You Are What You Eat

When you start college everyone talks about gaining the Freshmen 15. The combination of dining halls, free pizza at every event, midnight snack sessions, alcohol consumption and the lack of home cooked meals are a recipe for quick weight-gain. Thankfully, I only gained 10 pounds, and thought I had gotten through Freshman year just fine. Unfortunately, nobody warns you about the Sophomore 5, Junior 10, Senior 10 and Fifth Year 5. So now I find myself about to start my final semester, 40 pounds heavier than I was in high school and 20 pound overweight. Something’s gotta give.

So, I’ve come up with a strategy to lose the weight and keep it off. I thought I’d share it with y’all because I bet a lot of you are in the same boat. Obviously, what works for me will not be appropriate for everyone. We all have different goals, conditions, and quirks when it comes to our bodies. I am also not a professional, and always advise that you speak with your doctor before beginning any sort of diet. That being said, here’s what works for me…so far.

DIET
I limit my daily calorie intake to 1200, and use MyFitnessPal to track everything I eat.

I don’t eliminate any foods from my diet, but try to focus on moderation and portion control.

Given my busy schedule, and lack of cooking ability (hello college life!) I find myself resorting to pre packaged meals. I know this isn’t particularly healthy, but it works. I try to eat every few hours, and my meals include:
breakfast | glass of whole milk
morning snack | Greek yogurt with mix ins
lunch | Lunchables
afternoon snack | 100 calorie pack snacks
dinner | Lean Cuisine

EXERCISE
So here’s the deal, I’ve never lost any weight by exercising. It just always ends up making me hungry and stressed. However, I am trying to be more active on a regular basis for health reasons.

I find strength and flexibility exercising work better for me than high intensity cardio. I try to do yoga a few times a week, and LOVE ballet barre workouts.

I have had the most success with walking or getting on the elliptical for 20 minutes, three times per week. Any more cardio than that and I become the most hungry, irritable person EVER.

SLEEP
A TON of studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. I am religious about getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. I go to bed at the same time every night and am strict about my sleep schedule (except on weekends – hey, it’s college).

Alcohol consumption interferes significantly with your sleep cycles. So, I don’t drink during the week, ever. Additionally when I drink on the weekends I stick to my limit.

MOTIVATION
No weightless goal will ever be reached without proper motivation. Mine consists of a list of rewards (not food) for every 5 pounds I lose until I hit my goal healthy weight, and for every 2 weeks that I maintain my goal. It has really worked well so far to keep me aware of what I eat and how I spend my time.

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