Poliquin Lifestyle > Eating Tips Articles

The Freshman 15 and What to Do About It

The first year in college does not have to be an introduction to obesity

by Charles Poliquin
9/3/2009 9:31:48 PM

Every year around American Thanksgiving, I get the same question from college coaches, which goes something like this: “How come female students gain 15 pounds in the first 4 months of college life?” And the next question I get goes something like this: “My daughter is home for 3 weeks for the holidays, is there a quick fix to get her back in decent shape?”

When I was in college a few decades ago, varsity male athletes would call it the skirt/sweatpants flip over. It referred to the fact that female students would wear their best attire the first week of school, which at that time was often a leather skirt, but by Christmas exams, they all dressed like they had raided the clothing warehouse of the football team’s offensive line.

Why the Freshman 15?
It is caused by many factors:

Radical changes in dietary habits
Students, because they are too lazy/busy or because of dorm life, start reducing their meat consumption and switching to what I call the 7/11 diet- meaning that they eat what they can find at a convenience store. When they were in high school they had meat and veggies at Mom’s and Dad’s for dinner, now they have microwaved noodles and ice cream.

Beer and pizza are the staples of many students’ Friday and Saturday evening dinners, and in some cases is the dinner of choice more than two nights a week.

Carbohydrate self-medication
College life can be stressful. As cortisol levels go through the roof, the body tries to deal with it by using insulin to bring the cortisol down, so the student reaches for carbohydrates to raise insulin. So if you were to do the Biosignature profile of students in September vs. December, you would see dramatic increases in the supra-illiac and sub scapular skin folds (insulin mismanagement), mid-axillary skin fold (ramping down of thyroid due to elevated cortisol), and umbilical skin fold (elevated cortisol).

Many students enter bouts of depression when leaving home, family, and friends. In order to raise their serotonin levels to feel happy, they reach for more carbohydrates.  Depression is associated with lower androgen and thyroid levels which makes it harder to burn body fat and keep lean tissue on. Taking Uber Inositol, 4 to 10g before bed, cuts carbohydrate cravings, and eliminates depressive bouts.

Use of oral contraceptives
Having your own apartment or living in a dorm creates more opportunity for intimacy than living with Mom and Dad. College doctors will confirm that most of the female students that visit the first week of school are there for prescriptions for oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives, except a selected few, are associated with weight gain particularly in the hip and thigh areas. If you are taking oral contraceptives, make sure to take Multi Intense Iron Free to compensate for drug-induced nutrient deficiencies.

The quick way to deal with it goes like this:

Restore insulin sensitivity:
Insulin sensitivity is your best friend. The best supplements to get you there are:

EPA/DHA 720, 3-5 capsules, 3 times a day.

Fenuplex, 2 capsules, 3 times a day. Besides restoring insulin sensitivity, this will heal the pancreas and cut down on carbohydrate cravings.

Insulinomics, 1 tablet, 3 times a day.

Yang-R-ALA, 3-5 capsules, at breakfast and lunch. This will also combat early morning fatigue.

Yin-R-ALA, 3-5 capsules, at last two meals of the day. Besides helping with insulin sensitivity, it will help your child get a deeper sleep.

ÜberMag, 3-5 capsules, at last two meals of the day. While it aids in restoring sleep patterns, this also helps students as they deplete their magnesium levels during those high carbohydrate intake/stressful times.

Green Tea Excellence 2.0, 2 capsules at breakfast lunch and dinner. This will boost metabolism, help repair damage done to the DNA, and is essential for restoring proper intestinal flora.

Often when my body fat creeps up because of too many meals on airlines and in European restaurants, I follow the aforementioned plan. I use the protocol when I need to drop body fat from 9.8% to 6% in less than 10 days. I have actually won many bets on physique transformation using this same plan.

Here are two bonus tips to lose fat even faster:

Stir one to two tablespoons of coconut oil in a cup of hot water, and drink 20 minutes before meals. This will rev up your thyroid, boost your immunity, and kill all sorts of food pathogens that you got from the college cafeteria.

Take Carn-Enhanced, a high concentrate form of liquid carnitine, 1 teaspoon every meal if you have low energy. Lack of carnitine can be a limiting factor for making full use of the fat burning properties of the fish oil. That is particularly true of students who did not eat significant amounts of meat for an extended period of time.
Following the tips given above, your daughter should be able to lose the freshman 15 in less than a month.

Happy Holidays,
Charles Poliquin