The infamous phrase, “the freshman fifteen”, isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Unfortunately, many new college students find themselves gaining weight soon after their first semester. And it’s not limited to freshman! Most college students steadily gain weight throughout their college careers thanks to the availability of fast food, pizza joints, and late night drinks.
College campuses and college towns make it easy to throw healthy habits out the window. Even those who genuinely try to keep a well-rounded diet find themselves at odds and starving because most restaurants and dining halls on campus are full of preservatives. It is easier, and often times cheaper, to settle for a quick meal from under a heating lamp. However, for the number of unhealthy selections on campus, there are equal healthy options – you just have to look a lot harder for them.
Find the Student Recreation Center
Every college campus is equipped with some form of a student recreation facility. These facilities are often times included in your tuition fees, making them “free” to students. Along with general cardio and weight training equipment, group exercise classes, personal training, and other fitness groups can be found in these centers as well.
Check the Bulletin Boards
Take the time to check out the bulletin boards inside dorms, classrooms, dining halls, etc. Chances are you will find various fun runs, fitness classes, and boot camps led by students for students. These are usually free to students and are put on by clubs or activity groups around campus to promote their programs.
Opt to Walk
The majority of students’ days are spent sitting. Sitting in class, sitting to study, sitting for breakfast or lunch. Break the mold and give your body some much needed energy by opting to walk whenever possible.
Most college campuses have an on-campus transit systems such as buses or trolleys. If you can, skip the ride and opt to walk to your next class. If your class buildings have elevators, take the stairs instead. Small changes like these can snowball into great results if you stick with them.
No one likes to grocery shop, especially poor college kids who can undoubtedly find dozens of better things to do with their free time. However, when you buy your own groceries, you become aware of what you are purchasing and consuming. Not to mention it is a significantly cheaper route than eating out for every meal.
Pack Your Own
Once you commit to the dreaded grocery shopping, you will be able to pack your own snacks and meals. Many food companies have begun packaging their foods specifically for snack packs and portion control. By throwing a few bags of nuts, an apple, or some crackers in your bag on your way out the door, you can spare your body the harsh effects of repeatedly feeding it fast foods.
A Few Healthy & Easy Snack Ideas for Your Backpack
- Nuts; almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.
- Rice Cakes
- Cheese Sticks
- Organic Granola Bars
Set a Goal
Whether you are headed to your very first day of college or starting a new semester, make a health conscious goal for yourself. This goal can range anywhere from a weekly number of gym visits, to a specific number on the scale. Whatever best fits your life and your needs.
By being proactive and aware of your options, you can prevent unwanted weight gain and focus on enjoying those college years!