College students everywhere are packing their bags, loading up their (parents’) cars and heading off to school. In between learning about literature, 14th century artists and how to calculate the physics of beer pong, you might learn a math problem you weren’t counting on: The Freshman 15. Yes, the scale is right – it’s easy to gain 15 pounds. Fear not! I’m looking out for you! Here are:
10 Ways to Fight the Freshman 15
- Get a mini fridge and stock it with healthy snacks so if the cafeteria is closed you don’t have to go to some fast food joint. (Think: apples, celery sticks, whole grain bread, almond milk, etc.)
- Drink water throughout the day. A lot of times you might think you’re hungry when you’re really thirsty.
- Limit your alcohol. Seriously, have you ever seen a diet plan, EVER, that said, “drink loads of alcohol?” Of course not; alcohol turns straight to sugar. If you’re going to drink, limit yourself to one or two drinks per week.
- When out on a 2 a.m. Denny’s run, order old fashioned oatmeal and scrambled egg whites instead of pancakes and hash browns. If you went to Denny’s, 4 oz. egg whites is 50 calories and 1/2 cup of oatmeal is 150 calories, for a total of 200 calories. The whole grain oats in oatmeal are full of fiber, which will make you feel full longer, and the egg whites will give you some protein without the cholesterol found in the yolk. By comparison, a pancake usually has tons of butter and maple syrup on top, which is loaded with extra fat and sugar, and the hash browns are just fried potatoes with a ton of salt, which will add water weight. Denny’s blueberry pancakes are 480 calories, and hash browns 210 calories, for a grand total of 690 calories! Yikes!
- Drinking tip: If you don’t want to drink alcohol and your friends keep bugging you, order an orange juice and tell them it’s a screwdriver. They’ll leave you alone and you can get back to the party.
- Keep some almonds in your backpack. Know why Snickers bars wake you up when it’s the afternoon and you’re tired? Because they have nuts in them, which provide a great energy boost. But why cover them in chocolate for all those extra calories? Just eat 6-8 almonds directly for a quick pick me up.
- Order plain coffee at Starbucks. Coffee has 5 calories. It’s all that other stuff you put in it (flavored syrups, sugar, whipped cream, whole fat milk, caramel, etc.) that make coffee a danger zone. Try carrying vanilla extract in your purse and add a few drops to your coffee plus a few packets of Splenda. It tastes pretty good, is way cheaper than the other flavored coffees, and only has 5 calories. An iced cafe mocha by comparison, has 320 calories.
- Fight the urge for a food rebellion. Your mama never let you eat ice cream for breakfast. But guess what? She’s not with you at college! A lot of people go just a little bit crazy with all this new found food freedom and the abundance of potato chips and baked goods in grocery stores. Just because you CAN eat junk food whenever you want, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
- Sleep eight hours most nights. Yes, you will have late nights “studying” sometimes, but it’s really difficult to constantly function on 4 hours of sleep. You get grouchy, it becomes difficult to concentrate, and you tend to eat more junk food to keep yourself awake, which packs on the pounds. Most nights make a pack with yourself to go to bed at a reasonable time.
- Exercise. Wonder why exercise didn’t make it until number 10 on the list? Because weight gain has mostly to do with diet and not so much to do with exercise. Cardio and weight lifting are great, and should be incorporated into your routine, but don’t think you can out cardio a bad diet, because no one can. Exercise is good for a ton of other things though, like relieving stress, helping you sleep better, and making your blood flow better. Also, let’s face it, there’s lots of eye candy at the gym.
So this year at college, let your mind expand and not your waistline.
Do you have any tips for avoiding the Freshman 15?
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