Losing weight doesn’t have to include getting sweaty for hours at your local gym. You can do several things to ensure you reach a healthy weight in college. Let’s take a look at the typical college experience, then dive in to some tips and tricks that will help you shed the extra weight for good.
How To Drop The Extra Weight While In College
In addition to gaining significant life experience and mental stimulation during the college years, students are also gaining considerable body weight. During this phase of their life, statistics show that students gain between 12 and 37 pounds before they attain their college degree.
Furthermore, the percentage of overweight students in the classroom will also go up from 18% to 31%. These studies also mentioned the additional increase in body fat composition as well as adding a few inches to the waistline (1).
Living Off Campus Makes A Difference
It is worth noting that college students attending college and living off campus, are not affected by this trend. It’s most likely because they are not affected by trending campus lifestyles.
When I was in college, we got a brand new Papa Johns added to the University Center. There was already a Chic-fil-a there as well. Off-campus students would not have been affected by the new Papa John’s, while students living in the dorm probably gained a few pounds.
The most probable cause for this unhealthy trend is the major lifestyle change students undergo during this time. Studies are significantly more demanding and result in late nights, less sleep, and not nearly enough nutrition to support this new strain.
The diet of the average college student is geared primarily toward being convenient and cheap. Not much consideration goes to the nutritional needs of an active youth under considerable mental strain. Everywhere you look, you’ll find sugary, fattening food options.
One of my staples, when I was in college, was ramen noodles. Yeah, $0.19 of unhealthy, sodium filled fun!
Nevertheless, just because it is considerably easier to gain weight in college doesn’t mean you can’t avoid this common pitfall. I’m going to show you how to lose weight in college without exercising.
1. Drink Water
The single most important thing you could do is drink more water. The human body is around 60% water and begins to function poorly as it starts to dry out (2). For improved functions of the brain, skin, internal organs, drink at least 3 liters of water each day.
An additional perk of a well-hydrated body is a feeling of wellness that inhibits the need to be constantly eating. Drinking water helps you feel full. Simply increasing your water intake is the first step to an improved physical condition.
Bored of water? Don’t be! There is no substitute for the cleansing and revitalizing power of pure water. If your lifestyle calls for lots of teas, coffees, and other beverages, drink extra water to help flush toxins from the body. Your 70-year-old self will be thanking you every day!
2. Consider your Food Intake
It has been said that the best medicine is a healthy diet. It was well known by the ancients that eating healthy was a cure for many things. Hippocrates said it best when he said, “Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food” (3).
Remember that an unbalanced and irregular diet can make you feel hungry more often and even make you sick. The lack of sufficient water intake can make you hungry as well.
Eat what you need to support the activities you are engaged in and eat at the same times each day. Of course, you don’t have to be super strict about it. Just work with your schedule and eat near the same times. You might party late and have a midnight meal, cool. Just don’t do it every night.
Another little trick you can try is ditching the tray. When you’re at the cafeteria, leave the tray and only eat what you can carry in your hands. This little trick will help you decide which foods are most important. You might not get that bag of chips when you don’t have a nice big tray to put all that junk food on.
3. Eat Breakfast
It is a common habit to sleep to the last minute and gulp down an Oreo and coffee as you bolt to your first class. Bad idea! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to fuel the various activities that begin almost immediately.
Eating a hearty breakfast kick starts the metabolism, increasing energy supplies and engaging stored energy or fatty tissue. It also makes eating a lighter lunch an option. Skipping breakfast means less energy in the morning and increases the need for a big lunch. A heavier lunch leads to less energy in the afternoons and evenings.
The capacity to eat breakfast lets your body know that you are in an abundant environment and food is easily accessed. Fats and stored energy can then be regulated rather than stored. Regularly skipping this important meal causes your body to enter survival mode and this is not good for losing weight. When your body is in survival mode, it stores as much fat as it can because it doesn’t know when it’ll need to live off of its fat reserves.
4. Eat your Veggies
In order to optimize your body’s capacity to assimilate the nutrition from your daily diet, it is important to eat plenty of vegetables. Veggies are essential to sustaining your various bodily functions and are especially beneficial to the digestive tract.
Don’t think you can supplement your way around your kale either. Fresh vegetables contain nutrients and phytonutrients that deliver vitamins and minerals to the body in the most natural and healthy way possible. Something that a multivitamin just can’t do.
There are some dieticians out there that think multivitamins don’t do any good. They say that only natural foods can assimilate with the body. I’m not going to tell you not to take multivitamins, but you should definitely do some research on the topic and come to a conclusion on your own. However, I will say this. It would be wise to get all the nutrients you need through food. You can’t go wrong with that.
5. Sleep Plenty
To be frank, you know you need your beauty rest. Kidding! You need to sleep well for your health, which is beautiful. Humans naturally find health very attractive, and even sexy! It’s an old animalistic instinct that helps ensure the survival of our offspring.
The daily demands of the mind and body will require that you fine tune your sleep habits for optimal rest. Be sure you are getting at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If you really want to become a fine tuned, healthy machine try going to bed and waking up at the same times each day. Your body will adapt to the pattern and feel rejuvenated every morning. I once used this trick to wake up at 4:30 am every morning. I felt great because my body was used to getting up at that time and I went to sleep at the same time every day. This will keep you from becoming stressed and also helps to avoid excessive weight.
You Got This
In conclusion, the best path to better health and an ideal weight involves a disciplined approach to the most crucial human activities, eating, sleeping and drinking water. By focusing on the quintessential activities, you will surely be able to get down to your desired weight.
One Final Note
Exercise is not necessary to lose weight. I don’t care what anyone tells you; it’s not. However, it is healthy to exercise. We all should exercise our bodies. But when we’re talking about losing weight, exercise is not what will get you to your goal. It will help, but eating is what is responsible for your weight.
I always say, “Eating determines your weight. Exercise shapes it.” A bodybuilder and an obese person probably eat a similar amount of calories, but all the exercises the body builder does shapes their body differently. Unless you work out like a bodybuilder, you won’t burn enough calories to lose a significant amount of weight by working out.