College Weight Gain

Many people know the dreaded feeling of putting on the “freshman 15”. They get to school with a large wardrobe of stylish clothing only to find out that it fits quite a bit tighter than when they first bought it or it does not fit at all after the first few months of being at school. The reasons for this are simple. The fast-paced living that often necessitates fast food, the tendency to consume alcohol, and the lack of exercise often associated with college life leads to extra pounds being packed away, but with the right strategies you can avoid this path.

A student who has three or four exams and maybe an essay thrown in for fun all in one week may not worry about what they are eating. In fact, they will often gravitate toward more high calorie foods as they are generally easier and faster than healthier meals. Students on the go will often grab Pop Tarts for breakfast before they head out the door, some greasy pizza from the dining hall for lunch, and tacos or a hamburger for dinner. These choices are often made because students can eat them quickly on breaks in classes and studying, allowing more time to be productive (or to play HALO). While indulging in the occasional burger might not ruin your health it is definitely not something you should do every day. Instead of high calorie foods you should make things like low fat yogurt and granola breakfast staples, Subway or other healthy sandwiches a solid choice for lunch, and meals with vegetables and healthy proteins like chicken breast for dinner.

Many students find themselves gaining weight because they have been consuming too much alcohol. While this can be caused by a desire to party hard or needing an escape from the stress of school, it does happen. By switching the type of alcoholic drinks you consume you can knock out plenty of calories and sugar from your daily intake while still being able to enjoy yourself to your heart’s content. If you are drinking a dark, rich beer then switch to lager. If lager beer leaves you with too many calories then you can switch to light beer. You can further reduce your intake by switching to hard liquor mixed with diet drinks or soda water, with clear liquor like vodka or gin being the best choices for watching calorie intake. Granted the smarter choice would be avoiding drinking altogether, but you may want to have the occasional drink.

Exercise can be hard to come by in college. Students often find themselves too caught up in studying and having fun to get a good workout in. You can find subtle ways to get a little extra exercise by doing things like putting more books in your backpack before you go to class, giving you more weight to tote every day. You can do a few calisthenic exercises while you watch your favorite television program. You can start taking walks or playing sports like soccer with friends. Forming intramural sports teams is a great way to get a workout while having fun. These things will probably not keep you in amazing shape, but they will keep you from gaining too much weight.

These are just a few solutions to the problem of weight gain during school. By subtly implementing them you will begin to see the changes and be on your way to a return to fitness.