For many university bound students weight gain during their first year is a huge fear, but fear not! Most studies have shown that not all university students gain weight their first year, only about half do, and of those that do, most only gain between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds. Having said that, first year and being away from home brings on many changes and freedoms that may encourage over-indulgence of food and alcohol. So give these tips a try:
1. Get Moving! – And not just to the cafeteria or the beer store. One of the reasons for weight gain is that students often exercise less. Explore your university’s fitness facility and what access you have, check out local gyms that might have student rates, or just get outside for a walk!
2. Manage Stress – Stress plays a factor in weight gain, and stress eating has become a coping mechanism for many. Easier said than done, but try to find ways other than food to cope with stress. Pick up some herbal tea like: Nightly Zen by Affect Health, available for purchase at the clinic, or Traditional Medicinals Easy Now, which have calming herbs and help with sleep; try some deep breathing techniques; choose water infused with fruit over food; or a walk outside in nature.
3. Choose Wisely – Unfortunately campus food may not always be the most nutritious or provide much variety, but it may be all you have. Opt for anything that’s not fried, breaded, or mostly simple carbohydrates (lasagna, macaroni), fill at least half your plate with veggies and eat them first, skip dessert whenever possible and try starting with a soup.
4. Get a Bar Fridge – For fruits and veggies, not just beer! Get some apples, pears and oranges – easy to eat and little mess. You can buy veggies already cut up, or do it yourself, and opt for hummus instead of creamy dips. Keep some almonds on hand too. These are all great energy boosters and good in-between meal snacks.
5. Reduce your alcohol consumption and avoid the 24 hour drive-thru. Something to think about – beer has an average of 148 calories, red wine has an average of 80, and a martini has an average of 140.
Good luck! Remember we are always here for you.