The winter months are coming, and we all know what this means! Weight gain! It's fine, really. Grandma is making killer cookies, and you're comfortable under a fleecy blanket watching a movie. My first semester of my freshman year I really let eating and the lack of exercise control my life, and I didn't realize it was negative until I started to eat well and exercise. This isn't saying that you can't have a blowout weekend and drink a 30-rack and sleep on the bathroom floor, but to have an idea on how to treat your body might help to keep you happy and sane. Positive body images are important for all generations so spread the love with this helpful information:
1. Don't avoid carbs.
Despite popular belief, carbohydrates are not negative for your body! In fact, they help you run (literally and figuratively). Any food in excess is going to contribute to weight gain or any other negative factors that are tacked onto weight gain. Here's the difference: Refined carbohydrates are bad. This is your typical white pasta, Wonder Bread, pizza, and thick bagels. Refined carbs are made of simple sugars that do not give your body adequate nutrients or energy, and spike insulin leading to weight gain. Complex carbs, on the other hand, are bound with fiber. These foods are your veggies, whole grains, beans, and wild rice. If you're going to indulge on a burrito bowl, try to use brown rice to get the optimal "fiber full."
2. Sugary drinks are bad!
I feel like this should be known by now, but the only liquid that is positive for your body is water. Water. Water? Yes, water! Orange juice is already stripped of its nutrients and packed with the amount of sugar that should be ingested in a day, so why not just eat an orange? I get that water can be boring. Add strawberries and lemon to make it fun, or blend up some watermelon and add a little lime juice! Your mindset will allow sugary drinks like Vitamin Water to taste overbearing. College students gains their 15 pounds mainly through alcohol consumption, so if you're attached, just cut back on what you mix it with. Here are some drink recipes that lack the sugar that normally comes with drinking.
3. Herbs can help with virtually anything.
I know you're all thinking marijuana, but there are many other herbs and remedies that can beat the common cold and help you sleep without getting high! There are teas, pills, creams, and vaporizers that can aid with most ailments before you use Advil or other rescue medications. As always, consult a doctor before use of any of the following herbs:
Echinacea for the Immune system.
Juniper for UTIs.
Ginkgo Biloba for memory.
Garlic for its anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
Chamomile as a relaxing agent.
4. Complete proteins!
Here's to you, vegetarians and vegans. Complete proteins include lean red meat, whey, eggs, and poultry. Not being able to eat meat can cause conflict with this. To ensure you are getting complete proteins, you must add two of the following together: green leafy vegetables, beans, brown rice, corn, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Proteins help your body function, so take advantage of meat and beans at the dining hall when you can!
5. Getting enough water.
Guess what water does. Carry nutrients! Unless you're a camel, you need to be meeting the water requirement for your body to reach homeostasis. I did the gallon challenge for about a week, and I peed every 30 minutes in class ... not ideal and, unfortunately, it was too much water! Find the balance for yourself. At any point in the day that you feel thirsty, you've already lost 25 percent of your maximum performance (in sports, in class, or even during sex). You should be getting eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
6. Fad diets are not OK!
The dude who created the Atkins diet died from his own diet! I'm sure you have not done adequate research if you're drinking lemon water with cayenne and maple syrup like Kelly from "The Office." However, there are "diets," I suppose you could say, that can reflect a positive lifestyle. This might include portion control or meal planning (for those who have the money and time). Be careful with what you read on the internet because some fad diets can make you physically and emotionally ill and eventually cause a burnout. The set-point theory shows that your body wants to maintain a weight, so rapid weight loss will indicate a rapid weight gain. What you can do is not be so lazy and impatient, and follow the general guidelines of being a healthy individual.
Watch this video for reference:
7. Take the freakin' stairs.
Seasonal depression is real, people. We all get it to some degree, whether it's the Netflix blues or real, diagnosed depression. Exercise can be a small cure for the sad feeling inside when the snow starts to flurry. Not everyone has access to a gym or paid the $90 at school to get a membership, so take the stairs. Coming back from class? Stairs. Getting food from the dining hall? Stairs. It's an easy way to get the blood pumping and make you feel like you completed something of value on a not-so-awesome day. Here are different exercises to be completed on the stairs (I recommend doing them on higher floors to avoid foot traffic).
8. Portion control!
If you don't get anything else out of this article remember this: Portion control is important. Understanding serving sizes will help to understand what exactly is in your food and how much you're consuming. We overeat because we have available food and unlimited food plans. If you genuinely want cheesy bread, I'll clue you in to eating it properly: Don't eat the whole thing! You must take what you know to be instinctive (like eating a bag of Doritos) and turn it into eating the recommended serving size in your daily lifestyle, then you'll feel a lot better!
And above all:
9. Feel emotionally and physically comfortable with yourself before you do anything!
Sometimes making drastic changes to your life can trigger negative emotions about yourself. Listen to your body and mind, and talk to a doctor before doing any of the steps above. Eating to supplement your body and getting your body moving in some way will take time, but it will pay off during times when you don't have access to healthier foods and a gym. It's easier to indulge when you know you've earned it.