It's that time of year again, it's back to school. Moms across the country are elated and kids across the country are sad to see the carefree days of summer coming to an end, but if you're heading to college then you need to be wary of the Freshman 15. Here are some great tips on keeping the Freshman 15 at bay, which anyone (even those of us not heading to college) can apply to his or her daily lives.
- Make time for the gym. Often freshmen that were very active in high school sports, don’t participate in sports at the college level. Suddenly they lose the active lifestyle—and calorie-burning ability—they once had. Most colleges offer at least one, if not numerous, gyms around campus that are free to students. Make gym time a priority and pencil it into your planner. Students can also take advantage of intramural sports activities or enjoy areas for walking or running that are available on most campuses.
- Keep track of what you eat. Keeping track of food intake and eating times is one of the most important steps in weight management. Using a log, such as the DayTimers Fitness Organizer, will help keep students aware of what they are putting in their body. This awareness tool is often the deterrent needed to say no to those extra calories.
There are more great ideas for beating the Freshman 15, so
- Get all the facts. Dorm food can often be one of the biggest problems. There is sure to be an abundance of snacks and fried foods right at your fingertips. However, there are healthy options available, as well. When first moving in, speak to the chef at the dining hall and ask for nutritional information for the regular dishes. Discuss healthy food options, and take advantage of salad and cereal bars. It may even be possible to arrange for a special diet or additional meal options.
- Take snack breaks. It’s easy to get in to the habit of mindless eating while studying. Chances are, if you sit down to read with a bag of chips, the bag will be empty by the time the study session is over. Instead, make a plan regarding snack breaks in the middle of studying. Instead of candy or chips, choose healthier snack options, such as light popcorn, fruit, or veggies.
- Alcohol monitoring. Alcohol contains lots of hidden calories that are often stored as body fat. In fact, each alcoholic beverage has at least 150 calories and should be counted as one carb (15 grams of carb). Limiting alcohol consumption will help avoid unwanted pounds, and since less drinking means killing less brain cells, maybe it will even help increase test scores.
- Utilize school programs. Students may not realize the wide variety of free programs offered by schools, such as meetings with nutritionists. Also, if there is room for elective courses, look into an aerobics course or healthy cooking class, and earn credits while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Have an accountability partner. To hold you accountable, befriend a person who has a similar goal of avoiding the ‘Freshman 15’. Having someone to go to the gym and study with may be just the support you need to not only skip the late-night pizza, but to maintain your weight and reach your long-term health goals.