When I first started college, I didn’t have much time to work out. I worked out with friends every now and then, but I never consistently went to the gym. I worked as a YMCA co-counselor, and I was also obtaining a minor in dance. Between running around with students and dancing I didn’t need much exercise. After graduating from Rollins College, I enrolled in Florida Atlantic University’s neuroscience program. I gained 10 pounds after my first semester! I was shocked and didn’t know why I gained weight. After comparing my first year in college with my current year I realized I wasn’t as active as I used to be. My job at FAU had me sitting at a desk, and I no longer attended dance classes.
As students enter college they no longer participate in activities and don’t replace the lack of physical activity with something else—hence the weight gain. Don’t fret! There are a few simple things you can do to recover from the freshman 15!
The biggest contributor to weight gain is the lack of exercise. Exercising is sometimes a boring endeavor so finding ways to make it fun might help the process. Don’t like going to the gym? Join a group that engages in physical activity each week. Find an activity you love then see if there’s a club you can join. If you’re doing something you find interesting the exercise aspect won’t bother you.
Joining a team isn’t your only option. Attend group classes like Zumba, cycling or boot camp that are offered at local gyms. See if your school gym provides free classes, so you don’t have to get a gym membership. If all else fails, set up time to go to the gym and try different exercises that pertain to your fitness level and goals. Incorporating changes in your gym routine may keep your mind occupied long enough so you don’t feel bored while at the gym. Any form of physical activity will get you started on your weight loss journey!
Another contributor to weight gain—diet. If you’re like me, you try to eat healthily but then get caught up in the stress of school and tend to eat whatever is cheap and available. The only way to break that cycle is good planning. On a specific day each week, go grocery shopping and pick snacks that are healthy—such as nuts, fruits and vegetables. That way when you’re short on time you can eat the healthier items you bought.
Also, portion size your meals and track how much you’re eating. You can eat healthy foods all day, but it won’t help your weight if you overeat. Changing your diet tends to have an unnoticeable effect. This doesn’t mean the diet isn’t working. Your body must get used to the change and will exhibit changes eventually. You’ll notice you have more energy and feel less fatigued every day. This helps your body in the long run.
Exercise and change of diet are the best ways to fight or prevent weight gain. Since I started exercising consistently and eating healthier I’ve lost the 10lbs I gained—and I’m super happy with the results! Don’t worry if you only have 20 minutes to work out. You can still maintain a healthy diet and achieve your weight goals!