Three Simple Ways to Avoid Overeating in College

We’ve all heard about it: the dreaded “Freshman 15.” Dining hall food can just be too good to be true sometimes (Marquis desserts anyone??) or maybe you have a Wawa literally 5 minutes away from campus. And then you’ll hear at least one person saying: “I’m going on a diet” jokingly. Is a diet really necessary though? Is it possible to avoid the Freshman 15 and following three years of weight gain? Quite frankly, it is, and it’s not by dieting. Here are three tips that will keep your nutrition and eating habits in check.

 

Sugar-Free Carbonated Drinks

 

La Croix, Bubbly, and so many others! We all love them and we are all partial to one of them. Well, good news, nutritionists support drinking sugar-free carbonated drinks! It’s in the name, but these drinks are all sugar-free and zero calories. Most of them are flavored sparkling water, hence the zero calories. In comparison, a 12 ounce can of Coca Cola contains 39 grams of sugar, working out to about 140 calories per can. Both drinks are carbonated and both taste good, but one has minimal to no effect on the body.

 

Not only is it great that these drinks are sugar-free and zero calories, but its carbonated quality has benefits as well. When ingested, carbonation increases gastric activity and raises heart rate.This bloated feeling is the same as when your stomach feels full, meaning you won’t be as tempted to snack on foods if you think you’re full. Less snacking means less overeating in between meals. So when it comes down to it, keep some of your favorite La Croixs and Bubblys in your room rather than candy and cookies.

    

Water

 

Water, just like carbonated drinks, can keep you feeling fuller for longer. However, most people can drink much more water than they can a carbonated drink in one sitting. Dietitians recommend that you drink approximately half your body weight in ounces of water and an additional twenty ounces per half hour of physical activity. Now that’s a lot of water, I know. When it comes down to not overeating though, this can have a major impact.

 

Make it a goal to have a glass of water before each meal and right when you wake up in the morning. Not only is this beneficial to your body in so many more ways than one, but increasing your water intake is like increasing your body’s intake of food. This increase causes that “bloated” feeling in the stomach I stated earlier where your stomach believes that it is full to where your body will not want to eat more. Due to this, you will be less likely to snack in between meals.

 

Serving Sizes and Nutrition Facts

 

As annoying as it may be to check nutrition facts and serving sizes on packaged food, they are on there for a reason. Serving sizes represent how much of a particular nutrient or vitamin is recommended on a 2000 calorie diet, the average amount that most people should eat on a daily basis. Following serving sizes can help you understand how much to eat and what you are eating broken down by macromolecules and vitamins.

 

I know following serving sizes requires a lot of willpower, but this allows you to add some variety to what you eat. On top of drinking water or a carbonated drink, a serving size will be all that you can eat once you feel full.

 

So there you have it. While I could write so much more, these are three simple and effective ways to not overeat your way through college. Think before you choose your drink in a dining hall and don’t make a mountain on your plate. Make yourself accountable and results will follow.