15 Ways to Beat the “Freshman 15”

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Take the stairs.

It’s a built in exercise! Instead of waiting for the elevator, walk up those 4 flights of stairs and feel the burn. Being more active during the day is a simple way to burn more calories. Little things, like taking the stairs or walking to the park to study, can boost your metabolism and make keeping the weight off easier.

Don’t overindulge on alcohol or soft drinks

The most common cause of weight gain in college is from drinking too much alcohol! Alcohol, like soda, contains empty calories. This is one of the easiest ways to keep weight off – monitor your drinking! Instead of having a coke everyday, have a water with a squeeze of lemon. It’s refreshing and healthy.

Make your salad slim

Toppings like dressing, croutons, bacon, etc, add unwanted calories. Eat a light salad full of veggies (or fruits!). If you can’t live without dressing, here’s a little trick : keep your dressing in a container on the side and dip a forkful of salad into it. This keeps you from dumping too much dressing on your otherwise healthy meal.

Take advantage of your school’s gym or recreation center.

Using your school’s facilities – which you have already paid for with your tuition – is a must! You’d be wasting money if you didn’t use it! Not only will 30 minutes of daily exercise make you feel better – it will help keep your waist trim. Many students hit the gym before class. It’s truly a great way to kick-start your day.

Eat healthier late night snacks

A bowl of popcorn or cheerios is more filling and healthier than a bag of salty chips. Don’t keep those unhealthy snacks in your room, you’ll be less likely to reach for them.

Control portion size

Just because the dining hall has limitless options, doesn’t mean you should eat it all. If you find you are still hungry, you can always get up to get a second serving.

Pay attention to the food pyramid

Make sure all your nutritional needs are being met. Get your daily recommended servings of fruit, veggies, grains, proteins, and milk each day. The food pyramid (check out My Food Pyramid) states that half your grains should be whole grains – that’s at least 3 ounces a day. It also recommends dark green and orange veggies (such as leafy spinach or carrots) and beans and peas and avoiding fruit juice, while choosing lean proteins.

Learn how to handle stress

Let’s face it – college is a stressful time. Stress can wreck havoc on your body. Stress often leads to weight gain, due to an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, and cravings or comfort eating.

Do not eat while distracted

Eating while multitasking, watching TV, or being otherwise preoccupied leads to overeating! Studies have shown that eating while distracted leads to ingesting more calories because people can not focus on the sensory clues that tell them they are full.

Eat at regular intervals, and don’t skip meals

Drink lots of water and get enough sleep

It is true – lack of sleep causes weight gain. Aim for 6-9 hours of sleep each night, and keep the all-nighters to a minimum.

Eat slowly

Eating slowly gives your brain more time to realize your stomach is full, cutting down on overeating, and it allows you to savor your food!

See a dietician or nutritionist

Does your school offer a lifestyle managment program, wellness coach, dietician or nutritionist? Make an appointment! One on one meetings will help you figure out what the healthiest eating and excersize plan is for you, and how you to work with your schedule.

Vary what you eat

You don’t need to be eating chicken and rice every day. Healthy foods can be delicious. The more color it has – the better it is for you! Healthy delicious foods are available everywhere – from yummy pastas, like vegetarian lasagna, to chicken fajitas or sushi. You have plenty of choices! Variety is the spice of life. By keeping your meals varied, you won’t get bored and will be less likely to gravitate toward unhealthy food options.

Don’t fixate on your weight!

It is important not to worry too much about your weight. You’re in college, there’s no need to be so worried about gaining a pound or two that you miss out on all the fun college experiences. Don’t view this as “dieting”, view it as a lifestyle change. The main goal is to be healthy, happy, and comfortable with yourself.

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