Most of us have heard of the famous “freshman 15” (when students gain weight during the semester) and if you haven’t heard of it, I’m here to tell you, it can be real…if you let it. Here are some tips on how to avoid weight gain and keep your summer body tight throughout the semester.
Shop Smart – College food is going to get old, really fast and you’ll have late night study sessions when your stomach is rumbling and the cafeteria is closed so you will need groceries to survive. This is always one of the hardest parts about eating healthy for me. If you’re not a health guru it can be hard to know what groceries to buy. Shopping smart is the key the maintaining your weight in college. This was a hard lesson to learn after countless trips to Wal-Mart ended with me leaving with nothing but water, ice-cream and chips. (Don’t do this!) Luckily there are meal planning apps that will guide you through grocery shopping and help you pick out tasty and nutritious meals.
Don’t skip meals – College life comes with a hectic schedule and sometimes it can be hard to find time to eat, especially before your 8 o’clock class, but try not to skip any meals throughout the day. Going without food for long periods of time will cause your metabolism to slow down and you’ll most likely over eat at your next meal. If you don’t have time to have a full breakfast or lunch grab a few healthy snacks to hold you over until your next meal.
Cafeteria 101 – This is probably the most important step to beating the Freshman 15, since the bulk of your meals will be eaten in the cafeteria. If your school is like mine, the temptation to eat fried chicken and pecan pie all the time is real! if you want to stay fit, take advantage of the healthier options available like the salad bar and fruit. Ask for baked instead of fried fish and practice portion control to avoid overeating. Your waistline will thank you later!
Watch what you drink – Most people don’t realize that they consume way too many calories in their daily drinks. Try to limit the amount of soda, tea and alcohol you drink if you can’t cut them out completely and drink lots of water.
Stay active- This is probably the hardest for those of you like me who hate working out, but it is crucial to staying in shape. Take advantage of your free campus gym because you’ll never have that again. If working out is just too unbearable for you, get involved in the free activities like yoga, aerobics and zumba classes. Whatever you do… don’t spend all your time sitting around. You can turn on some Beyoncé and dance in the mirror for 30 minutes as long as you’re active!
Have fun and cheat a lil! – College is already stressful as it is, without the added pressure of trying to have the perfect figure. Don’t get so caught up in trying to maintain a perfect diet all the time that you’ve added a new class to your workload. It’s ok to indulge in your favorite fast foods and enjoy that strawberry cake from time to time, as long as you get back on track. If you do gain a little weight in college, so what?! Don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s a process that we all go through.