The Freshman Fifteen

My son has a plan to avoid the freshman fifteen, linked closely with his living arrangement.

His dorm room is on the sixth floor – his resolution is to never take the elevator until it is time to move out. In supporting this initiative, I walked up and down more than a few flights of stairs on move-in day.

A recent article talks about other things that can be done about the freshman fifteen, after reporting that it really is more like 3 pounds for the average student. They are probably all a little more active … most campus living requires more walking than high school life, when there is easier access to the car. And – at least here in the burbs – there isn’t much that is walkable.

My son’s school is in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago … oh the things that are walkable … Makes me just a little jealous.

His ‘all stairs, all the time’ plan has merit, but he needs to work on his meal planning too. Yesterday I learned of his seven jelly bean lunch program. And he swears he doesn’t get hungry. As recently as last May, I was making sure that he went off to school with a sandwich, chips, piece of fruit and – generally – some baked goodies like cookies or brownies. Now its seven jelly beans….

I’m glad he is thinking about it. I’m glad he’s aware that being more mobile will be good for calories and for his body in general.  I hear what his stair total was for the day yesterday at around noon and it was pretty impressive.

As parents, all you can do is try to install habits and meal expectations that can survive college. I don’t think he’ll ever be a huge fast food fan, but it was referred to as ‘slime food’ when he was a kid. Not that we didn’t occasionally slime out, but that his tastes grew to prefer other options for food.

It will be interesting. I get him back at Thanksgiving and thanks to the quarter system, he won’t go back until early January. I don’t think I’ll convert to the jelly bean lunch … and hopefully he’ll be happy to see a sandwich!


Categories: General


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