Don’t skip meals. from 8 Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain at College

8 Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain at College

Don’t skip meals.

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“Many college students try to save calories by skipping breakfast,” says Russell. “This plan will backfire since it slows down your metabolism, which can actually cause weight gain.” Breakfast is especially of the most importance. If you really can’t make it to the dining hall before class, Russell recommends keeping Greek yogurt and instant oatmeal in your dorm room fridge so you can easily grab something on the go.

Kordecki also warned against skipping meals and suggested using your phone’s alarm feature to help you stay on track with meal times. “Or just follow a traditional mealtime pattern such as breakfast upon waking, lunch around noon, a snack around 3 p.m. and dinner around 6 p.m.,” she said. “Proper mealtimes with healthy whole foods will keep your blood sugar regulated and will boost brainpower so you can stay on top of your studies.”

Pay attention to the little things.

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Russell gave the example of making a habit of grabbing a Frappuccino between classes. “These things add up,” she said. “If you need coffee stick to plain, iced or black unsweetened, it's better for your pocketbook too. Make the fancy drinks or indulgences 'treats' and not the regular routine.”

Be mindful in social settings.

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“On campus, with almost every social occasion comes food,” says Russell. “Like celebrating the end of exams with ice cream, a pizza study break with your group and of course, drinks at parties. This is not to say you can't ever indulge, but the problem is that indulging becomes the norm.” You can avoid this trap by learning more about how to eat mindfully.

Don’t overdo it with drinks.

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Keep in mind that the calories from alcohol don’t provide much in terms of nutritional value. “Set limits on the amounts of alcohol you will drink if you must drink,” says Kordeki. “Also, choose only one or two nights a week where you will engage in the ‘party’ atmosphere. Being in college is an opportunity to set yourself up for a successful future so honor this opportunity. Be responsible with your body and health while on campus. It will go a long way to helping reach your goals as you enter the adulthood and the workforce.”

Don’t over-indulge at the dining hall.

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“Oh the all you can eat dining plan… From self-serve frozen yogurt to cereal buffet bars, the urge to fill up and go back for more is beyond temping,” says Russell. “Plus, it’s easy to make the wrong food choices.” Russell suggested avoiding buffet binges by always aiming to fill half of your plate with vegetables.

When it comes to dining on campus, Kordeki offered the following valuable advice: “Load your plate with colorful vegetables, lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken or fish and minimize starchy carbs such as white rice, breads, potatoes and pasta,” she said. “Avoid processed, canned and frozen foods as often as you can. Start drinking seltzer water with lemon or lime rather than a soda with your meals. Avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other hidden sources of refined sugar. Snack on frozen cherries or grapes instead of chips or candy when studying. In general, eat fresh, eat whole and eat clean as often as you can when choosing meals.”

Keep checks and balances.

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“Whether it's your favorite pair of skinny jeans or the scale, it may be a good idea to keep track of where you are at,” says Russell. “I'm not saying obsessively weigh yourself daily, especially because your weight can easily fluctuate by 3 to 5 pounds daily due to water retention, but once every two weeks should give you a good idea.”

Stay active.

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This might sound like a no-brainer, but any student in college can certainly tell you how easy it is to evade exercise while on campus; especially when you’re working hard to balance class, clubs and a social life. “Whether it’s running, biking or playing a sport ,engage in some activity daily,” says Kordeki.  “Also, check out great websites like Daily Burn, BeFit or even YouTube for great workout options that can be anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes long.” Russell’s advice for maintaining your activity levels include, taking advantage of your campus' gym, especially if group exercise classes are offered, joining an intramural sports team or signing up for an active club like hiking or bowling.

Sleep well.

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“Be aware that because you're studying more and late at night this will also throw off your body chemistry and food cravings,” says Kordeki. “Be vigilant about getting a solid eight hours as often as you can. Try not to pull all-nighters before big tests, study in advance and avoid cramming, surround yourself with healthy snacks while studying instead of chips, candy and sodas—try sliced vegetables with humus or salsa or freeze fruits like cherries, grapes or blueberries instead.”

See: The Health Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep