Staying healthy in college is a major concern for those heading to college. While the Freshmen 15 may be a haunting threat to many, there are easy changes you can implement into your routine or tips you can keep in mind that might keep those extra 15 (or even more) pounds off.
Now, I do want to preface that while weight gain is mainly considered as a bad and unhealthy thing, many might be surprised that people care a lot more about who you are and what qualities/characteristics you possess than how you look. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset of looking a certain body type and size, but guess what? Nobody cares as much as you.
Think of these tips and changes as long term, lifestyle changes for a healthier version of yourself rather than quick-fixes so you hit a certain number on the scale.
Just before I start, I do want to say, even though I am the one writing this post, I did gain about 30 lbs. my freshmen year of boarding school. I left the summer before freshman year with an eating disorder and a drastic 20 lbs. weight loss that happened because of my vulnerable 13-year self. However, I do attribute a lot to the buffet style dining hall, the wide availability of food (especially the bad ones), peer pressure, and stress eating. So don’t worry, I’ve been there too.
Once you sit down, stay down // This is one the hardest things for me to keep. It’s so easy in a buffet style dining hall to keep on going for seconds, thirds, and fourths. However, 99.99% of the time I stand up to get seconds, my stomach already feels full but my mind who denies it wins. So stick with your single serving. I think the most helpful tip for this tip is to eat slowly and really savor each bite in that single serving.
Dampen the size, up the frequency // In the beginning of my freshmen year when I realized that the dining hall wasn’t open 24/7 (unlike the convenience of your pantry at home), I suddenly ate three very big meals because I knew I wouldn’t be getting in another snack/meal until the dining hall opened. This was such an amateur trick – instead of expanding your stomach, eat in moderate portions but eat whenever you’re hungry. This means that you’re going to have to keep healthy snacks at hand so even if the dining hall isn’t open, you’ll still have access to food. My favorites are apples, plums, bananas from the dining hall (just pick them up as you leave) or KIND bars and granola that I buy at Costco before coming to school.
Be picky // I know when we were young, our parents told us to NOT be picky eaters, but here I am telling you to be. I mean picky in a sense of picking when to have your indulgences. Life is too short and precious to not eat those processed and fatty indulgences – so “schedule” when you’re going to have your indulgences and have them then and only then.
In a similar fashion, everyday at the dining hall, be picky about what choices you are making. That chicken breast look funny? Then don’t get it. The potatoes looking too oily? Don’t get it. We all know what’s good and bad for us, it’s just the matter of carrying out our inner-thoughts.
Find a buddy // Everything is better with a friend….
This is so so true. Bring a buddy with you to the gym on campus or find a class nearby. Maybe it’s my Type-A personality, but whenever I have someone working out to me, I push myself to be better – to be better than them. But best of all, having a buddy helps to keep you accountable. Not only for working out, but eating habits. Serena is definitely my eating “mom” – she’s always with me for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and tells me whether I can or cannot get a bowl of yogurt (#yogurtlover).
MOVE // Just move!!! There’s something about endorphins and breaking a sweat that makes you feel so productive and energized. My personal favorite is running – I love going on runs after a long day of classes as a stress reliever. I know that not everybody loves running, so just do whatever makes you happy and active. Walk, dance, do yoga, play tennis, just anything that makes your heart pump.
Don’t be obsessive – life is too short // While all these tips are great to keep those 15 pounds off, don’t make these tips restrict you from having late night pizza or dessert with friends! Remember, everything in moderation!
What are your tips for keeping your weight in check?