We’ve all been there…where we’ve gained a few pounds and we’re not even sure how it came on so quickly and where it came from. But for all of you who are in college, the extra weight may not feel so good because it might be making you feel more sluggish, not sleep as well, feel like you have less energy, and feel self-conscious when in social environments.
Well, here are a few tips toward healthy living again…and don’t be self-conscious!
You are beautiful and wonderful no matter what size you are!
Our goal is to just get your body back into tip-top shape and here’s some tips to get you on your way!
Healthy Weight Loss Tips 101
Keep a food journal
! If you have to write down everything that you eat, it will make you more mindful of what you are putting into your mouth and how often you are eating. Studies show a weight loss benefit simply by keeping a food log.
Who says college cafeteria food can’t be healthy. Look for the vegetable options and let’s start from there!
When you go to the cafeteria to eat at college, make sure that ¾ of your plate is filled with vegetables and the other ¼ can be a mixture of lean protein and/or whole grain carbohydrates. No processed food if you are trying to lose weight. If you are trying to maintain your weight, I would still recommend against processed foods but if you must splurge, keep it to a minimum of 1-2 times per week only!
Limit each meal to about 300-500 calories max!
If you can’t keep track of your total calorie count for the day, just make sure that you eat no more than 5 times per day and that each meal has a calorie-count of about 300-500 calories only. This generalized rule isn’t as good as keeping a calorie count or food journaling, but if you are one of those people who wants to just focus on one meal at a time, this rule should help you from overeating at each meal.
Keep only healthy food options in your dorm room fridge and cabinets/shelves
. If you only keep healthy food in your room, you’ll be less likely to eat junk food. The fact that you would have to go out to seek out the junk food, puts yet another obstacle in the way of you and unhealthy eating….AND anything we can do to create obstacles between you and unhealthy eating is a good thing!
Decide on a time at night where you are going to stop eating and stick to it!
One of the biggest challenges of keeping off the Freshmen 15 is the late night eating that occurs in college. But, if you set a rule that you won’t eat after a certain time, it might be enough of a reminder to yourself to skip late night snacking with your friends. Any little habit that provides you an additional check point where you’ll say to yourself “hey, I’m not supposed to eat after 9pm” could give you just enough time and mental willpower to say no to the late night pizza run!
Only eat foods that look like it could have recently come off a tree or off the ground, close to its mother-nature form, about 3-4 days per week (or you can choose to eat this way for 2 main meals out of the day). Caution: This doesn’t mean you can eat horrible processed foods that are high in sugar and fat for the other meals of the week or day!
Try to eat mostly vegetarian (without the creamy sauce, fried, or processed carbohydrate vegetarian options) for majority of your meals if you are trying to lose weight. Eating a mostly plant-based diet helps with inflammation and makes your body more effective with weight loss due to higher fiber and water content. A less inflamed body means a more effective body in weight loss!
Eat the colors of the rainbow at every meal!
If you eat the colors of the rainbow in vegetable form at every meal, you’ll be taking the guess work out of getting a variety of phyto-nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to keep you healthy and your metabolism churning effectively. Our body is a machine. When we give it what it needs to run optimally, our body looks and feels its best!
Get moving…to the gym or outdoors!
Our bodies are made to move…so when it doesn’t and we are sedentary, we don’t sleep as well, our moods are worse, and we don’t metabolize the food we eat as well. So, make sure you get at least 30 minutes of activity daily where you break a sweat. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, get clearance from your doctor first. Once you are ready to go, find segments of time that add up to 30-60 minutes per day to get your body moving so that you are breaking a sweat. This will up your calorie burn and help you sleep better. When you sleep better, the hormones that help you process sugar, food, and controls your ability to sense when you are full are better optimized!
Take a walk with a friend for socializing time, instead of a pizza run!
Consider setting up times for walks around campus or walks to the local stores or mall for social time with your friends. Instead of formalizing all social events around food and drinks, aim for activities where you can gather as a group for physical activity. When you are busy with team sports or you are getting together with friends for social hiking events, these physical activities increase your adrenalin and help you to bond more with your friends. You may come out of these active social events even closer to your friends…and your frame of mind will definitely be better because being active helps you increase your endorphins and mood!
Be mindful of your liquid calories!
What you are drinking may be contributing a lot to your inability to lose weight or your gaining weight. Most of my patients are getting large amounts of calories from their drinks. So, be cautious about what you are drinking. I usually recommend my patients to drink sparkling water, water, or teas. Even diet sodas have been seen in studies to be linked with weight gain and increased waist circumference. So, if you are watching your waist line, stick with what our body needs…water!