Life can get crazy so keep in mind that you don't have to religiously stick to these programs. Many of these will get you amazing results if you just keep the habit up and do a couple workouts a week. It's important to have a plan, without one we are doomed to fail.
What they say is true - College very well might be the best time or your life, so why not be in the best shape of your life? Stress from classes cause stress eating and all nighters that throw your whole body out of whack. Not to mention the beer pong on the weekends. I bet you are probably feeling the effects of the Freshman 15..... or in my case 30.
Have no fear the ultimate college weight loss guide is here! As a junior finishing up my year I was determined to make senior year the best year yet. So here are all the tips, tricks, and weight loss advice I have to get you on the track for a lean, sexy, and healthy, spring break ready body.
Part 1: The College Girl's Guide to Weight Loss with Healthy Eating
The Right Mind Set
As I'm sure you are already well aware, I can tell you that we, college students, struggle with eating well. It's hard to eat healthy/nutritious food. No time? No money? No kitchen? And how do you boil an egg? (I seriously did not know. Shout out to Google for answering life's important questions) This is seriously the only guide you'll need to get healthy, and even lose weight in the process!
First, lets get one thing straight... absolutely NO diets. Unless you plan to give up carbs for the rest of your life, or whatever else your diet has you restricting, here is what will happen:
Now that we have the idea of "diets" out of the picture we can start making progress! It's all about your frame of mind. The idea is to do your best and for the most part make good choice more often than bad choices. Do not strive for perfection, you will fail.
Simply focusing on making good choices, you can start making progress towards your fitness goals and avoid being discouraged by one or two cheat meals. If you expect yourself to be perfect you make yourself more valuable to binge eating.
So weight loss might be your ultimate goal but eating healthy does not need to imply dieting. I HATE dieting. Its inconvenient, make you hunger, and not eating a cupcake in like impossible. Imagine this: eat till you are full, no counting calories, no guilt.
This healthy eating and weight loss guide will be strongly centered around the Paleo Diet (Diet as in eating habits). If you are unfamiliar with this concept here is a quick start guide to get you started on the right track.
Simply put, Paleo revolves around eating what our ancient ancestors ate. This includes food groups such as fish, meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, and natural oils. So, the goal is to minimize gains and processed foods, sugar and grease.
Now before you get discouraged, remember we are not striving for perfection. A good, solid effort is all you need. Here is an example of what you can expect to eat (and how to incorporate it into a college budget).
- Meats - (Yay Protein!) Fish is expensive.... I stick to chicken. There are so may ways you can cook it and it's cheap. (George Forman grills quickly became by best friend). I also eat tuna, a can of tuna in WATER is not very expensive and has a like 18 grams of protein. (Read why Protein is essential to lean muscle)
- Veggies - I try and eat as many kinda of veggies as I can, but for budget purposes I stick to whats on sale and in season. Asparagus panfried in olive oil with garlic is delicious! Or the same goes with peppers! You can find recipes for any vegetable dish here.
- Fruits - I love fruit and it's so easy to take an apple or banana with you if you are on the go. Smoothies are also great, especially if you add superfood powder. Talk about a nutritional kick in the butt!
- EGGS - I love eggs and there are crazy amounts of different ways to make them. Scrambled, seasoned, omelets, hard boiled, the possibilities are endless.
- Water and Tea - DRINK water! Check out this guide to spice water up if it gets a little boring and teas have an incredible about of nutrients.
This is just an example of what worked for me, my budget, and and my taste buds. Take this outline and customize to your own liking, just try to stay close as you can to the paleo guidelines.
Some of you might not like the idea of giving up chips or other junk foods and that ok too, just keep the following principles in mind:
TOP 10 Eating Tips For College Weight Loss
- Don't eat of of the bag - Pour those chips into a bowl, other wise you'll end up eating almost, if not, the whole bag
- Don't use a cafeteria tray - you'll pile too much food, only eat what you can carry to your table with your own hands
- When eating fast food always go with small sizes - I don't care if it's only 50 cents to upgrade. Essentially you could be paying 50 cents for 400 more calories (Check out my Eating Healthy While Eating Out article for more tips on this topic)
- Track your progress - Use fitness apps like (Lose it!, or MyFitnessPal) to keep track of calories and try out a fitness tracker like (Jawbone, or Fitbit)
- Limit your sugar intake - Did you know your body makes fat cell from sucrose? Not all calories are created equally. A bag of skittles with 250 calories is not the same as a turkey sandwich with 250 calories. Turkey sandwich has nutrition and will fuel your body.
