I'm a newcomer here (to the boards--not to FitDay) and I'm trying to lose about 10 pounds, which is surprisingly hard being a college student! I'm wondering if anyone has tips on how to avoid craving the bad food in the dining halls and in my friends' rooms. I don't keep any unhealthy food in my room, but my friends certainly do, and I don't want to avoid my friends altogether! I know what's healthy in the dining halls, but sticking to it is hard. Any advice or support from fellow college students or people who understand?
Hi, and welcome to the forums. I guess my advice is to simply decide that you're not going to partake of junk food on a regular basis. Once in a while is fine, but that high fat, high cal stuff will sink a good eating plan pretty quickly. If you track your calories you can factor in the occasional Twinkie fest or beer bash. That's my .02, anyway.
I'm not a college student, but I was only a few years ago. I understand the culture of "different rooms" and the unplanned nature of many college days.
That being said, Michael's advice is just about right - willpower. It's one thing to "know" and another to "do" -- and saying "it's just too hard" is more than likely an excuse. I'm not saying that to be mean, but sometimes we all need a bit of a wake-up call.
Some easy things you can do:
1) If you know you're going to a friend's room, eat a snack beforehand so you are less likely to be hungry and tempted.
2) Carry a bottle of water with you and drink it instead of snacking if you're really not hungry.
3) At the dining hall, eat alone if what's on your friends' plates is tempting you (or if they're teasing you for getting the broccoli instead of the fries). Or, load up your plate before you get to the bad stuff. I remember at my dining hall that the "short order" fried stuff was always at the end of the line. Easier to avoid if your plate already has other more healthy-for-you things on it.
4) While you're at it, don't go to the McD's or whatever fast-food is on or right next to your campus (on mine it was a BK just around the corner).
5) Walk to class if at all possible. I walked everywhere on campus. Easy 15 lbs. lost with no effort at all.
6) Don't make excuses. Stop. Right now! :)
I graduated just a couple years ago, but still act like a college student sometimes :)
I like the water bottle idea mentioned above. It especially helps because it keeps something in your hand and gives you something to do instead of grabbing snacks. The best thing to do it plan, plan, plan. If you know you're going out then plan to eat lower calorie meals throughout the day. Plan what you'll have for lunch before you go. I have to avoid bags of things because I will eat until the whole bag, or can is gone. Portion things out. If you go to a friends room look at the calories on the munchie before you eat it- that usually helps deter you. It helps you think about- would you rather have these cookies, or an entire meal later? And know that there will be other people that tell you to just eat whatever bad snacks or food they are having and stop worrying about it or will try to deter you but you have to be strong in your decision to eat healthy and be proud of it. Other people sometimes try to make themselves feel better by not being the only one eating something "naughty." Stick to your guns! You can do it!
I also recently graduated and I definitely struggled in the college dorms. My advice is this:
-Alter your big meals of the day. Usually dinner is the biggest meal, but I actually found that in our dining hall, there were more healthy options during breakfast. I would get things like scrambled egg whites or a big egg white omelet with veggies, lots of fruit, and whole grain toast with a little peanut butter. Definitely focus on filling foods and make breakfast the biggest meal of the day once in a while. It keeps things exciting, especially when I would tend to get sick of the same things at each meal. Also, it definitely helped me make it through class all day. Sometimes I'd just have a yogurt for lunch and then a healthy dinner. Also, starting the day off healthy puts you in a good mood and can set the tone for the rest of the day.
-Second, avoid empty calories in alcohol. This is definitely a will power thing too, but offering to be the DD can help. If you do drink, stick with low calorie options and avoid sugary drinks that add empty calories.
-Last, keep filling foods around. Sometimes, I'd eat because of temptation, but a lot of times, I would go too long without eating, end up starving, and binge. Keeping things like fresh fruits and veggies, air popped popcorn, and turkey hot dogs with lite whole wheat buns (100 calories for both hot dog and bun) gave me options of something quick and easy to satisfy any food craving (sweet, salty, protein).
Also agree with everyone's advice on water and willpower. Those are definitely things I know we all struggle with (or we wouldn't be here). Good luck and enjoy college!
I too graduated just a few years ago, so one thing I can recommend in addition to the wonderful suggestions above is to make use of your free or heavily discounted campus gym membership. That is one cost you don't have to deal with right now, so it is the best time to make gym time a habit.
You might say you don't have time to go to the gym, but if you honestly try to make time you will realize just how much time you previously thought you spent studying, but were actually spending on FB/Youtube/Wikipedia, etc. Trust me, I've been there :)
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