Tips on eating healthy and staying active
Going away to college can be a fun and exciting time. For most, it is the first time that you are truly on your own and able to control your own life. No more mom and dad to tell you what to do. It’s all up to you and the choices you make.
Unfortunately, when many people go to college, they begin to make very poor health and eating choices and up pops the “Freshman 15,” those naughty little 15 pounds that seem to pack onto the bellies and thighs of some unfortunate college freshman all over the country. Not everyone gains the Freshman 15, in fact many people actually lose weight during their first year of college, but keeping those pounds at bay requires some good decision making when it comes to eating and exercise.
Keep the tips below in mind as you live the fabulous college life so you won’t become victim to this looming enemy:
- Stay active– When in high school, most students had gym or other another athletic class at least once (sometimes up to twice) a week and many students were also active in sport activities. Unless you have been recruited to be a star athlete for your college’s sports team, you’re in need of a replacement. Find the opportunity to be active on a regular basis through walking, running, biking, etc. Whether it’s a jog around campus, a walk to the student center vs getting a ride or biking downtown and back, the extra physical activity will do you good.
- Join the gym– Most colleges and universities have an athletic center on campus and membership is free or very cheap. Join the gym and take advantage. Most university athletic centers have a pool, tennis courts, weights, exercise equipment, basketball courts, you name it and most offer a myriad of classes to fit any need. But don’t just join the gym… GO. Get a workout buddy and make it a habit to work out regularly each week.
- Manage your portions– Most colleges have cafeteria eating and that means all you can eat all the time. This smorgasbord can be very tempting and it can be hard not to indulge in all your favorites when they are regularly available and in abundance. Don’t go crazy with portions, don’t keep piling food on the plate. Keep your portions reasonable, especially for high caloric and fatty foods.
- Don’t forget your veggies (and fruits)– Mom is not going to be there to remind you to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but you still need them to stay healthy. Incorporate a salad a day into your meals and make sure you have one vegetable with your dinner each night. Try to incorporate fresh fruit as well and grab an apple, orange, or banana on your way out and keep as a late night snack.
- Keeps unhealthy snacks at bay– There will be plenty of cake, cookies, chips, french fries, ice cream and more readily available. While you may want to dive in head first and on occasion make a meal of just fries, don’t. Do treat yourself, but not all the time. Keep a treat a treat and limit your daily consumption of these items. Giving yourself a limit (like one cookie a day) may help.
- Don’t forget water– Drinking water is important in maintaining overall health. Eight glasses a day should be your goal. Drinking water helps your metabolism operate at its ideal level and that gives your body a fighting chance of burning off some of those snacks.
Going away to college will result in growth in maturity, knowledge and potential… it shouldn’t be a growth in pants size too!
Photo credit: by klynslis