When the reading assignments pile up, or when Roberts Pavilion seems like too much of a trek, what can you possibly do to make sure that those numbers on the scale don’t skyrocket? As with most things, maintaining personal health depends on sustaining a balanced lifestyle, rather than depending on one grand workout.

Here are five simple tips to help you avoid gaining the “Freshman 15” (or the Sophomore 16):

1. Don’t go for seconds (or thirds).

Buffets create a sense of illusion that your stomach can conquer everything in the world. Even if you tell yourself that you are only getting “a little bit” of food from each section of the dining halls, “a little” more often than not, becomes “a lot.” Highly impulsive cravings trick your brain to act on the “wants” instead of the “needs.” Before going for a second burrito or another bowl of chicken wings, ask yourself: “do I really need that?”

2. Desserts are treats for a reason.

The dessert selection at Pitzer seems to call out your name, and understandably so. Who wouldn’t be enticed by the wide array of goodies that are laid out every day? By forgetting what goes into a single cookie (such as butter, sugar, flour, chocolate chips, etc.) we fall into the trap of lying to ourselves that it’s “just one” cookie. Frequent Ath-goers, in particular, should beware, because the desserts prepared at the Ath are always something unique. A way to discipline yourself against desserts is to remind yourself that those desserts are not going anywhere; if you do not eat a cookie or a brownie or a lemon tart today, you will have the opportunity to do so the next day.

3. Stairs are the enemy, but “thou must love thy enemy.”

Wherever there are stairs, take them going up. You may not feel that cardio (or maybe you do) but stairs work your body more than simply walking because you are lifting yourself against gravity. Not only does climbing stairs improve your blood flow, but it also allows you to work the elasticity of your joints and ligaments. Keeping your heart pumping also helps send a rush of oxygen and adrenaline to your brain, which will ultimately keep you more focused and mentally awake.

4. Follow dining hall meal schedule, not the Hub.

Late night cravings, especially during nights out, tempt you to grab more food at ungodly hours. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not only about the quantity of food but also the timing of your meals. Unless you are eating small amounts of food during shorter time intervals, or unless you are an athlete, it is usually not a very good idea to eat normal portion meals too frequently in a day. You would be overworking your body’s digestion capability when there is no need for it.

5. Increase your daily number of steps.

Understandably, if you had a class that ended at 8:50 AM in Pomona and you had to catch a 9 AM at Mudd, you would definitely want to get on some wheeled vehicle to make sure you arrive on time. But for every other case, walking really helps to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

Essentially, the key is to maintain your metabolic activity. Small changes in your daily habits can contribute to your lifestyle, but to actually accomplish that you need a sense of discipline and self-control. Of course, you should also treat yourself once in a while. Suppressing your cravings will eventually cause a crash in your healthy lifestyle. It is easy to get carried away by the obsession of “eating healthy,” so you should also remind yourself to keep negative self-perceptions at bay.