I carried so much extra weight from late–night eating, lack of sleep, water, lack exercise, and “turning up” that it wasn’t long before I was busting at the seams. I had gained the dreaded Freshman 15 (and then some).

Years later, the epidemic continues for college students across the country, which is why I reached out to The Biggest Loser contestant Tanya Winfield to share her tips on how to keep your waistline in check!


Congratulations students, you have made it to college, unpacked your belongings, settled into your dorm, selected your classes, and you’re ready to adapt to your new life. But packing on the pounds is NOT a prerequisite! Adapting to your new life does not require adopting poor habits. Here are some things to keep in mind to avoid the Freshman 15:

Adjust Your Lifestyle:  Adopting to your new lifestyle will be challenging yet rewarding with the proper planning and execution.  You’re there to get an education, but YOU are your #1 priority. So schedule yourself first on your calendar.  Plan your daily workouts and your meal choices with the same dedication and focus as your four-year degree. Be on the lookout for emotional eating. Being away from your family and friends, being in an unfamiliar environment, meeting new people, and college studies has to be pretty tough for anyone to adjust to, so your emotions will be all over the place.  Recognize them, embrace them, cherish them, but don’t feed them!  Ben & Jerry’s is not your friend!

Think Before You Eat: The convenience of ramen noodles and a Snickers bar before class becomes real inconvenient when you wonder why your clothes are tighter. Instead, turn down junk food and focus on the following habits:

Portion Control – The dining hall probably looks like an oasis of decadence, free to eat whatever and whenever you want, but that’s not a license to gorge.  Always practice portion control and eat in moderation. All dining halls have salad bars and other healthy options.

Don’t skip classes or meals – Your body goes into starvation mode when it doesn’t get food after so many hours. Load up on healthier snacks and keep them with you at all time. These include almonds, fruits, celery sticks, string cheese, pretzels sticks… Peanut butter cups do not make the grade!

Work on Your Fitness: This is no longer high school where you have track practice followed by cheerleading practice and every other activity to keep that metabolism high. Instead you should:

1. Work out before class. If your first class doesn’t start until 10, schedule your workout at 8:30.

2. Walk everywhere

3. Find a workout buddy to hold you accountable

4. Join a run club!

Drink Up: Not only does water hydrate, but it also helps to keep you full. Be sure to watch out for those liquid calories found in energy drinks and pops.  Also avoid alcohol consumption; the caloric intake in liquor is extremely high and often times comparable to the caloric intake of binge eating.

Get a Good Night’s Rest: I know it feels great to have the freedom to stay up as long as you want, but seven to eight hours of sleep is extremely important for your overall health. Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-time to help regulate your sleep pattern. Create a peaceful environment: dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool.  Talk to your roommate about noise disturbances and be respectful of your schedules.

Good Luck,


College is where we develop many of the habits that we carry into adulthood. Learning to manage your health now, can keep you from spending your holiday cash on a larger wardrobe!


Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on FacebookYouTube and Twitter.