Hello there lovely ladies, and welcome to college life in beautiful SLO. Worrying about gaining the freshman 15? After all, the moment college life starts, so do new habits. More alcohol, plus more late night feats, plus less exercise equals a not-so-balanced lifestyle! Here are 15 tips for staying on track and avoiding the dreaded first-year weight phenomenon.
1. Make a schedule
Whether it’s a daily, weekly or monthly schedule, the main idea is to be aware of your time. Organize your priorities and plug them into your available hours. It’s easier to be healthy with a schedule in mind because you can plan your meals, cook in advance and pack snacks (instead of having no choice but to get a cookie from Julian’s…) as well as scheduling some time for working out.
2. Never skip meals
Especially not breakfast! Since you haven’t eaten for seven or eight hours, it’s super important to get something in your stomach no more than 60 minutes after you wake up. We suggest a balanced breakfast that includes protein, carbs (like fruit) and healthy fats. Try a veggie omelette prepared in olive oil with some sliced melon on the side!
Eating mini-meals every three hours will ward off your mid-class drowsiness. Plus, snacking is better for your metabolism than eating three huge meals a day or binging towards the end of the night.
4. Keep good foods near
“Good foods” are healthy yet delicious snack foods like fruits, veggies, whole-grain popcorn, peanut butter, hummus, pita bread, etc. These are great to have nearby when you’re stressed or want something to munch on while doing homework; you know you’re going to reach for something, so might as well make it a healthy choice!
5. Keep good foods on-the-go
Keep smart choices already packed in sandwich bags/containers in case, for example, your study group meeting has slipped your mind and you have to leave quickly.
6. Learn more about nutrition
Learning about what is good for your body and more importantly why it is good for you makes taking care of your body easier. The trans- or saturated fat, high sodium, sugary foods you once craved become easier to avoid when you’re aware of the effects they can have on the body. That being said, we’re all about balance at Her Campus Cal Poly, so don’t stop eating these foods completely—just make sure you’re eating them in moderation!
7. Watch your alcohol intake
Alcohol is one of the biggest culprits of college weight gain, primarily because it has a lot of calories and literally zero nutrients. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop going to parties. Instead, be strategic: choose vodka and diet soda over super-sugary mixes, and go for a light beer instead of a regular one. You should also have a glass of water after each drink, which will prevent you from binge-drinking and keep you hydrated (goodbye, Sunday morning hangover!).
8. Water! Water! Water!
We can’t enforce this enough. Water is the easiest way for the body to detox. The more hydrated you are, the better your metabolism works. Get a cute thermos or bottle if you need motivation to sip on the go!
9. Get out there!
Instead of taking the bus to class, think about walking, biking, or hey, even roller blading. Maybe get a group on your floor to do a weekly soccer game. A lot of Cal Poly students use the sand volleyball courts at the recreation center so they can get some Vitamin D while playing outside.
10. Beware of “All Natural”
It’s easy to scan through the local grocery store and think, “Well, I want to be healthy… Hey, these cookie snacks are all natural? Yes!” When advertising says “all natural,” it is a sly way of misguiding the buyer into thinking that all natural means good for you. However, the phrase really doesn’t mean anything. The FDA or USDA doesn’t have a set standard or process for labeling something “all natural,” so don’t be fooled. Those cookies are still unhealthy!
11. Get enough sleep
This is the one suggestion that’s most surprising to students. When you don’t get enough sleep, not only is your metabolism thrown out of whack, but you’re also less capable of making healthy choices. Getting a full eight hours helps you say no to your third Oreo and yes to a banana instead.
12. Ask yourself “Why am I eating?”
Are you eating because you are bored or studying and need something to munch on? It is quite common for students to need something to crunch on when studying because it helps some of us focus. In this case, grab a pack of gum, not potato chips.
13. Make a pact with your friends or roommates
Being healthy is way more fun and much easier to maintain when you’re doing it with your friends. Keeping each other on track is also a plus!
14. Avoid peer pressure
Next time your study buddies or roommates want to take a midnight pizza run, do not feel obligated to eat a ton if you don’t feel like it. Maybe only have one slice, or bring along a snack to eat with your pizza.
15. Try chia seeds or other super foods
Chia seeds are super popular right now, and for good reason—they help you feel fuller and pack a huge nutritional punch. They’re full of omega-3s, which help your body produce essential amino acids, as well as fiber. Other awesome triple-threat foods to add to your diet? Coconut oil (make healthy brownies!), flax seeds (great for baking), and blueberries (sprinkle some into your oatmeal).
Keep these tips in mind, new collegiette, and you’ll be right on track this year!