So here is the deal. There is such a thing as the freshmen 15. It is real.
But there is good news. You can still get healthy.
My Junior year I decided to be a healthier person and to care about what I put in my body. Notice that I did not say lose weight. That was not my goal. Instead I ate healthier, got more sleep, gained large amounts of muscles and ended up losing the freshmen 15 entirely. Here are some of the major changes I made that have still impacted my health to this day.
1. Stop eating large amounts of fast food.
This doesn't mean that you have to stop going out with friends to Whataburger or going to that occasional treat, but I found what helped me most to lose weight is that I limited or stopped eating fast food altogether. Do you have FOMO and do not want to miss out on the social experience of going to a fast food restaurant? No worries! Instead of getting a whole meal or sandwich get a small fry or diet coke instead. Sure this is not necessarily healthy but let's compare calories shall we?
1 Burger or Chicken Sandwich = 600-1,000 calories
Small Fry = 200-350 calories
That is no joke. And plus the fat content is very high. Even worse, most people eat it late at night and your metabolic rate is going to crash from all the salt and fat. This will cause bloating and in turn will result in weight gain. The fries are still a lot BUT it is not a half a days worth of calories and it is not even close to the amount of fat. Again I didn't limit I just substituted. You will also save a lot of money and get more nutrients eating a sandwich from home or your cafeteria.
2. Stop buying sugary drinks. Especially coffee.
This. Includes. Starbucks. Have you noticed the difference between prices of the brewed coffee and the sugary caramel lattes? It's a $4 difference. This doesn't mean giving up on coffee. Again instead of that caramel macchiato that's about 228 calories for a tall (equal to a delicious slice of pizza) get a regular brew and fix it up with cream and stevia, (a natural zero calorie substitute that is delicious) put some cinnamon and nutmeg and you have a great healthy replacement for that PSL at only 60-100 calories. I can't tell you how much this helped me. It made a huge difference.
3. Sleep as much as you can.
I had a free block of four hours my junior year and I would take naps. I was working two jobs and in two shows that year plus taking 17 hours of classes so going to sleep early wasn't an option. But I made it a priority that if I had nothing to do I would sleep and work out. Science has proven that if you are lacking sleep your body is going to conserve energy. That means it will slow your metabolic rate and store fat. Also do you know what lack of sleep does to your skin??? You get hideous wrinkles and acne!!!! Sleep releases repair signals to your skin so that your skin will have a healthy glow. So sleep in any window that you can. I was lucky I had the green room at ACU's Fulks Theatre as my nap place (sorry Dawne) but I have also napped in the library, my car, or if I had more time at home. If I was ever seen in public napping I didn't care because odds are those people were jealous that they weren't sleeping too.
4. Lift Weights and Walk.
I just did not realize how inactive I had become by my sophomore year. In a PE class I logged that on average I was only walking 6,000 steps a day even with my dance class. 60% of what is recommended for an adult. I had always danced every day when I was younger plus walking around school kept me in shape. But when I went to college the dancing was not as intense as it was for me in high school and I only was really walking and driving to three buildings on campus all very close to each other. So when I had that window of time I would go to the gym and catch up on my walking and I discovered the power of lifting weights. LADIES! This changes everything. The more you lift weights, the more you build muscle mass and the more you burn fat. I did gain weight from this but it is in muscle and to this day I am able to sit straighter, lift heavier items and I have more stamina. I have kept both of these things through my adult life. I walk at lunch and skip the afternoon lull and I lift weights.
5. Go to a class.
This has given me so much energy and life! I love the community you can find in a workout class. You are all there for the same reason. To work out and get healthy. I also did not mind the competition to push me. ACU had exercise classes that were always a joy and a fraction of what you would pay in the real world and now my apartment gym offers classes like yoga, barre, pilates and Zumba for free! I know sometimes you can be too tired but just remind yourself how good you will feel after. Another tip is keep a gym bag in your car and go right after class. DO NOT GO HOME. Home will suck you in and you will never leave.
I know it is a newer world for you guys to be of legal age and go to any bar you want. You want to try the craft beers, the sangrias, and the two dollar margs. I have been there. And that is fine occasionally. But if it is every social event that you are drinking those sangrias that are shockingly 800 calories each plus getting drunk, it is damaging your health. Getting drunk may sound fun but one embarrassing night where you black out, drink and drive, and make a mess at your friends house is one too many. Limit how much you drink. Again don't stop drinking but stop going overboard. And listen to the people that love you and don't drink and drive.
7. Don't look at the scale.
I limit weighing myself to once a week. From an unhealthy past with food to where I would weigh myself twice a day this is the best option for me. In fact I don't even own a scale. I weigh myself at the gym just to check my progress. It has helped me realize that beauty is not a number but how you feel.
In the end I had found out I lost 20 pounds, 6 inches off my waist and my skin cleared. I was in a better mood from working out and sleeping and I started healthy habits for my adult life.