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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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How to beat the 'freshman 15'

Fred Smith, a senior at Luther College,
Fred Smith, a senior at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, wrote The Smart Student’s Guide to Healthy Living with his mother, M.J. Smith, a registered dietician.
Most college-bound students fear the dreaded “freshman 15”—the weight gain from the sedentary tendencies and empty calories of college life.

Senior Fred Smith of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, said every student faces a different challenge to staying healthy, not only skipping exercise or overeating but also not getting enough sleep, whiling away study time on the Internet or overcommitting to activities.

Smith and his mother, M.J. Smith, a registered dietician, wrote The Smart Student’s Guide to Healthy Living (New Harbinger) to help students stay physically, mentally and emotionally fit. It’s based on Smith’s freshman experience and surveys of his college friends.

The book includes 40 dorm-friendly recipes and a guide for making healthy choices at the dining hall, as well as tips on fitting exercise into a busy schedule, best study practices and stress-relieving activities.

Religious practices are part of the section on beating stress, but Smith said the effects of a spiritual life are broad. “Students need something besides what most people would call ‘everyday activities’ to get them through the day,” he said.

His practices included daily prayer, wearing a WWJD bracelet and attending Luther’s daily chapel service. “If I could just sit there, relax and listen to the message the pastor or student was offering, it was a reminder that God was there for me.”


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