Starting college (and even going back to it after a relaxing Summer) can be a learning experience when it comes to healthy living habits. As you settle into a campus routine, watch out for these traps that can sabotage weight-loss goals.
- Unlimited buffets: The all you can eat aspect of campus dining halls, may be all you need to justify an extra bowl of cereal at breakfast or a hot fudge sundae after dinner. Practice portion control and opt for veggies from the salad bar over fried foods — you'll be proud that you didn't go on pizza overload, and you'll feel much more energized as well.
- Loose schedules: For many, high school is chock-full of classes and extracurricular activities, making it harder to stray off a schedule. When college rolls around, however, nighttime social activities and late-night study sessions may be all the incentive you need to hit the snooze button enough times to miss out on a morning run. If you find that you're skipping workouts more often than not, sit down and make a schedule so you can fit exercise into your day at a time where you know you'll have no excuses.
Keep reading for more campus traps to avoid.
- Study snacking: If you find that you mindlessly reach for junk food while studying, try stocking your dorm fridge with healthy snacks, like carrots and hummus or fruit and string cheese. Your brain will stay fueled and your body energized as you plow through those textbooks. Keep junk food out of your dorm or only buy single-size servings if you know you'll always reach for the potato chips over the crudité.
- Non-stop parties: College is a time to be social and form bonds, but attending event after event can wreak havoc on a healthy lifestyle. Not only can after-class obligations cut into workout time, but all the temptations at many parties — from high-calorie cocktails to the snack table — can make it hard to exercise dieting willpower. Make sure you eat a healthy meal or snack before an evening engagement so you won't want to raid the chips and dip, and be smart about any alcohol consumption.
- Too much to do: All of the above can hurt your healthy goals in more ways than one. If you're finding it hard to fit exercising, eating, hobbies, classes, and events all into your day, sleep will probably be the first thing to take a hit. But since lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and stress — which can mean packing on belly fat and not having enough energy to exercise — make sure you prioritize sleep to give your body enough time to rest and refuel to take on your busy schedule.
For more tips on losing weight in college, read our advice on how to cut calories in college and 10 healthy eating tips for avoiding the Freshman 15.