Imagine living in one place all of your life. In this place you have a home, a family, friends, activities that you have committed yourself to and possibly even a car. You feel safe in this place and most likely have developed an everyday rut of doing things. Change doesn't happen often in this place and if it does the transition of one thing to the next is uneventful. Well, this is all about to change. You are now going to be uprooted from your place, your home, your family, your friends and your activities, just to be placed in a new environment full of change. Let the old place be called high school and the new place is called college.
Making the transition from high school to college can be scary and hard to get used to. In college, study habits will change, friends will change, the distance from family to school will most likely change and activities will change. One thing that will greatly change will be the way one eats and the amount of exercise one gets. The myth going into college is that you will gain the "freshmen fifteen". The "freshmen fifteen" is in reference to gaining fifteen pounds due to change of diet and exercise habits. Fifteen out of fifteen freshmen girls at the University of LaCrosse have heard of that term before coming to college. The myth must be very well known if fifteen out of fifteen girls from around the state of Wisconsin and Minnesota have heard of the term. Another question asked was if they have gained any of the "freshmen fifteen" while attending the University of LaCrosse: nine out of fifteen said yes. Over fifty percent responded yes, so obviously this is a problem that needs to be solved. This problem exists for many reasons. Developing from causes that have critical consequences, the problem of gaining the freshmen fifteen needs a course of action that will best combat against it. To find the best solution for this problem, an interview with Craig Key, Sheila Clemmins, and a poll of fifteen freshmen girls took place. A conceivable solution to this problem is one that is rather intricate. It involves keeping a record of one's dietary habits and one's exercise regime. Then by setting goals and limits, one would fill in a daily summary of their doings. This isn't the only solution, but it may just be the best. With the information concluded from interviews and polls, this solution was arrived at and will provide a better insight on how a freshmen girl at the University of LaCrosse can keep off the "freshmen fifteen".
Why has the problem of freshmen girls gaining weight their first year of college developed? The change from going to one diet to another is basically is what is the cause of it. In high school students are more active and have much less time to eat. When they do get a snack, it is something small and any calories are burned off rather quickly. Their parents prepare big meals and in most households the food is well balanced and generally healthy. Out of the fifteen freshmen girls polled, seventy three percent of the subjects agreed that their parents cooked better food than offered in the campus dining facilities such as Whitney's, Chars, Blimpies, the Galley and the Cellar. In contrast to this statement, sixty seven percent said that eat better at college than at home. The reasoning given by the subjects is that they eat less at college, so they eat better here. When asked what types of foods eaten, they say things like pizza, hamburgers, French fries and chips. So the foods they are eating are not exactly healthy. They said that the foods at Whitney are not that great and the ones that taste good are high in cholesterol, fat and salt. There has to be a way one can eat healthy at Whitney's. According to Craig Key, the head director of the Whitney Center, Whitney's does not add extra salt, calories or any extra flavorings in its food. He also says that Whitney has to provide for a diverse group of people and it is hard to please everyone. The healthy food they put out usually goes uneaten. If a student has the choice between French fries and a healthy vegetable casserole, the student will undoubtingly choose the fries. When asked what is his personal recommendation when eating at Whitney's he suggests taking small portions and making smart decisions. He quotes, "Here we have like four or five desserts, whereas at home, mom only made one dessert." Self restraint and making smart decisions is the key to eating smart at Whitney's. He states that Whitney's is working with the 500 Club and with registered nutritionist, Ruth LeMeyer. Together they are trying to have nutrition labels on all of the foods and are trying to bring back deli trays and a vegetarian area. When a nation wide inspector came through Whitney's, he said that LaCrosse's dining hall could be put against any other college dining in the USA and come out somewhere on top. Eating healthy on campus is possible, but one has to start with themselves when placing the blame on why they are gaining weight.
Another developing factor that concerns one's diet is having more freedom from parents. Seventy-three of the subjects said that being on one's own lends to eating whenever and whatever. Most of the subjects polled say that yes; they have worse eating habits because no one is there to keep a check on them. By not keeping a check on one's self, one will be more susceptible to gaining weight. When asked if they gained any of the freshmen fifteen, over half of the subjects agreed that they have gained some weight since coming to college. By gaining weight negative feelings towards themselves surfaced. Responses such as "fat", "sluggish", "whale-like", "less motivated", "ugly" and "embarrassed" were feelings felt by the subjects. These feelings are easily replaceable with the addition of eating healthy and regular exercising. All fifteen subjects were open to the idea of eliminating fatty, high cholesterol foods and to the idea of exercising regularly. The subjects that didn't gain of the freshmen fifteen said that good eating habits, self restraint and exercise were key when combating against gaining weight. According to Mrs. Sheila Clemmins, eating healthy and exercising does not have to be a chore. She recommends doing a variety of activities, that spark an interest in one's life. If one finds exercising boring or time consuming, then do something that is of interest and does not take more than an hour. Here is a list of activities she recommends: running in nature with a friend, basketball, volleyball, roller blading, swimming, kick bo, Taebo, bicycling, canoeing, cross country skiing, hiking, racquetball or even just dancing in your room to some good music. Out of the fifteen subjects polled seventy-three percent incorporates exercise into their life. The majority of them exercised two or three days of the week. Activities done by the subjects include: running, aerobics, walking, weightlifting, hiking, intramural sports and biking machines. These activities or the activities Sheila suggested will increase one's cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and will develop a greater interest for exercising. Sheila's best advice is, "Don't concentrate on exercising to lose weight, rather just relax and let yourself have fun. After awhile, you will notice weight loss and a gained confidence." This advice comes from her many years of teaching Physical Education and Health classes, along with the full time job of being a parent of two high school students. As a child she was obese, so she has gained personal experience in this field and knows what it is like to be on the unhealthy side.
