With the many stresses of coming to college, many students fall victim to the dreaded freshman 15. I don’t want you to suffer from the unneeded weight gain that plagues college students across the U.S. and the world due to stress, poor nutrition habits, and lack of exercise.
It isn’t their fault, or your fault if you’ve fallen victim, but it IS in your power to change and prevent. I’m going to show you how, because if I could do it, anyone can do it!
Recognize the Causes, Why Does This Occur
New individuals to college are thrown into a world of fast paced classes, swarming student stampedes, and a completely new life style than before; independence. You have to regulate your own schedule, activities and nutrition. You have to manage all of your classes, studying, paying rent, laundry and countless other responsibilities, which is why exercise and healthy eating can fall to the wayside. Here are some things to watch out for before we get into how to fix it.
Dining Halls – As a freshman, you will most likely get on a very convenient and well marketed meal plan at college. Dining halls are amazing and contain so many foods that are prepared daily. However, upon coming to college, the sudden opportunity for unlimited pizza, ice cream and soda can overwhelm many students, and the resulting daily binge becomes a habit.
Coffee – I love coffee. I drink a lot of coffee. Chances are, you will come to love it as well when it gets you through your final exams. Universities are typically loaded with Starbucks and other coffee shops, not to mention Dunkin and Krispy Kremes outside the college gates.
Stay away from the sugary and fatty drinks! As amazing as they are, drinks like macchiato and frappuccino are loaded with unnecessary calories that add up quickly over time. Do your body and wallet a favor by paying less for a classic espresso or espresso drink, and cut off hundreds of unneeded calories.
Lack of Exercise – If you have poor time management skills or haven’t made daily activity a habit, it can seem daunting to fit in exercise on top of all your other responsibilities. However, IT IS NECESSARY.
I am here to tell you that sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to your health. If you don’t believe me, please visit these sites and read about how sitting too much can cause cancers, heart disease, obesity and other terrible conditions.
Alcohol – Hold on, hold on, hold on. I am all for having fun and I enjoy going out with friends often. The big bad wolf is that in college, the most common drinks are beers or sugary and poorly made cocktails. Also, people tend to drink much more at college than anywhere else, and calories add up quickly.
If a typical beer is 150 calories, and you have eight of them with your friends, congratulations you have consumed 1200 calories. That, on top of the pizza and 400 calorie coffee we discussed earlier, has put you way past your calorie needs and will be stored as fat.
Stress – This is a big one. You may be wondering, “How does being stressed out cause weight gain?” It is a semi-complicated series of events that I can go into more detail with on a future post, but at its base, stress causes the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is great in small amounts because it helps us to wake up, recognize threats and it keeps us alive.
The negative comes from a prolonged cortisol release resulting from long bouts of stress, lack of sleep, elevated caffeine intake, and consumption of poor quality foods. The effect is a crazy amount of inflammation within the body that turns you into a fat storing machine. You feel low on energy, burnt out, and heavier.
How to Solve the Problem and Lose the Weight Fast!
I am going to give you the solutions to solve this weight gains and make it as easy or simple as possible so that you can implement this fast!
Eat Less Bad Stuff, Eat More Good Stuff – Stay away from calorie loaded and energy depleting foods. These include pizza, ice cream, fried chicken, fries, fried anything, and sugary drinks like soda. Eat more healthy foods that you can find in nature, such as grilled or baked chicken, fish, leafy greens, fruits, and eggs.
In the dining halls, there will be stations that can make you custom sandwiches or wraps, and omelets. Go with these and eat foods that will give you amazing energy and keep you lean.
Move More – This is super easy and makes a huge difference. Start walking everywhere. Walking daily between classes, up stairs, to and from your dorm/apartment, and to wherever you are eating will help you add up the calories burned throughout the day. Walking directly after eating helps your body utilize energy and store less as fat!
Get up while studying. Take a break to do some push ups or just walk around. Keep your blood pumping and don’t fall victim to the many conditions that sitting can cause.
Make it a point to exercise every day. It helps if it is the same time daily and can become a habit. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy or any longer than 30 minutes, but daily exercise will help you shed weight and perform better in the classroom. In college, I went to the gym every day around 4PM because that was when the parking restrictions were lifted and I could park there without a ticket.
