In many cultures around the world, the vast majority of people are overweight or obese. Today, obesity is a strong predictor of health problems; a person of normal weight is, on average, healthier than his or her overweight counterpart so the thing that counts is to become healthier.
Some people in the past used to say that, if you want to gain weight, then you just have to go to college and what happens is that major weight gain is noticed in the early years of college due to a major lifestyle change as a whole. As a result not only body fat increases but also waist circumference. To top it off, students start to look older for their age.
With this in mind, in this post we’ll explore the science behind losing weight in college and the feasibility and health factors involved. We’ll also recommend whether it’s a safe option for you to lose weight in college.
Let’s get right to it!
College life causes major damage to a student’s health due to the excessive consumption of junk food. It also adds too many unwanted pounds on college students which makes gaining weight in college a serious health problem. They mostly attribute the weight gain to a severe lifestyle change, which often involves late night study hours, lack of sleep, staying inactive for a long time and unhealthy eating habits to relieve the pressure of studies. Easy accessibility to food is also a major factor causing noticeable weight gain in college. Fatty snacks and sweet drinks are easily accessible from vendors both within and outside the college campus.
Dressing elegantly isn’t always easy when you’re in college. It largely comes down to feeling good about yourself and taking pride in how slim you look. Just because you have a few more pounds on your body it doesn’t mean that you will stay like this forever, especially when there’s a way to look slimmer in them. Looking 10 times better at your college reunion than you did when you were in the early days of college is possible.
The good news is that, no matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, is likely to produce health benefits such as normalization in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and triglycerides blood sugar.
What Is Weight Loss
In a nutshell, weight loss can be defined as a decrease in body weight resulting from either diet, exercise or illness or some other circumstances. Most instances of weight loss arise due to the loss of body fat but, in cases of extreme or severe weight loss, protein and other substances in the body can also be depleted. Basic body functions (e.g. breathing, cell production and maintenance of body temperature) use 50% to 70% of your calories.
The rate at which your body uses calories for performing basic body functions is called the Resting Energy Expenditure (REE).
The Science Behind Losing Weight
The formula for losing weight is simple: Eat fewer calories than you can burn. But the methods of doing this can vary, especially when you are in a college.
In truth, there is no one best approach to losing weight in college – what works for you might not have the same results for someone else.
We wanted to know what these studies found and, most importantly, when all the science and evidence is boiled down, what experts recommend for people who would like to shed pounds in a safe, healthy manner while being in a college. Experts emphasize one thing:
A person’s approach to weight loss should be one that is enjoyable and can be maintained over the long-term period – even years.
Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance, stresses that weight loss shouldn’t be about deprivation, because diets that deprive people of their favorite foods tend to make less permanent effects. “If you make this commitment to lifestyle changes, then maybe five years from now, you’re 10 pounds [4.5 kilograms] lighter. If you’re doing crash diets, you would probably be 10 pounds more.”
During college, one should focus on making lifestyle changes – sometimes even small ones like cutting down on the sugar in coffee or tea – to reduce an overall calorie intake in the form of avoiding sugary items. While these changes might not lead to significant amounts of weight loss, they can produce healthy, gradual weight loss that is not harmful to our natural body mechanisms.
17 Tips to Lose Weight in College
- Stick to the Plan: If you want the right results you’ll have to fully commit to a diet and stick to it!
- Prepare Yourself to be Less Satisfied: While following a diet plan there is more chance of feeling hungry. By consuming lesser calories, the body will send hunger signals as your body adapts to more food and sugar levels. If you are serious about seeing some quick results stay strong and remember: no pain, no gain!
- Don’t Take Snacks: Snacks can only satisfy your hunger temporarily. Follow the plan strictly. You will only get results if you follow the rules as they are laid out in the diet plan.
- Take Plenty of Water or Detox Water: Not only will water keep you hydrated but it will also make you feel fuller. Start each day with a big glass of water and drink water with each meal. Water will help make you feel full and encourage your body to flush out toxins that hold onto fat and bloat.
