One of the most popular myths one learns about when they are beginning university is the Freshman 15. If you are not familiar with this myth, it is basically a belief that a person usually gains about 15 (or more) pounds during their first year of college. With proper diet and exercise, the Freshman 15 will be nothing more than a myth, but for some people (including myself) who love trying new cuisines, eating late, and going out and drinking at parties, the Freshman 15 is very, very real.
During my time in university, I never really exercised, I usually ate dinner super late, partied, stressed out over school, and was in a relationship. It was the perfect formula for extreme weight gain! By the end of my freshman year, I was roughly 190 pounds. This really caught me off guard because the last time I weighed in, I was only 160. I gained a whole 30 pounds in under a year, which is insane!
Looking at myself in the mirror day-to-day, I felt like I was just fine. However, when looking back at tagged photos of me on Facebook, I appeared a lot bigger. I felt horrible about myself, but seeing the scale wasn’t enough for me to start consistently working out until my senior year of college. I was directing a huge production for school, and I didn’t want to be the same person I was 3 years ago. I wanted to show the audience a more confident and healthy version of me, and I’m happy to say, during my final bow, I stood at 170 pounds.
It took a lot of hard work, but I feel like if what I did got me motivated enough to workout during my hectic schedule, it could most definitely help some of you out there to lose some extra weight and move towards a more confident and healthy you!
1) Drink more water.
- Your skin will feel softer and more bouncy
- Your appetite will decrease
- You aren’t wasting your calories such that if you were drinking soda or juice
If you are not keen on drinking bland-ass water (like me), opt for unsweetened tea, fruit-infused water, eating more veggies and fruits. There’s water in almost everything that’s edible, but tea, infused water, natural veggies, and fruits are the healthiest ways to get more water in. One trick that really helped me get accustomed to drinking water was to not take on the whole 4-liters-a-day right way. That’s miserable! You’ll pee like crazy! Instead, I measured my progress in water bottles. My first daily goal was to finish 2 water bottles. Then I would raise it to 2 and a half, then 3 bottles, etc. etc.
2) Aim to have your last bite before 7pm.
3) Eat slowly on smaller plates.
When it comes to food, we all like to fill up the space that is given to us. The smaller the plates are, the smaller the portions. Also, before you can say that you can always get seconds, try to eat slowly. That way, your stomach can have time to process when it’s full. I know it’s super hard to control yourself when you’re hungry af and theres a plate of food in front of you, but one trick that, surprisingly, almost everyone disagrees with, is to surf the web, go on your phone, or do any activity while you’re eating. The reason I find this really helpful is because these activities require one or both of your hands and part of your attention, which will ultimately slow the pace of your eating. If you’re not the type to use your laptop and eat at the same time, try having a meal with your friend and focus on talking and conversation. By having an extended conversation over a meal, both of you are taking short breaks between bites which will also slow down your eating.
4) There’s no magic pill or contraption that will do all the work for you. It’s all diet and exercise, baby!
5) Find the fitness plan that works for YOU!
6) Incorporate at least one veggie in every meal.
7) Treat yourself!
8) Don’t have time or space to exercise? Sub it with household chores instead.
9) Force yourself to walk!
10) Sleep more.
Sleep and recovery is key. If you don’t get at least 7 hours (even that’s pushing it) of sleep each night, you are adding stress onto your body and it will actually store fat and slow down your metabolism. I used to sleep at 2am and wake up at 6:30am for my morning pilates class, and it was a mistake. I felt like shit every morning and I fell asleep in every single class. I didn’t quit this habit until after graduation, and when I started sleeping at 10pm and waking up at 7am, I felt like I was in heaven. I did not feel sleepy in the mornings nor did I feel the need to snooze my alarm. It was amazing. I’m still currently working on this at the moment, and I am starting to see results and changes in my mood, energy, and attitude!
What are some tips that helped you get through your fitness journey? What was the hardest part about getting in shape, and how did you overcome it?