This is a guest post by Angelita Williams. If you'd like to guest post on this blog, click here.
Most every student goes to college fully intending not to gain any weight – and yet so many end up experiencing college weight gain. Why? Well in addition to basking in all the joys and pleasures of college, newfound freedom, and self-exploration, many students overlook their daily food intake versus the amount of exercise they put in. So, in the midst of so much excitement and change, how do we avoid packing on the pounds while we're away at school?
It's not easy to avoid gaining some weight while away at school. The lack of exercise, late-night study sessions, and not-so-healthy menu options often throw us for a loop. The good news, however, is that there is always a way to combat unhealthy eating habits in college. For those of you who are looking to avoid college weight gain, here are five tips to lose weight and to help you battle the lurking bulge.
1. Keep a food diary
A food diary will help you keep track of your daily food intake and hold you accountable. If you find yourself snacking on something like chips, candy, or other salty/sugar snacks, write them down in your journal and keep track of it. At the end of each week, review your journal and weigh yourself. If you see that you've gained some extra pounds, then you'll be able to determine the obvious source of your weight gain just from looking at your journal – as long as you've been tracking everything you're eating.
2. Set a weekly fitness goal
Part of successfully losing and maintaining weight is hitting the gym three to five times a week. If you aren't making the rounds on the treadmill or elliptical, then it's likely you're either sitting down watching television or snacking on something. It's important to maintain a lifestyle of fitness and exercise, even if you aren't trying to lose weight. Our bodies need to be in motion for a good hour or so a day, so make sure to stick to a weekly set regime.
3. Establish an eating cutoff time
Our bodies are designed to have three square meals a day, but it's hard to negotiate with the college lifestyle. Sometimes we're up late, eating snacks, drinking booze, and letting our lack of better judgment get the best of us. A great tip I once heard was to have an eating cutoff time. By promising yourself not to eat past a certain time of night, you'll be able to cut out any extra calories you may pick up. Even if you're up late studying, don't reach for that snack because most likely you're trying to find some joy in your studying misery, and food should never be a source of joy.
4. Limit alcohol consumption
For whatever reason, alcohol has become a chief part of the college experience through the years. At nearly every party or social gathering, you'll see person after person with a drink in their hand. It may be difficult to resist, but drinking alcohol should not be something you feel pressured to do in college on a regular basis. Try and limit your alcoholic drinks to one or two a week. I know it sounds dreadful, but once you get in the routine of resisting it, you'll feel a whole lot better about yourself.
5. Buy a scale and use it
In addition to your food diary, a scale will hold you accountable for all your successes and slip ups. Though it may be a distressing thing to face, especially after one-too-many snacks, scales are a great way to keep you on track to meeting your goals. Make sure to schedule a day each week where you weigh yourself and write it down. Even if you've had a bad week, go and weigh yourself. After a while of seeing your weight-loss progression or successful maintenance, you won't fear the scale as much.
College is a wondrous, joyful experience, but it sometimes comes with a price. If you find yourself dealing with college weight gain during those first few years of college, try and get yourself back on track with these five tips to lose weight.
This guest article was written by Angelita Williams who is a freelance blogger who specializes in education-related content. She’s familiar with educational practices for every age and lifestyle, from online college courses to homeschooling to traditional learning.