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How to gain the freshman 15

Of all the new experiences and surprises of freshman year, I was (and still am) most shocked by the availability of food on Stanford’s campus. Somehow, I managed to gain five pounds within two weeks of arriving at Stanford. Impressive, right? Here are some sneaky habits and hacks that led me to this incredible feat:

Buy zero snacks from Munger Market, Trader Joe’s, etc. 

Since you are now “snackless,” when you feel the slightest bit of hunger, use a meal swipe at the nearest dining hall, preferably the dining hall closest to your dorm (don’t walk/bike anywhere farther than 0.3 miles to grab food). Once you arrive at the dining hall, eat a full meal and always go for seconds. 

On the flip side, buy too many snacks

Since you have food at the tip of your fingertips, why not eat it? Eat only calorie-dense snacks instead of the lighter, healthier whole-food meals offered at the dining halls. Also, don’t forget to ask your roommates if they have extra snacks. 

Grab late-night churros and/or pizookies on the daily

Make it a tradition to go out with your friends to “hotspot” late-night locations including Arrillaga, Lakeside, and TAP. Grab a dessert for yourself  and don’t care to share, unless asked otherwise.

Avoid the gym at all costs

Simple equation: more exercise = more “gainz”; less exercise = less “gainz.” You may already know this, but choose to ignore the equation anyway. 

Load up on Cinnamon Toast Crunch during breakfast

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is perhaps the most unhealthy cereal option available at Stanford –– but it tastes heavenly. Plow through several bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch without thinking otherwise. Consume the sugary squares like a wildfire consumes a forest. 

Don’t eat the fruits you snagged from your dining hall

You pack a few fruits for yourself before exiting your dining hall. Now instead of eating your healthy fruits, place them on your shelves and allow them to rot. 

Start eating chips at 2 a.m.

Shrimp chips, Doritos, stale Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. We get it, you may actually be hungry; maybe you have the munchies; maybe you’re just bored. The reason doesn’t matter, food is available, so eat it!

Snag some food at events you are not a part of

(As I write this article, I am eating a pizza I captured after blending in with a group of grad students near the Earth Science Research Building.) If you find an event with food, go there. Unless you get kicked out, stay there. No questions asked. 

In all seriousness, it’s easy to disregard healthy habits at Stanford, but there are many resources and advice to stay on top of your game here as well (ex: hit the gym regularly, eat less saturated fats and refined sugars, stick to a consistent sleep schedule). Although my advice is sarcastic, I actually did follow these eight suggestions as if they were commandments, both consciously and unconsciously: they became the “Eight Stanford WAYS” I chose to fulfill via the eight Stanford dining halls open to all Stanford students. I hope that, by minimizing the mistakes I made and the advice on this list, you can not only make healthier choices at Stanford in the short-term but also develop fruitful long-term eating habits.

Set small goals that contribute to your well-being throughout the day: if time allows, walk to class; fill up your plate with greens; check in with your mental health every once in a while. Small wins add up, and the more you put them into practice, the more you will find yourself being a healthier, happier version of yourself! Take care, my friends. 

Contact Matthew Mettias at mmettias ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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