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Ways to Fight the 'Freshman 15'

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Food, of course, is just part of the equation. "It underscores the fact that it doesn't matter where you are -- you have to find an outlet for physical activity," Zellman says, because 15 pounds can be tremendously difficult to shed.

Still, all this talk about the freshman 15 troubles one college counselor, who says students concentrate too much on appearance alone. "I'm realistic. It's a legitimate concern," says Gary Glass, PhD, of the Boston University Counseling Center. At the same time, though, he offers some thoughts on other things freshmen gain by going to college: a sense of independence, a deeper understanding of friendship, romance, and spirituality.

As he puts it in a list of "A New Freshman 15": "Gaining a growing recognition of my strength as a human being -- as the natural course of growth makes me larger in physical size, and larger in life's experiences."

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