Being a freshman in college is scary, especially when you add dorming to the equation. I mean, freedom is cool and all, but now you have to do your own laundry, buy your own books, and wake yourself up in the morning. The scariest part? Deciding what to eat. Even scarier? Figuring out how to reverse the Freshman 15.

If you grew up in a household like mine, you most likely weren't the one food shopping or cooking meals (shout out to my mom for being the real MVP), and you probably don't have much experience disciplining your eating habits either. Basically, whatever was in the fridge is what you were gonna eat. Once you get to college, the cafeteria is your oyster. You can have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or maybe you'd rather stay in your dorm all day eating and watching Netflix. No one's stopping you to do either of these things. (You might freak out your roommate, but that's about it.) I've been through it, and now I'm here to say how I was able to reverse the Freshman 15. 

My Journey 

Before I got to college, I basically ate whatever I wanted and my weight never fluctuated. I never really worried about what I was eating and I had thought it was impossible for me to gain weight. By the end of my freshman year, I had gone from 130 pounds to 142 pounds. I realized when summer came around and the shorts I had for 2 years were starting to feel snug, that I had gained the Freshman 15. I was shocked, confused, and had no idea what I had done differently since starting college that made me gain weight.

Yet, going into my junior year I had managed to get back down to 135, but once I got back in the fall, I'd reach my heaviest weight of 146 pounds. This was really a wake-up call for me. I was very unhappy knowing that I had no control over my body and I knew something had to give. 

Now, this isn't to say that gaining weight is necessarily a bad thing. Some people want to gain weight, while others don't mind it, which is completely up to them. Personally, I think the loss of control is what bothered me the most. With that being said, the Freshman 15 is not something to be afraid of. We're young, so we can always make changes to our lifestyle and achieve the goals we set for ourselves. But if you're struggling with the means to achieve these goals, that's where I come in to help. 

I made changes to my lifestyle that have helped me bring me back to my original weight. The best part is I didn't have to wait until the summer or cut anything out of my life. I figured out how to reverse the Freshman 15 in a span of 6 months while still going to school. 

Spoon tip: I'd like to emphasize that by no means am I a fitness expert or a dietician, and this information is not sacred. You can test your own theories and plan whatever strategy feels best for you.

1. Diet. 

avocado, brunch, avocado toast, fries, sandwich, overhead, Meal, vegetable, salad, tomato, sauce, meat, pasta, lunch
Denise Uy

By diet, I don't mean go out and try the latest celebrity diet or any diet for that matter. Yes, changes to your overall diet need to be made, but that doesn't mean you need to cut anything out. The key is portion control and a tiny bit of self-discipline. Here's what helped me instill subtle self-discipline into my diet. 

Eat ice cream every so often, but maybe not for breakfast. Begin meals with a small salad before you eat what you're craving. Have chips or snacks after you've filled up on your sandwich. This way you're pretty full off the good stuff and don't feel like you're restricting yourself. Replace fried chicken with grilled chicken every once in a while. Instead of a bowl of pasta, get a smaller portion. Ask for whole wheat bread instead of white bread (trust me, it tastes the same). You can still order Starbucks, but don't make that your go-to beverage, or just don't get the extra stuff with your coffee. Carry around a reusable water bottle which will not only help your body but your wallet and the environment as well. It also helps to carry little snacks around in your bag such as nuts, pretzels, or granola bars so you're less likely to make decisions driven by hunger. Eat something small whenever you feel hungry because the hungrier you get the harder it is to make healthier choices. 

2. Partying and late-night eating. 

beer, alcohol
Alex Frank

I think the biggest contributor to college weight gain is partying and late night eating. After a night of drinking jungle juice (which is mainly comprised of fruit punch, aka liquid sugar), most people return to their dorms late at night with fast food, order delivery, or if your campus has late-night dining, grab food there. Think of this as a double negative, both have a negative impact on your health and, since you most likely weren't doing this at home, can easily cause rapid weight gain. The best solution I can offer here is to plan your outings and control your environment. Try not to drink the juice every night that week or find different, less sugary alternatives. Here are some low-calorie cocktail ideas for you to order or try making, as long as you're 21 of course.  Bring just enough money you need to go out and get home so you're not tempted to buy food.

