10 ways to avoid the inevitable college weight gain

gainweight

Freshman 15; myth or reality?  The 15 pound bit, myth. Gaining weight; that’s a reality.  According to the registered dietitian on campus, Annie Mahon, Ph.D., M.S., R.D. on average college students gain 4-6 pounds each year; not just freshman year- each year in college!  Follow these tips to stay slim every semester!

  1. Exercise– You think going to class is important, right?  Well, so too should be an exercise regime.  It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal; a 10-minute workout is worth it!  Studies show thatmorning exercisers are not only the most consistent with their routine, but are also more alert throughout the day.  Try setting that alarm a half hour earlier and go for a 20-minute jog before class!  Only got a minute? Hit that plank!  My secret is a 2-minute wall-sit while I brush my teeth!
  2. Portion Control– With a buffet style, it can be difficult to determine how much is enough.  Shoot for half your plate fruits and veggies, one-fourth protein, and one-fourth whole grains.  With this in mind, you will certainly succeed in the perfect portion.
  3. Chew your food– Slow down!  It takes 20 minutes for neurotransmitters to realize fullness.  The average person only chews about five times before they swallow.  Try counting the chews in each bite and aim for 30 to 50 times!  It helps if you put your fork down between bites.
  4. Make a bored list– What are your top five quick fun things you can do when you’re bored? My list includes: call friends/ family, do yoga, paint nails, read a magazine, pinterest, play violin, stretch, the list goes on.  With food available 24/7 it is very easy to eat out of boredom.  Wanting a distraction, procrastination, escaping feelings of frustration.  Think of something comforting and satisfying that you like to do besides eat!
  5. Plan ahead- Skipping meals is a setup to overeat on subpar choices.  Eat every three to four hours.  This is how long it should take to digest food.  If I eat breakfast at 8 and lunch at 12, I plan for a small snack of carrots and hummus at 3:30 to hold me over for my next meal at 5:30.  Packing healthy snacks and planning ahead is key to keeping that metabolism going and staying focused, alert and satisfied throughout the day.  When I fall off the wagon, it helps me to write down a schedule the night before what I will eat the next day and what time I will be eating those foods.  The little food schedule ensures a stress-free day with good food choices and portions!  And yes, of course I plan for a little dessert!
  6. Portion out Snacks– Have you ever had a giant box of Cheez-its next to you while you’re studying? When you started studying, the box was full and then all of a sudden it’s empty!  If you don’t register what you’re putting in your mouth, you simply won’t realize how much you are eating!  If you are going to study and eat at the same time, take a plastic bag and pour out a serving of Cheez-its and put that box away!  It might be a good idea to portion out bags like this immediately after purchasing snacks in bulk for convenient, quick access.
  7. Late-night decisions! Is it bad to eat late at night?  Annie Mahon, our R.D, says no- time of day does not matter.  In fact I mentioned earlier to eat every three to four hours.  So, if I eat dinner at 5:30, chances are I will get hungry again around 9.  The only problem with late-night eating is the choices we make.  Even I, the veggie nut, am not about to go grab a salad for my midnight snack.  With late-night eating, weigh your options before you indulge, and keep the portions on the skimpy side!
  8. Friends are like friends– meaning; you are similar to those you surround yourself with.  So, when it comes to ordering in and overeating, if everyone’s doing it, chances are so will you!  Set a good example.  We’re all in this together.  Notice the peer pressure with indulgence and the satisfaction others get from you eating something with them.  If you’re hungry, eat; if you’re not, don’t!
  9. Make sleep a priority– after an all-nighter, the thought of exercising is a joke, and I cannot get full the next day! Ever feel similarly?  This is your body making up for the lack of energy.  Cravings in this state are usually along the lines of candy and ice cream- anything processed, high sugar, and high fat to get an instant energy fix.  So hard to resist and such an easy trap to fall into.  Next time you feel this way, drink some water and go to bed!!
  10. Limit high calorie drinks- those huge Den pops are so high calorie and honestly, there is nothing in soda that is good for you.  It will make you hungrier, make your blood sugar spike, making you crazy and give you acne and, please, just, no…  Don’t get me started on alcohol… !!!
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