Almost everyone has heard of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. They contribute it to many things such as dining hall options, the excess of ramen and easy-Mac, and a variety of other things. Now, I am terrible at dieting and going to the gym everyday. I was prepared to gain those fifteen pounds, but somehow I not only avoided the Freshman Fifteen but also lost over 20 pounds! This may seem like I worked really hard to lose all that, but in reality I changed my routine very minimally. Here is my advice on how to avoid gaining weight and actually lose weight at college.
In the beginning of the year, I went to the gym once a week to run on the treadmill for 20 minutes. I got bored with this very quickly. Eventually, I found a group of friends to play pickup basketball for 45 minutes every two or three days. This was key! I found people who encouraged me to be active for a small portion of my week. It really doesn’t take much, and something like basketball is fun and an easy workout. We never played a super intense game, just something to get us moving.
Another thing that really helps is walking to all your classes. You will definitely reach your Fitbit goal if you walk to and from classes. Even if your car seems more convenient, walking is so much better for you. It will turn into your workout for those days you just can’t make time for exercising.
It’s true that dining halls don’t always provide the healthiest meals. But it also tends to be true that they don’t provide the most delicious meals. This actually works to your advantage. I did not change much of my diet during the school year (except I gave up soda). All I did was eat smaller portions of dining hall food. This was mostly because I didn’t like the food they offered. I did start eating more salads, not to lose weight but because it was the best tasting food at my dining hall. So, you don’t need to give up sugar or carbs to lose weight, you can try eating smaller portions.
The biggest thing that I changed (and that I believe had the largest effect) was being mindful of what I was drinking. I am a coffee addict, I used to not be able to function without a cup of coffee in the morning. As the year went on, I didn’t stop drinking coffee but I made it my goal to drink one cup on days when I really needed it and to just drink water the rest of the time. This changed everything. When I drank more water I became more energetic and found I didn’t need coffee as much. So whatever calorie, sugar or chemical filled drink you survive on, replace it with water and you will see amazing results.
These were all very minor changes in my daily routine, but caused a dramatic effect. I can’t promise that you will lose weight the way I did because everyone’s body is different. But, I can say these small steps will get you on the right track to staying healthy while at school.