Let’s be real, the Freshman (err Sophomore, Junior, and Senior) fifteen is not something to laugh about. It’s a serious issue that is affecting the lives of college student worldwide. There are several problems that contribute to gaining weight at school and lucky for you, there are also a few super simple solutions!
College is such a hard place to stay fit because you have so many factors playing against you. It is so difficult to eat a well-balanced diet while at school because dorm food is not always the healthiest, most diet-friendly cuisine. And once it gets cold outside, forget it- most college student will forego the dining hall completely and survive solely on Ramen noodles, popcorn, pretzels, Doritos, cereal, and Easy Mac.
Another huge problem is lack of exercise. Walking to class or to the dining hall does not qualify as a cardio work out, and walking four flights of stairs to get to your room does not suffice as ‘leg day’. It’s hard to find time to get to the gym in the midst of doing homework, watching TV, pretending to do homework while watching TV, etc.
Lastly, not getting enough sleep plays a huge role on how your body functions and how well your metabolism is working. Between studying for exams, partying until dawn, and writing last minute papers during those bi-weekly all nighters who has time for sleeping?
If you find yourself having any of the issues mentioned above, you’ve come to the right place for help. Staying fit in college is not always easy, but with these tips on healthy living you’ll be much better prepared this semester.
When you’re looking for something healthy- green is always a good choice. No, we’re not talking about the green hat marshmallows in the Lucky Charms box (even though those are the best marshmallows). We’re talking about fresh vegetables. Dining halls almost always have a salad bar and some sort of fresh veggie. Load your plate with those and fill up on green instead of junk. Stay away from fried foods like chicken fingers, french fries, and onion rings. Try not to eat too many carbs like pasta and pizza (one serving at each meal is plenty).
Many dining halls offer meal options like wraps, stir fry, and sushi. These are all healthy options that are filling and tasty too! If you’re craving something sweet after a meal or you’re looking for a mid-day snack, reach for some fruit. Grapes, berries, apples, and bananas make awesome craving killers. Try grapes or strawberries with some vanilla yogurt as a refreshing, sweet snack. Fun fact, apples help kill bad breath germs and help maintain blood sugar levels so they’ll keep you fuller longer. So remember:
Foods to Avoid:
- Fried Foods
Foods to Enjoy:
- Fresh Fruit
Keep in mind, all foods are alright in moderation. Don’t put yourself on a diet- it’s okay to have pizza or ice cream on occasion. As long as you don’t make it a habit you’ll be fine.
Exercise is so important, not only for your physical health but for your mental health as well. Exercising can be anything from running on a treadmill to walking laps around your schools’ campus. You should be engaging in approximately 30 minutes of cardio between three and five days per week. Exercise helps burn calories, build muscle, increase blood flow, and reduce stress levels. “I just had a terrible workout”…SAID NO ONE EVER. Any workout is a good workout so remember it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get your heart beat up. For some awesome totally doable at home exercise workouts, check out our Music Monday posts where we feature fun chart topping songs with short workouts anyone can do! Also, listing weights and building muscle doesn’t need to be done in a gym. You can get fit right in the comfort of your own room. For great exercise tips, check out our post on Dorm-Friendly exercise.
Sleep is one of the most underrated necessities of a college student. Without adequate sleep, our brains don’t function properly and neither does the rest of our bodies. When our bodies don’t get enough rest, our metabolisms can’t work to the best of their ability which means we burn calories at a much slower rate. In addition to not performing well on tests, not sleeping will make you unable to burn calories efficiently. Also, being tired makes you lazy. When you feel tired all you want to do is lay in bed and watch Law and Order- not go to the gym or run on a track. On average, our bodies need seven or eight hours of sleep per night to function properly. Those bags under your eyes? They’re not attractive- but they’re nothing compared to what not sleeping is doing to your insides.
Bottom line guys- cut the crap. Eat healthy. Exercise. Sleep. It sounds hard but once you get started on this routine you will have more energy. You will probably be doing better in school. You will definitely start noticing a difference in the way your ‘fat jeans’ fit you. And I promise those hideous eye bags will start to fade. Healthy is the way to go- trust me!
How do you stay fit at school?