OU upperclassmen share tips on avoiding the Freshman 15

The Freshman 15 is many students’ nightmare when they head off to college. On average, students gain about eight pounds after an academic year, typically caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and staying up late, according to an article in USA Today.

But some OU students have found a way to prevent packing on the pounds.

Kyle Dempsey, a junior studying civil engineering, said he avoided gaining weight by taking stairs instead of elevators and exercising at Ping Center.

“I go to Ping three times a week, and walking to all of my classes seems to have worked,” Dempsey said.

For Kaley Edens, a junior studying marketing, college actually brought an opportunity to fight the fat and put the Freshman 15 in reverse. Edens said her family dealt with obesity and that starting at OU was an opportunity to choose a different lifestyle.

“I was extremely determined not to gain the Freshman 15,” Edens said. “My family didn't eat right and didn't understand portion sizes. When I came here I was able to choose what I ate and worked out at Ping, and I have actually lost 15 pounds.”

Ping covers 168,000 square feet and has three floors where students can rock climb, participate in cardio dance and play racquetball and basketball. The center also offers tennis courts and exercise equipment.

But the dining halls present a challenge to some students who are trying to eat healthfully, said Margaret Riedel, a 2012 OU alumna.

“Having an all-you-can-eat buffet available at every meal was an issue for me,” Riedel said. “I didn't really practice much self-control. I also stayed up late most nights and often ate a ‘fourth meal’ from DP Dough or Big Mamma’s.”

The buffet-style meals also let students forget how much food they’ve consumed, Riedel said.

"Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to eat it,” she said. “Pay attention to how much you're putting on your plate. …The cost of Ping is already included in tuition and fees — use it.”

Like Riedel, Edens said that as long as students exercise and eat in moderation that the “Freshman 15” isn’t something to be too concerned about.

“Freshmen can enjoy the college experience, but they need to know what their limit is and keep a goal in mind. They no longer have their parents to guide them,” Edens said.


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