Even without going out, college students are usually up late doing homework or hanging out with friends. This can lead you to eat more than you normally would because instead of sleeping, you're awake and conscious about feeling hungry in the middle of the night. Try to regulate your sleep schedule as much as you can with better time management. And if you must snack, keep your dorm stocked with healthier snacks and save the treats for when you're out and they're less easily accessible. If you plan accordingly, you can still have a good time while maintaining your goals. 

3. Transportation.

Aesthetic, Urban, Sephora, Symmetry, trees, vintage, retro, cloudy, Sunny, Summer, 35mm, 35mm film, architecture, buildings, Vancouver, Howe Street, downtown, road, cars, intersection, street, Canada, British Columbia
Melissa Ho

College campuses can seem vast when you think about how much walking you're going to be doing to, from, and in between classes. Who wants to walk 20 minutes to class every day when you can just take a bus and be there in 5? You do, especially if the majority of your day is spent sitting in 1-3 hour lectures. Walking is one way to be active without feeling like you're actually trying to be active. You can also try riding your bike if you have one on campus. I know sometimes you're tired and don't want to wake up 20 minutes early to walk to class, but don't make it a habit. Save the bus for when it's really cold, really hot, or bad weather. Of course, some college campuses are actually vast with a few thousand acres and in that case, the bus is really the best option. I recommend you invest in a good pair of headphones and download some music and you'll probably wish the trip was even longer. Here are some more suggestions on how to exercise on campus without going to the gym.

4. Exercise. 

grass, exercise, Friends, squats, two girls, workout, outside, outdoors, working out
Julia Gilman

Even if you're doing all of the tips listed above but aren't really seeing results, chances are you need to add an exercise regimen to the mix. I know, exercise can be daunting, especially if you've never really been one to go to the gym. Well, neither was I until a few months ago. At first, I felt embarrassed, like everyone knew I was there to lose weight and could tell I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't even know where to begin. As intimidating as it seems, you don't need to be a fitness guru to benefit from the gym. Try these 11 easy and effective exercises that are perfect for beginners. Simple workouts can be the most effective, with a focus on cardio as they get your heart rate up. It helps to bring a buddy too for more support and fun. If you need some inspiration for your workouts, there are a lot of fun and easy exercises you can find online or on Instagram.

If you hate running like me, you can still use the Stair Master.  I usually go between 3-4 times a week and do cardio for 20-30 minutes. Often times when I'm really not in the mood I just go for a few minutes to reinforce the habit. There's a lot of fun classes like cycling, Zumba, and boxing that get your body moving. The trick is to be comfortable with what you're doing and to not force a drastic change in your lifestyle too fast.

5. A Mini-Fridge is a Must. 

tea, coffee, beer, strawberry, yogurt, berries, berry, strawberries, Fruit, fruits, fridge, mini fridge, water, green tea, orange juice, milk, midnight snack, Hungry, snack
Denise Uy

My mini-fridge was my best friend in college. You might not be sure whether or not you need one, but I would highly recommend it. I used mine the most when I would visit home for the weekend and my mom would send me back with a bunch of home-cooked food or fruits and vegetables. I also used to freeze some food so that when I ran out of the fresh stuff I could defrost the rest. This really helped when I didn't feel like eating what was on campus or when I wanted a healthier option. A good fridge is no more than $200 so it's worth the investment even if it's just for leftovers and water bottles. I had the Fridgidaire 3.1 cubic ft fridge and it was great because it was easy to clean and had plenty of room. If you're up for the task, you can even go food shopping on the weekends and get food to cook for yourself. The communal kitchens were always full of people cooking anything from eggs to full-blown feasts like chicken stir fry. 


Losing weight was really intimidating for me, but it was way easier than I thought it would be. It may have happened faster if I were to try a different, more extreme diet plan, but I wanted a long-term solution. Tiny changes to your overall diet will make the biggest impact without making you feel like you're punishing yourself. You don't have to wait until summer or winter break, you don't need to drink skinny tea or eat salad all the time and you don't need to run every day. It can be hard to make smart choices when surrounded by convenient bad ones or being on the go all the time, but small changes in your lifestyle will feel the most natural and will trick your brain into thinking nothing has changed. 

It didn't take me 3 years to lose 16 pounds, it just took me 3 years to know and care enough how to. After being my heaviest weight in December, I was back to my original weight by June and have since fallen in love with exercising and bettering my health without feeling like I was denying myself. I still eat cheeseburgers, candy, fries, chips, chocolate, and all the good stuff. I'm confident that if you follow these tips you too will figure out how to reverse the freshman 15 while maintaining your regular lifestyle.