- Plan: Buy your food ahead of time so you aren’t tempted by grocery items while hungry. Hunger destroys willpower. Buy enough food to last you through the whole diet so you can avoid the temptation of shopping during the diet.
- Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is very important for health, the healing process, weight loss and immunity. Make sure to sleep at least eight hours a night so that your body stays healthy.
- Reduce Stress: Watch the sunrise, meditate, attend motivational workshops, do breathing exercises, practice positive thinking, get out into nature, spend time with positive people, read, and do activities that help you be relaxed, balanced and positive.
- Plan Your Workout Early Morning Before College: The reason for this is that an empty stomach provides the best results and gives a good booster start to a healthy day in college. Working out on an empty stomach encourages your body to burn its fat stores. Your body is much more likely to use fat for fuel when there is no food in your belly.
- Enlist a Friend Who Accompanies You: Having a friend to go through this whole plan with you will keep you well motivated. It also adds an element of competition and support that will push you to stick to the plan.
- Start Your Day with Warm Lemon Water: It freshens you up, boosts your immune system, controls your cravings, and helps your body clean out toxins and purify.
- Slowly Reduce and Eliminate Your Processed Foods and Processed Sugars from Your Diet: As you are increasing your healthy food intake, it will get easier to let go of processed foods. If you are craving something sweet then fresh fruits, dates, dried figs, carrots, sweet potatoes and peaches are excellent options.
- Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is very important for health, healing and weight loss. Make sure to sleep at least eight hours a night.
- Take Stairs in College: According to Bryant from the American Council on Exercise, walking up the stairs at a moderate speed burns almost 5 calories per minute for a 120-pound person and 9 calories a minute for a 180 pound person. That’s a pretty large amount. Running up the stairs helps you burn the extra calories you take in while trying to focus on studies. It can also remove extra fat from the posterior of thighs and buttocks.
- Go for Smaller Portion of Food in Cafeteria: Never overeat while spending time with friends. Eat smaller portions in a meal at one single time.
- Never Skip Breakfast: Try to take a low-calorie breakfast. It will help you to avoid munching over snacks later on. It will also give you more energy during the rest of the day. According to the Huffington Post, green tea is also one of the healthiest beverages you can drink because of its antioxidant properties.
- Prefer Green Tea and Black Tea or Coffee Over Normal: Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the whole world. But choose to make it sugar free without milk.
- Make a Daily List of Things You Eat: This is sort of self-checking in order to control what you are eating on daily basis.
Is It Safe to Lose Weight While in School?
For the most part, following a diet plan that has been designed by health experts is not only safe but recommended for obese individuals. That said, rapid weight loss and extremely limiting your nutrition isn’t the best idea for your health. Aside from being very hungry, you may experience certain complications, like:
- Dehydration leading to kidney damage.
- Life threatening electrolyte imbalances.
- Generalized weakness.
- Irritability and mood swings.
- Loss of muscle mass.
- Menstrual abnormalities.
- Generalized aches and pains.
Would You Recommend Losing Weight?
The inclusion of unhealthy, sugary and processed foods, such as ice cream and cheese burgers and the lack of necessary vitamins and minerals make your diet unhealthy. These foods may lead to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancers.
The promise of diets that claim specific food combinations can boost your metabolism is not supported by authentic research conducted by scientists. Also, the low-calorie intake recommended in the crash diet programs is potentially dangerous and can cause potentially harmful eating and obesity disorders.
Lastly, the restrictive nature of the diet certainly removes the pleasure we gain from cooking or eating afterward.
For long-term success, it is recommended to avoid short fad diets and focus on a gradual lifestyle change during college life.
Eliminate sugary and processed foods. Start eating a mostly organic, plant-based whole food diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits which provide fiber, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans and legumes. Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day; walk regularly, get plenty of sleep, reduce stress and maintain a positive state of mind.
Wrapping It Up
If you follow these basic healthy eating principles, over time you will notice that you lose pounds, your health will improve, and you will feel satisfied, more energetic and slimmer, and overall fabulous enough to attract the one you’ve had your eye on all during college life!