• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 4 comments on Nine Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

  1. As a person who was formerly 160 lbs and cut down to 145 over the summer, here’s some friendly advice adopted from the bodybuilding community and does go against some things in the article.

    First things first, freshman 15 isn’t actually that bad at all! If you’re relatively average weight and untrained, as long as you lift weights at least 3x a week and get adequate protein, most of those 15 pounds will be lean muscle mass!

    That being said, if you are trying to lose weight, here’s my 2 cents.

    #1 Count calories. Use a tracking app like mynetdiary or myfitnesspal. Almost everything is labelled these days and calories never lie.

    #2 Intermittent fasting. Eat between 12pm and 8pm, then no meals before or after. Your meals will be more satisfying and you’ll be less likely to binge on snacks. Trying to do 8am, noon, the night will leave you unsatisfied.

    #3 Protein. Above all, protein makes you the most full. Fruits, while being filling, can also be high carb, so be careful.

    #4 At least 7 hours of sleep.

  2. Good. But a couple of problems:

    * Low-fat milk? Evidence is mounting that the war on fat was a mistake, and some suggest that it was even a red herring pushed by the evil sugar industry… But conspiracy theories aside, it seems that people who drink whole milk end up healthier than people who drink low-fat–including weight gain. I don’t think there’s a consensus on all the mechanisms yet, but we think that whole milk contains fat-soluble vitamins that get removed from the low-fat stuff, that reducing fat intake makes you eat more harmful things like sugar and simple carbs, and possibly that fat in your regular diet makes you better at burning fat. Whatever the mechanisms, people who drink skim milk seem to end up fatter than people who drink whole.

    * Walking path around campus? Wouldn’t that be nice! But I still haven’t found anywhere on campus that isn’t within easy earshot of a major high-speed high-traffic road. Forget the eternal stench of exhaust and the particulates that are so terrible for a moment, since you already knew that. Even noise pollution has been shown to contribute to obesity (and a bunch of other ailments and cognitive problems) even when we’re awake and active. I’m afraid BU desperately urgently needs to work on this, but I’m not sure how. Bury Commonwealth Ave or Storrow? A marginally useful stopgap could be reducing Comm Ave to one lane each way and a 20-MPH speed limit, adding a proper separated bike lane, and enforcing vehicle noise regulations. Meanwhile, it seems we’re a bit screwed.

    My read on recent health advice that this article doesn’t seem to cover very explicitly:

    – AVOID SUGAR! Sugar is really really bad. This does not seem to include the sugar in milk for some reason, or the sugar in _intact_ fruits, but does seem to include honey, maple syrup, the sugar from chopped fruits–e.g. smoothies! Yup, smoothies are bad for you. Boo.

    – Avoid processed grains. Stick with whole grains. White flour is not good. Whole flour is great.

    – Chairs are lethal. Get up and move around a lot. No matter how much you work out, sitting in a chair for more than ten minutes at a time already seems to be pretty bad for you.

  3. Both of the comments above violate the most important suggestion from this list: DON’T consult the Internet regarding healthy-eating or weight-loss tips. SEE A DOCTOR. We all have good intentions, but for some, it can turn into an extremely dangerous slippery slope that can lead to life-altering choices.

    Aside from that, perhaps the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. So what if you gain weight? Doesn’t mean you’re any less wonderful. Take care of yourself and know your worth isn’t rooted in weight, whether it’s weight loss or weight gain.

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