- Stay Hydrated - with water not diet soda. Your body needs at least 8 cups of water a day. Bored of water try tea, flavored water, or fruit infused water. (Article on Healthy Water Alternatives)
- Starvation is not going to help - binge diets and limiting your calories intake to less then 1200 calories a day might "work" but it's a temporary fix. Starving your body will kill you metabolism and you'll gain all that weight back plus extra because your body will want to prepare for another starvation period.
- Snack! - eat little snacks throughout the day. I eat something every 3 to 4 hours. Gives me energy throughout the day and prevents me from getting really hungry and binge eating. I always have a granola bar, apple, nuts, or banana with me. (Find out what "fitness" foods are worth eating here)
- Breakfast - I know you've heard it but eat sometime for breakfast. If i'm not hungry I grab a banana and et it on the go. Also drink a glass of water when you wake up. Your body will be dehydrated from sleeping.
- Don't Try To Be Perfect - don't try to be world's healthiest eater. And give yourself a break if you splurge. Don't hold it against yourself. Every day is new chance to get it right. Want to know how to start eating healthy and cook your own natural meals? check out this cookbook.
Weather or not you want to add the Paleo principle to your eating habits, Here are more great ways to incorporate healthy eating in to your college life!
Meal Plan? 3 Tips for Eating In the Dinning Hall
1. Always Pick The Good Options
This is a really simple concept. Dinning hall give us so many choices. You name it, you can probably fine it. The trick is to navigate through the bad, unhealthy options. Even though you have to eat in a dinning hall and have a meal plan, you still have the power to make smart choices. Here are some common healthy options available:
- Grilled chicken
- Cooked vegetables
- Fresh Fruit (Apples, Bananas, etc.)
- Salad bar (top with boiled eggs, beans, etc.)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Veggie stir-fry
Chances are your school has multiple dinning halls. Visit a few to get an idea of what kinds of food they serve and pick the once that best fit you tastes.
2. Eat With Friends
So chances are you are probably going to be eating with friends. Let them help you make good choice and stay accountable. Invite them to join you on your healthy eating journey (share this guide with them). If nothing else, they can help you make the healthy choice and keep you on the right track. Use them as a support system. They will be there to make sure you grab the gilled chicken instead of pizza and fries. Also pick a seat away from the self-serve ice cream and desert bar.
3. Be PICKY
If they are serving spaghetti and meatballs, and you are trying to eat with the paleo principles in mind, feel free to request just the meatballs. The same goes for chicken sandwich of burger. Request the meat and leave the grains behind. Then you can go ahead and have a grilled chicken salad.
Common Healthy Eating Roadblocks...
Yikes... so you are required to be on a meal plan? Don't let that stop you form eating healthy! Here are common challenges students encounter and how to conquer them!
- Don't like whats being served?
- If you don't like the hot food being offered feel free to mix it up with other parts of the dining hall. Add the grilled chicken to a salad from the salad bar. Many schools have multiple dinning halls that specialize in their own kind of foods. Try them out and see which on best fits you taste.
- I'm a Veggitaian
- Dining hall usually have vegetarian options, but if you don't like what being served you can always go for the salad bar and add protein like eggs, nuts, beans, or hummus.
- I Get Hungry Between Meals and Late at Night
- Avoid the vending machine and keep healthy snacks in your dorm. Ideas: nuts, fresh fruit (sneak it from the dinning hall), popcorn, canned tuna, hummus, sting cheese, veggies, yogurt. Some thing amazing happens when you don't buy junk food: you don't eat, and you don't gain weight a a result.
- Friends just ordered pizza, tacos, etc. What now?
- If you are really craving it - don't deny it to your self. Eat ONE slice. It's on to give into your cravings but don't go over board. Practice moderation.
Dorm w/o Kitchen? Healthy Eating in Dorms
You want to commit to a healthier lifestyle but your dorm room in tiny and you don't have a full kitchen. No problem. Most people in this situation buy a meal plan, survive on frozen pizzas, or just eat out all the time (this can get very expensive, very quickly).
Some of you are lucky enough to have a stove and sink, other wise I strongly suggest you invest in a mini fridge and a microwave. Microwave is associated with unhealthy foods, this is were our creativity is going to step in.
Healthy Microwave Meal Ideas:
When Cravings Attack!
Alright ladies, we all get those chocolately and sugary carvings. But what should you do when they hit? First, read my article on How To Fix Sugar Cravings. If the craving still persists and there is no way to avoid it, treat yourself! My weakness is Ice Cream. I LOVE it, even in the dead of winter once a month a must have my ice cream. So what do I do?
I let myself have it. Life is too short not to eat your favorite foods. But keep in mind that life can be shorter if you indulge yourself too often. Sweeten that sugary tooth! Here are some healthy desert ideas that can actually help boost your metabolism.