Create Physical Goals and Crush Them – Make amazing goals for yourself. If you want to run 3 miles, bench 300lbs, do 100 push ups or 20 pull-ups, or whatever your goals may be, write them down and look at them often. Take actions toward them daily, and your body will surprise you by what it can achieve. It doesn’t matter where you start, it just matters that you start. Recognize your progress and enjoy the journey!
Look at the Mirror, Not the Scale! The scale only shows you a number that will fluctuate frequently and cause you unneeded stress. You want to focus on improving how you look in the mirror and how you feel every day.
If going up the stairs becomes easier one week than the week prior, THAT’S AWESOME! It doesn’t matter if the scale showed the same number because you progressed and made yourself improve!
Reduce alcohol consumption and frequency. Limit alcohol to the weekends and have a plan for how much you want to drink. Keep in mind that those are calories you need to burn off beforehand. Train hard and then reward yourself. Enjoy life, but have a plan and earn it!
Choose Your Friends and Who You Hang Around – This can be said for anything, but choose to hang around people that are fit and healthy. Hang around people that you want to look like so that you can be inspired to work harder toward your goals. If you are hanging out with overweight individuals that are negative, complain about their weight, and blame their life on circumstances, you will stay like them!!!
This is brutal, but spend less time with people who are negative and do not take good care of themselves. You want to be inspired and motivated to make progress, not brought down or filled with negative lies.
Focus on What You Want, Not What You Don’t Want – Two people with the same goal can achieve two very different results just by what they think.
One person is trying to lose weight and says all the time, “I hate the way I look, I’m too fat, I need to lose this weight, I’m just big-boned, it runs in my family” and yada yada yada. This person will not see the change and results they want. They are limiting themselves and subconsciously keeping themselves in the same place.
The other person trying to lose weight says all the time, “I can’t wait to look and feel better, no matter where I was I am going to get fit, I’m not going to let my genetics or past get in the way of my goals, I am going to be fit, I am healthy, I want to inspire others through my success!” This person will change his/her own life and the lives of others.
Hacks For Even Faster Results!
Drink a lot of water, and put lemon in it whenever you can! This will help you to feel less hungry and reduce inflammation in your body!
Subject yourself to cold conditions! This is so cool (ha, get it?) and is called “cold thermogenesis”.
Basically, when you feel cold, your body must heat itself up to regulate your internal temperature (homeostasis). This requires calories and you become a fat burning furnace.
You can do this by simply drinking cold water, ending your showers with cold water (or just taking cold showers if you dare), wearing fewer layers in the colder months, sleeping with less covers on, and even keeping ice packs on your stomach (not directly but through a shirt).
Start your day with some coffee and movement. Wake up, drink some coffee (no cream or sugar) and do 15 to 20 minutes of light activity before you eat. This will help your body to partition nutrients the way you want and change your body’s metabolism. It will also liquidate some of your fat stores and start your fat burning processes first thing in the morning.
Combine resistance training with cardio! Lift weights in a circuit-like fashion with shorter rest
periods, and with movement between sets such as jogging, jumping jacks, or burpees. This will keep your heart rate elevated and cause you to burn a way higher amount of calories!
Limit dairy and breads. Foods such as milk, cheese, pastas, cereals and bread are not inherently bad or unhealthy, but they cause large amounts of inflammation within the body and create a fat storing environment.
Limiting or cutting out these foods can make a huge difference and allow you to drop weight very quickly!
Before you say I’m full of it, give it a try and see what happens! You will be shocked!
Empowerment and Inspiration
You can do this! No more excuses or reasons why you can’t. No more negative habits.
You decide how you want to look and feel from this day forward! You are amazing and capable of so much! Believe in yourself, take small actions toward your goals each day, and conquer your fitness! Your past and your genetics do not hold you back anymore! SO many people with diseases, asthma,
deformities, and loss of limbs have gone on to do incredible physical feats. They believed they could and so they did.
I grew up as a very chubby kid. I endured bullying because of it, and developed a passion for physical improvement so that I wouldn’t have to feel or look like that ever again. If I can do it, then YOU can do it!
Decide, Act, and Live!
If You Need Further Help, Let Me Know!
I am here to help and support you. Feeling more fit and healthy will allow you to conquer college and experience life to the fullest! You will have more energy, better grades, and more fun!
Please, if you have questions, comment below or email me!
Conquer College and Dominate your Life!
If you’re interested in more tips on fitness, academics and social life in college, check out my book on Amazon, How To Conquer College! You won’t be disappointed!