Losing Weight in College: The Do’s and Don'ts

College can be a stressful time for everyone. From dealing with multiple exams and papers due every week to social engagements, sporting events, jobs/internships, etc., it can be hard to find the time to put the effort forth to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. For most people it’s true, the “Freshman 15” sneaks up on you like a bad cold or an impending due date for that paper you’ve been procrastinating on. Here are some of my tips that have worked for me on how to lose weight in college. 

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Do: Have a cyclic meal schedule and a balanced diet.

Ensuring to eat at least 2-3 meals in full a day filled with your necessary food groups (fruits, veggies, protein, grains, and dairy) will keep you satisfied all day long and prevent that midnight snacking that most of us tend to do. Lean proteins, such as chicken and fish (or tofu and beans for a more animal-friendly option), are a healthy alternative to other “heavy” meats such as beef and pork. Fruits, such as bananas, oranges, and berries and leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli are a great source of essential vitamins needed in order to maintain a healthy diet. Make sure to limit the amount of grains and dairy you consume since these tend to be the most calorie-ridden (and snackable) food groups. If you’re ever craving something from one of these two groups, reach for a healthy alternative, such as some pita bread and hummus or low-fat yogurt, in order to crush that craving.

Don’t: Skip meals and avoid certain food groups

Skipping meals is not healthy (this does not include fasting!). Skipping meals is an unhealthy alternative to a common dieting trend known as fasting. This is where the dieter only eats between a certain window of time, leaving the rest of the time for the body to digest and metabolize the food they consumed during it. If you skip a meal, you tend to miss out on a lot of the necessary food groups, specifically fruits, and vegetables. In order to prevent a skipped meal, try having 4-5 smaller meals closer together where you touch on one or two of the food groups instead of doing 2-3 big meals a day.

Do: Workout for at least 60 minutes a day

In college, an hour seems like a lifetime. During that time, you could watch two episodes of Friends, play a couple of rounds of Sudoku, or take a really solid nap. Instead of spending your time on one of those non-productive activities, swap it out for a 60-minute workout a couple of days a week. Go for a run or a bike ride outside if the weather is nice out. If you’re more into working out by yourself, head to the gym and pump out some sets in the weight room. If working out in a group setting is more your vibe, gyms on and around campuses offer a variety of exercise classes such as Zumba, cycling, BodyPump, and BodyCombat. Finding whatever exercise/exercise class you enjoy doing the most is probably one of the hardest tasks when it comes to losing weight. Most people don’t enjoy working out, so by finding an activity that not only interests you but is one you enjoy, it will make the weight loss process that much easier.

Don’t: Weigh yourself every day or forget to track your workouts

Some of the best advice that anyone can offer you during your weight-loss process would be to not weigh yourself every day. You are going to weigh differently every day due to what you eat, how much you work out, your stress-level, etc. so your weight is constantly fluctuating. It is also not healthy mentally because the number you read on the scale can either make your heart soar or break it into a million little pieces, thus affecting your outlook on the entire journey. Instead of tracking your weight every day, pick one day out of the week and a specific time to weigh yourself to accurately track your weight loss. Tracking your workouts is also beneficial and allows you to track the calories you burn during certain physical activities. 

Girls in the sunsetLosing weight is a long and gruesome journey at some points, but once you begin to see results, it makes all of the hard work you put into changing the way you live your life worth it. Sometimes you’ll feel like giving up and that you’re not seeing your desired results and that’s completely normal. It takes time to develop the necessary habits to trigger your weight loss, but if you continue to stick with your selected program or diet, you will see results! Take it from me, over the past 8 months I’ve managed to lose 35 pounds simply by eating a healthy diet and working out an hour a day 5-6 days a week and I have definitely seen results! The bottom line about losing weight in college really relies on one thing: YOU. You have to be the one who wants to make the change, who wants to see results, and who wants to stick with the process in order to meet your goals. I want everyone who is reading this to remember that everyone's body is completely different and certain things that might work for one person might not work for someone else. Trial and error is a part of life, therefore, keep trying to figure out what works for your specific body! If you can find that willpower and remember why you started, your possibilities are endless.