Sheila Clemmins talks about doing fun things in order to lose weight, but yet college students seem to find fun activities that do not help them lose weight. Out of the eight subjects who state that they have gained some of the freshmen fifteen, six of those also answered yes to the consumption of alcohol on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. According to ________________, the average college students gains______ pounds from beer. This is when it is consumed on a weekly basis over one year. If one were to stop consuming alcohol, then they would be able to keep off some weight that wouldn't otherwise be there. Feeling fat and bloated are symptoms one experiences after having a rough night of drinking. If a freshmen girl here at the University of LaCrosse really wants to keep off the freshmen fifteen, then the elimination of drinking is crucial.
The cause of gaining the freshmen fifteen is the change of eating habits from high school to college, the freedom gained in college and the increased consumption of alcohol. The consequences is gaining weight and its accompanying effects of having a low self image. Leading a unhealthy life will have long term effects such as heart problems, obesity and high blood pressure. Solving this problem can be done in many ways. One can simply not do anything about it or one can not eat so much or one can exercise all of the time. There is even the unhealthy choice of becoming anorexic and bullemic. All of these solutions are feasible solutions, but there is a better way. The best solution to this problem revolves around self restraint and awareness. This solution is rather intricate, but once one continues on with it, it will seem very easy. To set up this solution, seven steps need to be taken. The first thing to do is to obtain a calendar with enough room to write daily entries on to. The next step involves eating healthy and exercising. Once you start exercsing and eating healthy, indicate on your calender what exercise you have done for the day and how well you have eaten. To monitor and give one's self a mental check on how one is eating, use a scale of one to ten. If one feels that they ate healthy that day, then they would give their self a six, seven, eight, nine or ten. If they feel like they ate poorly, then they would give their self a one, two, three, four or five. Eating healthy entails the elimination of foods like French fries, pizza, hamburgers, ice cream and other fatty foods. This system just makes one think about what they are eating and adjusting their eating habits so that they have a six through ten each day on their calender. The fifth step is setting a weekly goal for one self. An example of a goal would be to do 200 sit ups, to run one half of a mile and to eat three fruits, three vegetables and no desserts for one week. Step six coincides with step five, because it entails increasing one's weekly goals. Finally, one will continue on with this solution until it becomes natural for them to eat healthy and exercise on a daily basis. Though this solution may seem hard or laborious at first, after awhile it will become part of one's daily routine. I personally believe that this solution will work, because this is what I did to solve my problem of gaining weight here at LaCrosse. I believe that losing weight starts in one's mind and continues on from there. One cannot say that they want to eat healthy, but when provided with healthy food, goes for the more fattening food. By admitting to one's self that they need to lose weight and admitting that they do not exercise enough or eat properly, one can begin to see that making the necessary changes will improve their life. Some might say that this solution is not the best way, and that one needs stricter rules and regulations to follow. If this were case, I personally would not stick to that solution. By changing one's perception and mindset about themselves, that person can do what feels right for them and not feel bad if they miss a day or regulation of a stricter solution. According to eighty percent of the subjects surveyed, they felt that this solution would be effective because it would make them more aware of their problem and they would be able to keep a check on things. It would also give them a visual perspective on their accomplishments and it would motivate them to do better each week. This soltuion is meant to be an easy, relaxed solution that makes anyone feel comfortable about losing weight with in their own time frame.
After implementing this solution, weight loss will become more and more evident with each passing day. Confidence and a better self image will be achieved, just by taking responsibility for one's actions. The myth of the "freshmen fifteen" does not have to become a reality. It is a problem among freshmen girls at the University of LaCrosse and has developed from cause that have critical consequences. This problem of gaining an extra fifteen pounds needs a course of action that will best combat it. By implementing the solution stated in the above paragraphs, one will be able to become a healthy, active person. One who will hopefully live a long, happy life and will have all of their dreams come true.