Now it's up to you to apply all these new tips and tricks. Did you know it takes 21 days to form a habit? That's less than a month. and you can be well on your way to a healthy lifestyle. Health eating if just half the process of losing weight, the other half is exercise and fitness activities.
Part 2: The College Girl's Guide to Weight Loss with Exercise
Now that we have our healthy eating bases covered lets talk about working out. Between a part time job, school, exams, and a social life, who has time? And if you are like me, when you do have time, the last thing on earth you want to go is get sweaty.
That's ok, because getting your fitness in does into have to be an everyday thing. We have TONS of tips and tricks to get you started! As mentioned before, don't strive for perfection - you'll only beat yourself up when you don't measure up to impossible standards. Here are the 3 most common roadblocks and solutions to get your fitness on!
Roadblock 1. NO MONEY
You don't need a gym membership exercise. If you are living in dorms you probably have free access to the gym facilities around campus. Some apartment complexes also on site include gym access.Some of you might not like going to the gym and I don't blame you, can can get boring really fast.
- Go for a walk or jog around campus - If you are not sure know to start running this can help. Being out doors will give you fresh air which has been shown to destress and improve problem solving capabilities.
- Join a team. - you are surrounded with opportunities. join a sports team or dance club. You would be surprised with how many different active groups there are. Join a Salsa dancing club or Ultimate Frisbee group)
- Walk or Bike to Class - If it's a nice day, walk to class and if you have time take a longer, more senic route. Instead of waiting for class to start in 10 minutes, walk an extra lap around the building.
- Take a Hike - depending on your location, you probably have some great hiking trainls. Grab some friends and even make a picnic out of it (healthy snacks of course)
- Try a Track workout - running is a great way to burn calories and a treadmill can get boring. Running on a track is a great way to really get your heart pumping! Alternating speed will also give you more variety.
- Practice Yoga - depending on you rooming situation, you might not even need to leave the house! There are so many health benefits of yoga but did you know there is a yoga program that can burn more calories than jogging? Check it out (if yoga peaks you interests check out my Top 5 Yoga Program Guide)
Roadblock 2. NO TIME
Not having time is an illusion. You can't say you "don't have time" when you very well know you spent 30 minutes on Facebook today - stalking. Or binge watch the latest season release on Netflix. You have the time. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, no one cheated and got 25.
So how can you get the most our of a workout with the least amount of time required? With the time it would take you to get to the gym, you could have completed your workout! Here are some great workout plans to get you started.
TOP 5 Weight Loss Programs
|Weight Loss Program||Days per Week||Time Per Workout||Product Rating||Visit Official Website|
|3 Days||45 min||10/10|
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|3 Days||20 min||10/10|
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|3 Days||22 min||9/10|
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|7 Days||21 min||7/10|
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Take time to schedule in a workout, and lay your workout clothes out the night before. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get a early workout in.
Still want more tips? Check out these articles on how to lose weight when you are short on time:
- Things To Do At Work For Weight Loss
- Subtle Ways To Incorporate Exercise
- How To Fit Fitness In A Busy Schedule
- Get In Shape Without A Gym
Roadblock 3. "I'm too tired..."
No. You are in the best physical and mental shape of your life. Once you hit 30 it's down hill from there. There is a difference between being tired and lazy. Unless you've pulled an all nighter you are not tired. So, how do you over come the laziness?
- Just Do It - Half the battle is putting on your shoes. And a half-ass workout is better than nothing. Did you know exercise can actually give you a energy boost?
- Don't procrastinate - Go to the gym or do you workout RIGHT after school/work. The first thing you should do is workout. If you let yourself slip into comfy clothes and lay down on the couch, it's going to be near impossible to get in the mood to workout.
- Morning Workout - If you are a morning person, adjust your sleeping schedule and do a quick workout in the morning. Some of those workouts mentioned in the table above only require 20 minutes.
- Get a Workout Buddy - Find a friend that want to get active. This could be a gym buddy, running parter or workout friend. Having someone will make you more accountable
- Don't Workout Daily - Don't make it a priority to workout every single day. This will quickly wear you out. Instead commit to two to three days so you can rest and re charge in-between.
- Tired Body or Tired Mind - Are you mentally exhausted from your day or from physical labor. A quick cure for a tired mind is exercise.
If you are low on energy you should see it a reason to workout not a reason to avoid it. In the end, just focus on the benefits. Workouts should be seen in a positive light.
A few of these awesome benefits include increased metabolic rate, increase longevity, better sex life, better sleeping patters, more energy and even a decreased risk of disease.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully with this guide you are ready to start your freshman 15 weight loss journey! You will only fail if you give up or never try.