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Avoiding College Weight Gain

Avoiding College Weight Gain

 

Whether it’s the “Freshman 15”, the “Senior 17” or anything in between, weight gain is always a concern for college students.  While we want you to enjoy this year of college, we don’t want it to end with you needing to buy new clothes in a size larger than you are wearing now!  Here are some tips on eating healthy, exercising and keeping your stress level at a minimum so you will successfully finish the year looking as great as you do now—or even better!

Diet

  Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. Breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day, and rightfully so -- it not only provides important daily nutrients such as protein, fiber, calcium and carbohydrates, but it also helps improve school performance, allowing students to do better on tests, according to the Food and Nutrition Service. If you feel tired or have difficulty concentrating during the day, consider adding breakfast to your routine.

Weight Maintenance

Eating breakfast regularly may also help students maintain a healthy weight. According to a study published in “Public Health Nutrition," students who skipped breakfast in the morning were more likely to overeat and have a lower overall diet quality than students who ate breakfast every day. This led to increased body mass index, or BMI, measurements. . Breakfast also kick-starts your metabolism for the day, so your body doesn’t stay in the fasting mode during which it stores fat at a faster rate.

Considerations

While eating any breakfast is better than skipping breakfast altogether, some choices are better than others. Carbohydrate-only breakfasts, such as bagels and toast, can give energy for one to two hours, while complete breakfasts that contain a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates can keep blood sugar levels steady for hours, according to MealsMatter.org. Try some toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit or cereal with milk and glass of 100 percent fruit juice.

 

Exercise

  For any college student, finding the time to exercise, especially after a hectic day of classes and studying can be overwhelming.  Going to the gym can be daunting for some, the weather may not be nice enough to get outside to walk or run.  But it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and you can do so from the comforts of your dorm room.  The following links will show you how to get a great workout in without leaving your dorm room or needing any equipment:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5436995_exercise-home-dorm-room.html

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=exercising+in+a+dorm+room&qpvt=exercising+in+a+dorm+room&FORM=VDRE

http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/dorm-room-workout-routines

 

Drinking

Those looking to lose weight by exercising and cutting down on fatty foods may want to consider an addition to their regiment: drinking less alcohol.

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that Americans are consuming an average of almost 100 calories a day in alcoholic beverages. This can translate into a weight gain of about 5.2 pounds per year.

The average calories from alcohol are very different for women and men, at 50 and 150, respectively.

This might be concerning to students who average more than one drink per day, especially new students who may be wary of the dreaded Freshman 15.

 Anytime you’re drinking any kind of beverage that has calories in it, it amounts to a weight gain. Many Americans monitor their calorie intake from sugary drinks, but they tend to neglect alcohol.

Although students have to worry less about immediate weight gain associated with alcoholic drinks, many are “pretty high risk clients to become obese,” due to the drinking lifestyle some students choose. College is the time when diet and exercise habits are established that last a lifetime.  

“It’s time to start becoming mindful and thoughtful of the food and drink you consume so you don’t start gaining weight”.

Stress

 College life comes with many changes and challenges, including difficult classes, new relationships, and homesickness. Many people deal with emotional stresses like these with emotional eating, which includes eating when you’re not hungry, or filling an emotional void with food. If you find yourself becoming an emotional eater, it’s time to read this article on how to stop emotional eating, before you get closer to gaining unwanted weight.

 

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*Diet Source: SFGate.com

*Alcohol Source: The Daily Pennsylvanian

*Stress Source:  About.com

 

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Marjorie Billock is a Registered Nurse at the Hiram College Health Center.

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