Unspoken Secrets of College Dieting: 4 Health Tips That Are Often Overlooked

Do you remember ever hearing that little horror story about the first year of college, or shall I say “The Freshman 15”!?! Yes, that’s right. Nod along. Everyone has heard of that expression and knows that this stereotype is expected of all college newcomers.

Well, you know what? I believe that it’s about time for the word to spread and for the wisdom to grow! With just a little bit of knowledge, anyone can see that this “Freshman 15” is just a myth…or at least it can be! There are so many things any college kid can do to avoid the fearful gain of 15 pounds!

Sometimes, it’s Quantity with only a little bit of Quality 

Another stereotype that’s pretty well known is that Europeans are known to be skinny and yet they live in countries where pastries, bread, pizza and other delicious sweets are not only eaten daily but are encouraged! Then people wonder how and why they remain so slim!

It’s all because sometimes it’s not really what you eat but how much.

People do not usually realize that the typical 3 meals of the day is not really the most healthy way to go. Like those skinny Europeans, a student at school should eat not 3 large meals a day but rather 5 or even 6 small meals throughout the day.

For a college student on the go, this shouldn’t be too hard.

If you find that you’re a college student who might have more time on their hands or is just stubborn about their daily routine then fine!

Keep your 3 meals a day! Just remember to notice how much you put on your plate. Another thing those skinny Europeans do is have small portions!

If you reduce your quantity in portion but increase the quantity in meals a day then honestly, you should be able to eat almost anything you want!

Grains Ain’t Always Good!

So yeah fiber? Whole wheat? Grains? Definitely a part of the food pyramid and totally essential to one’s health. However, just like meal portions, people don’t  realize how often grains and wheat goods are incorporated into our every day meals. Just think about potatoes, cereal, pasta, breaded chicken and the list goes on! The carbs just start to add up and then so does the poundage!! (Pounds…I hope you all can understand my makeshift lingo)

Okay, I feel like we’re losing our focus here…the point is, eating whole wheat grains amounts to a lot of the fat we intake.

Just try this. With every meal, look at your choices at what you can have and try to avoid anything with bread in it, at least as much as possible.

It’s totally okay if you have really have nothing else to eat besides cereal in the morning or a peanut butter sandwich but if you can avoid eating any kind of carb for the rest of the day, then you’re good to go!

Remember, I’m totally not saying give up grains, just dial it down a bit! It really does help!

Routine: Good for Classes, NOT for Diets

Now I know that cutting down portion size and getting rid of a bunch of those tasty carbs kinda ruins the joy of eating. Don’t worry, I totally understand that a lot of people find eating to be their favorite thing to do. They just love food! It may seem like I’m sucking the fun out of meals but that’s totally not my intention!

Yes, keep your meals small and preferably carb free but also change up the routine! Students walk around the dining hall and just pick up the first thing that they see which is probably something very sweet or cheesy.

Stop being lazy! Be lazy when you take your college naps. (To those incoming freshman who say, “Oh, I don’t even ever take naps!” Well uh, believe me. When you get to college, that will change…)

Again, losing the focus! As I was saying, stop being lazy! There are so many different foods around dining halls or school stores that you can buy and make delicious meals with! Get creative with your food.

You’ve already started changing your eating habits but still remember to change up your eating routine. Try different foods, make different meals, keep things interesting! It’ll keep you much more satisfied and pretty soon you’ll forget all about the lack of giant cheesy bread-filled meals in your diet!

Bribe Yourself

Okay, so the word bribe sounds bad but after what I’m about to say, I think the word totally fits. Give yourself goals or take note of certain special occasions coming up like, a long weekend or a night after you’ve accomplished studying for a huge test or project. If you’ve been doing really well and changing up how you eat then take a night like that to order in some chinese food or a pizza. Say to yourself something along the lines of “If I get this accomplished, then I deserve this gift to myself”.

However, do not get greedy and try to make up tons of days that are special occasions just so that you have mental permission to eat badly because then it doesn’t count!!

And guess what, you can also reward yourself in other ways! It doesn’t have to be food at all! Go to the mall and buy yourself something! Go to the movies with friends, go on an awesome date with your boyfriend/girlfriend or start saving up for holiday gifts! It can be anything!

So while these may only be 4 tips to keep in mind, you’ll come to find they’re more helpful than you realize. Just even participating in 1 or 2 of these steps will make a big difference so much so that you’ll be able to tell in a week! Take it from personal experience! I’ve remembered these tips ever since my first year of college and you know what? I never got the freshman 15 or any kind of 15 for that matter.

Next time you’re wandering around a dining hall or a local supermarket, remember these few tips. You’ll avoid gaining weight and perhaps even lose some! In the end, it’s all about staying happy and healthy.

I wish you all a weight-gainless year!

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Nina Reichenberg, a junior at Syracuse University spent her first two years in the Communications Design Program but is now currently working towards a degree in Computer Art & Animation. Whilst at school, Nina spends most of her time animating, watching films, and working as a design intern at SYR BAZAAR.com. Outside of SU, she enjoys traveling, singing, dancing, spending time outside and collecting thimbles.

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