Lose the Freshman 15! – 9 Rules to Get Toned in College

College Weight Gain Pizza

If you don’t read this article you could gain (at least) 7 or 8 lbs per year in college

As if new college students don't already have enough to worry about, there’s also the dreaded 5, 10, 15-plus pounds you can often gain in your first year alone.  Hence, the often joked-about, much-hated “Freshman 15”.

Learn how to avoid the dreaded freshman 15 with these 9 Simple Rules...

Although the average woman gains about half of the "Freshman 15" (about 8 pounds) in her freshman year, some women have reported gaining as much as 30 – 40 pounds. But regardless of how MUCH weight you might gain, the fact remains that no one wants to gain extra pounds of fat – especially not during the "prime" of your life!

How can you kick the “Freshman 15” in the butt?

How can you – a university woman – prevent yourself from gaining weight 40 times faster than a woman who doesn’t go to college? How can you avoid packing on 8-plus pounds in your first 9 months of classes?  What can you do to feel amazing and toned in a swimsuit by Spring break?

Well, follow these 9 simple rules, and I guarantee you will not only avoid the “freshman 15”, but you will actually come back from your first year of college feeling great, and looking slimmer, more toned, and sexier than ever!

The F the Freshman 15 "Rules"

  1. Write down what you eat. (Yes, EVERYTHING!)  Most people tend to over-estimate how many servings of healthy foods they eat, while under-estimating how much junk food they put away. To put a number on our “optimism”, studies show that the average person eats 700 more calories per day than they THINK they do!  To put this into perspective, gaining 15 lbs in your first year only requires an additional 194 calories per day... the amount in ONE extra slice of pizza! So, long story short, if you write it down, you'll be much more aware of what goes into your body...and much less likely to eat pizza twice in one day.
  2. Don’t eat within 3 hours of bedtime. Ok, so I know sometimes sleep is pretty unpredictable in college. You never really know how late you’ll be up studying. But, you probably shouldn’t be snacking if the clock reads midnight. Of course, use your own judgment here, but if you MUST eat something pretty close to bedtime, honor your body by foregoing the “Ramen”, and grab a healthy snack like fresh veggies or a piece of fruit. Of course, chances are your “hunger” could also be quenched by drinking some refreshing cold water (many people misinterpret thirst as hunger, especially late at night). See here for some other healthy study snack ideas.
  3. Drink WATER!  Skip the liquid calories, and opt for water or unsweet tea (green tea is best!), or even coffee or diet soda if you really need a caffeine boost. You should drink at least 6 – 8 glasses of water each day, and more on exercise days.Aside from saving you unnecessary calories, drinking enough water will also keep your energy and metabolism levels kickin', and will also keep you much more mentally sharp and focused.
  4. NEVER skip breakfast.  Not trying to sound like your mom here, but if you don’t eat breakfast, you’ll severely limit your ability to concentrate on school work, and you’ll also give your metabolism a big fat slowdown.Instant plain oatmeal with dried or fresh fruit mixed in is a great choice (I like to add metabolism-boosting whey protein to mine!) Or, grab some yogurt and a piece of whole fruit… whatever you like! But, just try to stay away from overly-processed foods like granola bars and sugary cereals.  (Click here to learn how to read your food labels!)
  5. Remember that alcoholic drinks = calories. (Lots and lots and lots of calories). Most college parties happen late at night… and most college students don’t realize how many calories they can consume while drinking.If you do drink, ask for a diet rum and coke instead of regular (the alcohol itself contains more useless calories than you need), and alternate alcoholic drinks with calorie-free non-alcoholic drinks! No will ever (be sober enough) to know the difference, but I guarantee your waistline WILL.
  6. Make exercise a regular part of your schedule.  As soon as you receive your schedule of classes, look for open spaces for your workouts. Give yourself 90 minutes three times/week for lifting days, and 45 minutes two times/week for cardio days (get your workout plan HERE). Make sure the timing suits you though – If you know you’re not going to feel like working out after a 3 hour lab, then don’t plan on exercising right after your 3 hour labs! Make the schedule do-able, make it suit you as best as possible, and then STICK TO IT.Get it in your mind now that your workouts really are just as important as your classes. So, prepare for them by packing workout clothes and snacks along with your books for the day. Also, unless you’re too sick to go to classes, then there really is no excuse for skipping your time at the gym.
  7. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to work out! Trust me, I understand that sometimes you may have a Chem test, English paper, and Econ presentation all due on the same frickin’ day. But are you really going to let your professors get away with stealing your sanity???Then don’t ever skip your workout for them! Instead, use your workout as a much needed break from sitting and studying. Not only will the exercise break keep you slim and toned, but it will also relieve stress, make you happier, and much more focused and efficient when you sit down to work some more.
  8. Don’t munch while you study. Unless it’s a pre-measured, pre-rationed portion of carrots or some other healthy snack, don’t eat while you study! Akin to eating while watching TV, you can easily put away double or triple the calories by eating when you’re pre-occupied.  Beware though – as even “healthy” snacks can quickly add up to 500+ calories if you aren’t paying attention.Instead of munching while you read, take a 5- 10 minute well-deserved mind and body break to eat and enjoy your snack when hunger strikes while studying. Of course, drinking lots and lots of tea and water is always encouraged!!
  9. If you absolutely need to break rule #8, do it with chewing gum. Seriously, invest in a bunch of packs of delicious sugar-free gum. There are so many flavors now, and munching a piece or two after meals and snacks will also prevent you from eating when you aren’t really hungry. This good habit will also have the added benefit of keeping your teeth healthy, stain-free, and will of course make your breath kissable-fresh at all times.

Some say that the “Freshman 15” is inevitable. Others swear that it’s just a hoax, that it “will never happen to me”.

What’s the truth? Well, if you follow the advice listed in this short article, and check out my complete college workout and nutrition program, you'll never have to find out the hard way!

Jill's 4-Week Complete Program

 

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