Five Easy Ways To Avoid The Freshman 15
By Alicia Harris
With bake sales going on every Monday, fast food at your convenience and endless soft-served ice cream at the cafeteria, it’s easy to fall prey to the Freshman 15. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in college can feel daunting at times. Your schedule is packed and grabbing fast food is almost always the most convenient option you have. So here are five ways that you can stay healthy and live your best life throughout freshman year!
1. Make It Work
Between going to classes, studying and extracurricular activities, it can feel almost impossible to find time to go to the gym. When you’re making your schedule for the upcoming semester make sure that you block out at least an hour each day for physical activity. Whether that’s jogging through campus, hitting the gym or attending a morning yoga class, dedicate a specific time each day to take a break from the books and focus your energy on living a healthy lifestyle.
2. Switch It Up
Changing your diet can be hard especially while living on campus. Even learning how to manage your calories, carbohydrates and proteins can seem like a handful when you’re just getting started. However, by simply switching out all soft drinks for water, you can greatly reduce the amount of unnecessary calories that you consume. It seems like a small switch but it can make a huge impact in your life. Water flushes out your toxins, increases your energy (which will be needed for those long nights of studying), gives your skin that natural glow you’ve longed for and effectively promotes weight loss.
3. Stick Together
It’s easy to slip up and eat an extra doughnut when no one’s watching. Skipping out on the gym can even seem like a good choice during stressful times like finals week. Find a friend that can help keep you on track when those cravings kick in or during times when you just don’t feel like being at your best. Having an accountability partner makes it harder to skip out on the gym and overindulge in the fast food that plagues college campuses. They are there to remind you of your goals and help keep your eye on the prize.
4. Stress Less
Sometimes the strongest food cravings hit when you’re at your weakest points. When dealing with relationship issues, financial problems or approaching deadlines, you may subconsciously turn to food for comfort. Stress eating (sometimes called emotional eating) completely sabotages your diet and can become a habit if you don’t learn how to manage stress. When dealing with uncomfortable situations, you must learn how to cope with tension and difficulty. When you feel stressed out, make it a habit to use healthy coping strategies such as taking a walk, venting to a friend or even taking a few moments to catch up with the Kardashians. Remember that emotional eating only temporarily provides comfort. Find a coping strategy that helps to relieve tension and that doesn’t sabotage your goals.
5. Treat Yourself
When you first decide to eat right and live a healthier lifestyle, you may feel as though you need to stay away from McDonald’s, doughnuts, and ice cream for the rest of your life. However, for most people this is not realistic. Avoiding fast food and sticking to a regular workout routine is important, however treating yourself every once in a while is key to accomplishing long-term goals. Allow yourself to occasionally enjoy your favorite treat. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that salad is your only option. It’s possible to eat healthy while still enjoying the foods that you love!