With the coronavirus scare going round the world, there is a renewed interest in health. Everyone wants to know what they can do to boost their health. Here we’re going to talk about a different, but just as important kind of health, and that is staying fit and at a healthy weight.
While college is a great place to go for most people, giving them the opportunity to form beautiful and lasting friendships, learn lots of new things, and expand their horizons, there are also some pitfalls that we’d all perhaps be better off avoiding. One of these is the tendency to gain weight during college. If you’ve heard of ‘the dreaded 15’, then you know what I’m talking about. Between your freshman year and your graduation, unless you perform regular exercise and watch your diet, you are likely to gain an average of 15 pounds in your weight. The average used to be 10 pounds, but has increased over the years.
Part of it has to do with the busy schedules and how it gets harder to fit healthy eating and exercises into that schedule, which means it can be handled. Would you like to know how? Here are 15 tips to help you maintain a healthy weight through college.
1. Eat snacks regularly to avoid bingeing
To avoid the tendency to binge in one sitting, you can adopt the habit of eating snacks every 3 or 4 hours. Note that this doesn’t mean you should eat a lot during these times. You’re not being advised to replace your 2 or 3 regular meals with 5 or 6 regular meals. The snacks should be small so that they are negligible. The whole idea is to increase your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, so that your body burns more and is less likely to gain weight.
2. Eat only healthy snacks
While we’re still on the subject of snacks, remember to keep those snacks healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, trail mixes, smoothies, and so on, should be less likely to encourage binge eating than unhealthy alternatives like potato chips. Make sure you stock your dorm with these healthy snacks and throw away all the unhealthy snacks so it’s nearly impossible for you to access those potato chips when you’re craving for them.
3. Alcohol has a dark secret
You gain about 120 calories or more from every beer you drink. On a crazy night out when you drink 6 or more of them, you’re already doing over 1000 empty calories since they’re not really doing anything for your health. A lot of people also eat while they drink, so it’s easy to stack up thousands of calories while drinking. The hangover the morning after that prevents you from going to the gym is even worse. The solution? Plan ahead. Don’t go out when you’re supposed to be at the gym the next day, and eat a full meal before you go out drinking. And, of course, drink responsibly.
4. Eating less and drinking more doesn’t work
A common hack for many people is to eat less in order to drink more alcohol later. This doesn’t work because alcohol and an empty stomach don’t go well. It lowers your blood sugar and you get hungry. Also, you get drunk faster, which lowers your inhibitions and makes you more likely to binge eat.
5. Have accountability partners
It’s always easier to stick to a fitness routine when you have a friend or two with whom you work out. It promotes accountability and makes the whole process a lot more fun.
6. Don’t try every diet under the sun
Fad diets are in plenty today. Some of them actually do work and will ensure you lose lots of pounds in a matter of weeks. However, that doesn’t mean they’re either sustainable or even healthy, and it doesn’t mean the weight will stay off. Get your nutritional information from a reputable nutritionist and stick to their recommendations. Fast solutions don’t last.
7. Do sports
Most colleges have all sorts of sports teams and clubs, which allow you to join, even if you aren’t an athlete or on a scholarship. Joining such clubs and teams will help you have a regular workout schedule that you can stick to. They’ll also give you new friends, some of whom will last a lifetime.
8. Craft your diet to boost your metabolism
You can easily boost your metabolism by having more protein in your food. Protein digestion consumes more calories than fat or carb digestion. You should also try aerobic exercises, and weight lifting. All of these raise your BMR for many hours after the session.
9. Drink more water
Water is essential for your body to run properly and burn calories. Without water, your metabolism will slow down. Carry a bottle around with you and drink 2 or more liters of water a day.
10. Eat more salad
It’s definitely hard to give up pizza if you’re a fan. So how do you avoid eating so much of it? Order salad with your pizza and eat the salad fast. This will fill you up and reduce your chances of eating too much pizza.
11. Stress is not your friend
Try to practise stress-relieving behavior to avoid being chronically stressed by demanding college life. When homework gets too stressful, get a study clerk to help out. Do regular gym workouts, have a healthy social life, and rest often.
12. Eat with friends
Social eating will not only encourage you to eat less but will also cost you less money.
13. Build your muscle
Muscle occupies less volume than fat and boosts your BMR, so build up more of it in your body.
14. Sleep just enough
You should ideally aim for between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleeping too much or too little is likely to lead to weight gain due to a disruption in the body’s hormones.
15. Be moderate
Aristotle was onto something when he said everything should be done in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a pizza or sleeping in, or even working out. Just keep it all in moderation and you should be okay.
These 15 tips are just the tip of the iceberg, but they should be enough to keep you fit and healthy throughout your college life. Remember to follow them, and you don’t have to dread the 15 anymore. Stay healthy!