Ways to Avoid Weight Gain

Stick to these basics outlined below, and you will be headed in the right direction for preventing drastic weight loss. People want to lose weight, but once they’ve lost it, they will gain it without proper nutrition and exercise, so here’s how to repel the extra pounds during college.

1. Eat breakfast
So many people skip breakfast and don’t think it’s a big deal. But think about it. How many times do you snack throughout the day, in between classes and while you’re on the go, because you didn’t bother to eat when you woke up? I have found that even on days when I cannot fit in lunch and have to settle for an early dinner, if I have had a decent breakfast, I can hold up longer than on days when I haven’t eaten anything at all. On those days, I’m desperate to eat anything-chips from vending machines, candy from fundraisers, or fast food. Remember, anything that you can get quick is usually not healthy. Eat breakfast! Cereal, a banana, oatmeal, eggs, even a nutrition bar will work!

2. Light exercise daily
Don’t fear exercise. It does a lot for your body when you commit to doing it every day, and it will help you kickstart your day feeling refreshed and end it feeling calm and ready for sleep. What I usually do is force myself to do at least 20 situps in the morning before class or work and then 30 to 40 jumping jacks or 100 leg lifts before bed. These are super easy ways to get yourself moving/stretching without gasping for breath each time!

3. Less salt & sugar
This one is pretty basic, but the one I find most challenging. I love both salt and sugar!

4. Minimize snacks
The easiest way to minimize snacks is by eating fuller meals. This doesn’t necessarily mean to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are people in college that will eat pizza for each meal of the day, so how satisfied do you think their hunger is at the end of the day? Be clever about what you eat. Choose things that are filling like mashed potatoes, spaghetti, or rice. Bonus: these are all simple to make if you have access to a kitchen and a pot, so no excuses! Paired with vegetables, and you’re set! Sandwiches are also easy to make and very filling.

5. No sauces or dressings
Sorry, but salads with dressing defeats the purpose of trying to eat healthy, and adding sauces to anything else you’re eating is just increasing your calorie count. If it doesn’t taste good without the sauce, eat something else. There’s lots of fat in sauces, and fat is the most difficult to burn.

6. Cardio exercise 3x a week
Get your heart rate going. Walk or run for an hour three days a week. If you are involved in a sport such as swimming, rugby, volleyball, or anything else that requires strenuous physical activity, then those practices or games can count.

7. No snacking after 9 p.m.
Your body doesn’t break down fat as quickly while you sleep. Things you are eating an hour or so before bed are going to be with you longer than the other things you ate during the day. This is what tends to cause the little pouch underneath your belly button and unwanted fat elsewhere. Stick to water or foods like whole-wheat cereal before bed so that you can have time to digest.

Take my advice with a grain of salt, but if you pay close attention to the steps I described and put them into action in your life, you will see that you might be the only one in your dorm hall not complaining of the ‘freshman 15’. Also, remember that a person that is super skinny isn’t necessarily healthy. By the same token, a person who gains weight isn’t necessarily getting fatter. I have had periods in my life where I gained five pounds or so from swimming or running everyday; exercise builds muscle, so if you’re very athletic-be proud of your body. Stay healthy. As always, you are more than a number, and you are definitely more than your weight…

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