Photo by Luke Nankivell, photo editor
The freshman 15. Entering first-year students can hardly go a day without hearing it mentioned by their family, friends and the media. The freedom to eat whatever, whenever soon engulfs a first-year’s life and, after a month or two, they gain weight.
First-year student Jason Rohloff came to Drake with plenty of forewarning.
“Oh yeah, definitely, it’s something you always hear about and really kind of worry about. It’s something you really don’t want to gain at all,” Rohloff said.
While it is indeed a threat, there are ways to combat it. For instance, in Hubbell Dining Hall there is the “A Better Tomorrow for Your Health” plate. This plate contains 600 calories or less, 10 percent or less of saturated fat and three or more grams of fiber. It is a simple tool that helps students stay healthy.
Karen Buchholz, the campus dietician, insists that it is much easier for students to maintain their present weight than it is to lose it. She advocates smart consumption and an active lifestyle.
“Moving more will actually increase your metabolism. One technique is to purchase a pedometer to track how many steps you take in a day and then set a goal of 10,000 steps,” Buchholz said. “Most people know what they should be eating for good health. The trick is doing it. Make gradual changes.”
Many students skip meals, especially breakfast, which Buchholz discourages.
“Skipping meals usually results in overeating at the next meal either because of hunger or because you rationalize that you can eat more because you skipped a meal,” she said. “It is better to eat every three to five hours to keep your body fueled.”
It may be a surprise to some, but eating smart does not require stripping desserts entirely from one’s diet. Buchholz says the key is moderation — skip a day or two, and splitting with a friend is another viable alternative.
As for staying active, the Bell Center is the place to go. Whether playing basketball, using an elliptical, taking a group exercise class or hitting the racquetball courts, there are plenty of ways to stay in shape. Intramurals also provide students an opportunity to compete while still getting their sweat going. The Underground Fitness at the Olmsted Center also provides students with a variety of fitness equipment, at a more centralized location on campus.
Assistant Wellness Director Johanna Determann explains the advantages of staying active.
“If you can find something you can do, just to kind of keep your body active, that’s going to help you in so many other aspects of your life,” Determann said.
Determann also added, “…if you’re going to study down at Mars Café and you have a car, there’s never a reason to drive there. You should always be walking if you feel like you can…”
While there is the general fear of the freshman fifteen, Drake is up to the challenge. Last year, Drake was selected as the healthiest university in Iowa by the Academy for a Healthy Iowa for excellence in providing opportunities for the improvement of student health.
If students find themselves putting on the pounds, Drake’s past record should ease their worry, as Determann elaborates.
“We’ve kind of proven that we have a culture of wellness on campus and that we partner with a lot of different people to achieve that,” Determann said.