We might not like to admit it, but it’s always on our minds. Murmurs while walking out of BD, whispers in Whispers, and rumblings in the DUC. It pushes us to hit the South 40 gym and take the stairs instead of the elevator. That’s right ladies, the freshman 15. While I’ve only been here about a month, I consider that enough time to develop a theory for becoming 15 fearless and I feel it is my duty to spread the word. No, P90X and weeklong juice cleanses will not be necessary.
Becoming 15 fearless is easier than it sounds. To me, it’s broken down into two important sections: food and fitness. Most importantly, you have to feel good about whatever you’re doing. This is what works for me and I think you might like it too, but if you don’t, this isn’t the only way!
1. Eat protein. Snacking on m&m’s, goldfish, and even a salad will not fill you up! You’ll only get hungry fast, then eat more. Nutritionist Connie Diekman (of the famed Connie’s Choice products) noted that females rarely get enough protein and we need to “fuel our bodies.” She recommends small, protein-packed meals more often, especially because they work with our on-the-go lifestyles! Her adorable catch phrase is “don’t count your calories, make your calories count!” I like hummus, rice cakes and peanut butter, string cheese or trail mix as protein goodies!
2. Timing. BD might be open until 2, but that doesn’t mean you should take advantage of it. You’ll regret that 1 am half and half on Friday morning, trust me. Personally, I just avoid going to BD past 10 pm because nothing good will come of that.
3. Treat yourself. You don’t need to feel guilty every time you have something sweet. We all have our downfalls – mine are those stellar jem cookies. There are other ways to get your sweet fix, however. Try the froyo or skinny cow individual ice creams from Paws and Go, iced coffee, or dark chocolate chips (my personal favorite satisfying sweet treat). Connie’s choice devils food cupcakes are under 200 calories! That said … everything in moderation.
4. Proportions. with food in your room, portion it out for yourself when you’re having a snack. If you take the bag of chips from the shelf to your bed, you’re basically guaranteed to eat the whole thing. Instead, put it in a small cup and then put the bag away to only have a serving size.
1. Make it fun. A lot of people dread going to the gym, but there’s something for everyone there. Try out different classes and cardio machines to see what you like. I personally love to be outside. Running in Forest Park or going on a fast walk with a friend on a nice day makes me feel so good!
2. Timing (again). You don’t have to set aside half your day to work out. You don’t even have to set aside two hours. Just as much time as you have. 20 minutes on the elliptical is better than no minutes at all! It sounds silly, but if you work hard for that short amount of time, you can have an effective workout and you can feel good afterwards. It’ll also get you in the habit of just hitting the gym.
3. Fit it in your schedule. You won’t have free time to just work out when you’re bored. Scheduling it into your week will help motivate you to go. Maybe a day you have a big break between classes is a nice time for a half hour on the bike. Deikman and I discussed how walking from class to class is not a sufficient workout. So girls, that excuse doesn’t fly. Try doing a windy route on your way back from class or take a lap from Seigle to Olin with your backpack on for some added cardio.
4. Make friends. There’s no reason why working out can’t be a social experience. Join a club or group that does physical activity! Dance groups like Diwali, Wash U Hip Hop Union or WU Cypher are cool opportunities to learn something new, meet someone new, and stay active! Also, organizing an IM sports teams with friends or floor mates is a really fun way to participate in a sport, especially if you played in high school (or never played but always wanted to)! With IM sports teams you can also schedule practices for added exercise. Scheduling it for your team will make you follow through, because they are depending on you! Another option is grabbing a friend and taking a class at the fitness center – Zumba is so fun, it doesn’t even feel like a workout!
5. Goals. Set achievable goals for yourself, and then think of nice rewards for when you achieve them. Emphasis on achievable: don’t tell yourself you’re going to run a marathon over December break. You probably aren’t. Instead, realistic goals will fulfill you instead of leaving you disappointed when you fall short. As for rewards, I like to treat myself to a new piece of workout gear for accomplishing something. I feel great when I know I look cool (can you say neon Nikes?) and it makes me feel better about being out there.
At the end of the day, being happy at college is more important than any number of pounds you could gain or lose. While fitness might help your mind (a run sure helps clear my head), any guilt you might have about eating or not working out is destructive. Instead, focus on the positive things you do and try and do that more often. Like my awesome new wall decal says, “every day is filled with awesome.” So make every day an awesome and 15 fearless day!