Let's be real, university is a stressful journey. With the stress, comes the anxious overeating and sleep deprivation. This eventually leads to weight gain.
With summer around the corner, it is a common human response to shed the unwanted fat. Some may experiment with detox teas and 10-day weight loss programs in order to achieve "instantaneous results." However, that is completely unrealistic and reckless for one's health.
But no worries! I am no health expert, but here are a couple of tips for losing weight at a healthy and practical pace.
Are you eating enough in the morning? Are you eating AT ALL? It is especially important to eat breakfast in the morning because it keeps you energized and balanced for the busy day ahead. Lack of breakfast will cause sporadic eating, cravings, and indulging in unhealthy meals throughout the day. Now, choosing what to eat in the earliest hours of the day is usually the struggle. Incorporate grains, dairy, and protein into your morning diet. Sometimes, fruits and vegetables can be quite acidic for a gentle stomach. You may be wondering "how can I find time to actually prepare a healthy breakfast before class?" It all has to do with your time management skills.
2. Time Management
Now what does this have to do with losing weight? This has nothing to do with being punctual, it is all about your organizational skills. Are you organized? If you manage your time, your life will be on track and it will motivate you to achieve higher goals for your health. Have you created a specific layout for how your weeks are supposed to operate? By simply creating a schedule to blueprint your daily activities, you are one step ahead. Even waking up an hour earlier to workout and prepare a nutritious breakfast can improve your mood, mental state, and overall performance in class. Basically, become cautious of how much time you spend participating in certain activities and make sure to leave an empty slot for some "you time." Take care of yourself before you lose yourself.
3. Sleep Deprivation
This is your worst enemy. Lack of sleep is a reoccurring dilemma amongst students as they are studying and completing tasks. Those killer late night study sessions that happen because someone forgot to review for an exam are deadly. Why? That is when your cravings are at their highest peak. The brain needs energy and nutrition as you study, but what does one crave during a time where anxiety is controlling your mood? Any kind of fast food. By managing your time and determining a bedtime, you can save your overall physical health. Your body will adjust to a biological system. Allow your body to relax after a long day. Do not procrastinate. Procrastination is the cause to this effect. More sleep leads to a higher attention span and better performance throughout the day, as well as the prevention of late night snacking.
4. Have Someone Control the Amount of $$ You Have
Ever have $5 or $10 in your pocket and you are craving that delicious burger? NOOOO, PLEASE DON'T LET YOUR CRAVINGS CONTROL YOU.
Allow someone to control the amount of money you carry around with you or obtain from your bank account. It seems impossible and overly controlling but it is achievable. Sometimes, having a friend to accompany you throughout this journey can encourage you to truly stick to this rule. Only use the money for specific and emergent matters. Yes, food is important for functioning, but it is not worth spending hundreds of dollars a month to try fancy, unhealthy meals. Think about the other essentials you could purchase with that money. It is all about managing your expenses and deciding what is worth the price. Learning self-control is key in this step.
5. Increase Your Water Intake
We already know that soda and juice are not the healthiest of beverages, but water and tea? They are the healthiest drinks for you. Begin each day by drinking a full glass of water. Awaken those organs! Motivate that metabolism! By drinking water or green tea throughout the day, it can not only eliminate several toxins in your body, but it can also keep you feeling light and activated. Grab a reusable water bottle and fill it up every chance you get.
6. Eliminate All of The Toxic Carbs/Grains
You know what I mean, girl. Drop the bread. Drop itttttttt.
Now, there is nothing wrong with some whole grain bread every once in a while. But pure white bread, pasta, and white rice are not the best for you. Substitute the bread with whole grain or spinach wraps for sandwiches. Whole grain pasta is a wonderful alternative as well. As for rice, brown rice is your safest bet, but sometimes, consuming rice is not good for you. Replace those grains with a vibrant and full salad, alongside your protein (steak, chicken, fish, etc). It is all about planning and doing your research. Websites like hellohealthy, eat this much, Discover Good, and The Kitchn provide further information and guidance on how to prepare your meals.
Remember, it is all about portion control and knowing your limits. Do not take advantage of your body. Learn to take care and love the body you were given.
Not only can a healthier lifestyle help you permanently adjust to this change, but it can also provide you with a more optimistic view on life. It can be your own therapy.
Since I am not a dietitian or a health professional, I can not guarantee immediate weight loss. But, this is a perfect, low-budget way to begin a life-long transformation for a busy college student. As you progress, incorporate more physical activities that involve strengthening and conditioning. Always consult with a professional before committing to more advanced changes.
And once in a while, remember to treat yourself. At the end of the day, you are doing this for yourself and one donut will not kill you.