Top 5 Ways to Pack on the Freshman 15


In honor of Back to School time, The Globe and Mail recently ran a helpful, common sense article about staving off the dreaded Freshman 15. 

For those that don't know -- although I'm sure most pop culture savvy Sheridan and UTM students are fully aware -- the Freshman 15 is the notorious weight gain some new college and university students wrestle with when they swap their mother's chicken breast and roasted potato dinners for litres of beer and pounds of chicken wings (not that there's anything wrong with beer and chicken wings). 

But while The Globe's Rachel Gardner helpfully warns students to stay away from candy and encourages them to take the stairs, we thought we'd take a different approach. 

See, when I entered university back in 2003 (before Facebook, sleek silver Macbook Pros and iPhones), I slowly but surely watched in puzzled alarm as my clothes appeared to get smaller and smaller.  I blamed my mother's washing machine for shrinking them and blamed cameras for lying about my expanding girth (the camera adds 105 pounds!). In time, however, I realized my dysfunctional eating habits were to blame. 

But if you want to follow in my footsteps, here are five surefire ways to go up a size or two: 

5) Start Hating Fruits and Vegetables

Up until five (maybe six) years ago, I hated 99 per cent of vegetables. My diet consisted of bread, cheese, cheesy breads and pasta with chunk-free sauce. No roughage for me! Somewhere out there on the interwebs, there's an awesome photo of an irate Cookie Monster looking at a plate of veggies screaming "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SHIT?"  

Ah! Here it is: (

That was me. 

Every other day, I went to York University's restaurant/pub The Underground and got a bacon turkey wrap with no lettuce or tomato. When I would grab breakfast, I'd always go for the bagel instead of the yogurt. Oatmeal? Not for this sedentary couch potato! 

And always, ALWAYS choose pop over water (and not diet pop either, the full-sugar stuff). 

If you load up on high-calorie foods during every meal (note the "every") on campus, you'll be well on your way to upping your pants size! 

4) Start Hating Exercise

To be fair, I still don't like exercise. I'm not particularly good at it. I always came in dead last in track and field races, I never made the high jump, and serving in volleyball pulverized my tender, girlish flesh. I was a pariah in gym class. I once tried jogging and a stranger told me I was running like Forrest Gump.  He gleefully yelled it out of his car window like it was the funniest thing ever. 

So I began to hate physical activity even more in university. My daily movements were as follows: 


Hours of sitting atrophied my already limp and useless muscles, and I would huff and puff and wheeze and cramp up while ascending the stairs in the campus parking garage.  I would get calf cramps and foot aches while walking from one class to another (the classes were far, but c'mon). 

My criminal lack of activity gave me a sweet muffin top, though! I tried to pretend it was an optical illusion, but it was the real deal! So, if you want one, stay seated indefinitely. 

I do yoga now, by the way, in case anyone is worried that I'm growing roots to my desk chair.

3) Start Hating Breakfast 

Studies have shown that breakfast enthusiasts have an easier time managing their weight. Anecdotally speaking, forcing myself to eat breakfast regularly did banish much of my hard-earned freshman 15 -- so if you want those 15 pounds on your body, never eat breakfast again. 

In college/university, skipping breakfast is super easy. It means 20-30 more minutes of sleeping, and if you train your body to forego it, the thought of early-morning toast will make you queasy. If you skip breakfast indefinitely, you're almost sure to overeat at lunch or dinner. And speaking of meals, read on:

2) Begin to hate normal meal times, period. 

Some people find weight management less daunting when they get their body on a schedule, so be sure to have the most wildly unpredictable eating regimen ever. 

The best thing to do is wait until you're horribly, ravenously starving and then satiate your wild hunger with a Wendy's bacon cheeseburger, fries and a large apple cinnamon Yogen Fruz frozen yogurt. Be sure to get a chocolate chip muffin and large French vanilla cappuccino from Tim Hortons a few hours later. 

If you're like me, you won't be hungry in the morning or early afternoon, so you'll be extra shocked when you're suddenly about-to-vomit hungry in the early evening and you'll be sure to overindulge in high-calorie comfort foods to keep from keeling over from self-induced deprivation.

1) Love Late Night Second Dinners 

Note that I said late night second meals, not snacks. While it seems most recent research shows the time food is consumed has little to do with weight gain (so there's no probably no need to fret over a week of later than usual dinners), excess calories are often the culprit in creeping poundage. 

So, if you want to add that Freshman 15 a little faster, be sure to do the following: 

1) After a night of drinking Kahlua Mudslides, be sure to hit the nearest McD's for a 2 a.m. Royale with Cheese meal. It doesn't matter that you ate a full dinner six hours earlier. You are drunk and craving second supper, just like an adorable Hobbit.

2) Treat yourself to a Starbucks Grande Caramel Frappuccino at least four nights a week.

3) If you've already eaten dinner but feel like a snack during a bizarre Strangers with Candy marathon (a cancelled Comedy Central gem that stars a pre-Colbert Report Stephen Colbert, check it out), buy a bag of Miss Vickie's jalapeno chips and eat the entire thing. 

Your university and college years are fleeting (depressingly so). Before you know it, you'll be too tired from your 9-to-5 to chase dinner with hamburgers and tequila (which is a good thing, I suppose). Or you'll simply be more self-conscious about doing so. 

So pack those pounds on now (or don't, if you're disciplined and/or lucky)! There's no time like the present.

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