Going off to college is undoubtedly an exciting time in life. You enter a new stage in life, establish new relationships and assume a ton of new responsibilities. Most of the time, living on your own becomes a first, and one of the most important things you now have to do is feed yourself.
College students, however, are often left with limited options when it comes to dining options. More times than not, anything accessible and affordable is liable to be eaten, and that pretty much narrows it down to nothing but unhealthy choices like snacks and heavily processed foods. When that’s what a majority of your diet consists of, gaining weight and becoming apart of the infamous “Freshman 15” should almost be an expectation.
For those who don’t know or aren’t familiar, the freshman 15 refers to the 15 pounds that freshmen generally gain after their first year of college. To avoid becoming a victim and gaining weight yourself, we’ve made a list to help you out! Check out these methods and give a few of them a try!
1. Drink More Water
With just a few searches on Google, you’d find an overwhelming amount of research that supports the idea of water playing a vital role in gaining weight. Increasing your water intake not only keeps you feeling full throughout the day, but it also has a positive effect on your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories!
If you’re not sure how to incorporate more water into your lifestyle, don’t overthink it. Try substituting what would normally be a soda at dinner with a bottle of water. Set a realistic goal of how much you want to drink per day at remain conscious of that goal as your day goes on. You could even buy a water bottle on Amazon that has timestamped water levels printed on the bottle itself to motivate you to keep drinking! Do know that you will be visiting the restroom a LOT more, but the benefits will be totally worth it.
2. Track Your Calories
It’s one of two ways you can accomplish tracking your calories to prevent yourself from gaining weight.
If you’re already somewhat familiar and knowledgeable of calories and having balanced meals, this step alone will essentially guarantee you success. Depending on your characteristics (weight, height, age), there are certain apps like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt! that’ll provide you with a healthy and adequate amount of calories you should be consuming per day. At that point, all you have to do is scan either a bar code or QR code of anything you eat, and the app automatically tracks the calories and macronutrients for you! Knowing your limits and remaining within them is crucial when it comes to the avoidance of gaining weight.
If you’re not-so-knowledgeable of the caloric breakdown of the foods you eat on the regular, just simply try to be more mindful of what you’re putting in your body. Try to cut down on fast food, fried foods and anything else that you already know isn’t good for you. Your diet is just as important as exercising when trying to prevent yourself from gaining weight so make sure you’re on top of it!
3. Intermittent Fasting
What you eat is clearly very important. However, when you eat is quite important, too. Intermittent fasting is the idea of only eating within a certain time window, and fasting everything but water for the remainder of the day. For example, the most popular fasting time-frame amongst people who utilize this method is 16/8. They fast for 16 hours of the day, and during the other eight hours, they are sure to consume all of their needed calories. This helps you stop gaining weight because once your body runs out of carbs to use for energy during the fasting hours, it starts to use your fats as an energy source!
Consistency Is Key
Staying dedicated and consistent is of the utmost importance when referring to the prevention of gaining weight. None of these tips will help much if you only utilize them for a day or two and return back to practicing bad habits. Stay focused, keep your eyes on the goal (or in the mirror in this case) and by the end of your first year in college, the freshman 15 won’t even be a thought in your mind!