Healthy Weight Loss Habits for the College Girl

by Molly Scott

Just one more lap…

Many of us beautiful Barnard women are looking to lose weight. Some of us may be starting to experience the dreaded “freshman 15,” while others may have been struggling with body image for years. Whether you’re trying to reach your weight loss goals or just striving to stay fit and feel great, here are a few tips to looking your best the healthy way.

Have a goal
You can’t strive for success unless you have a specific aspiration; however, start with easy and small goals first. Don’t simply say, “I want to lose twenty pounds, starting now.” Even if your overall goal is to lose twenty pounds, start with something attainable, like “I will only eat one small dessert today.” Then, set higher goals for yourself as you reach each smaller one. Eventually, your goals will end up becoming healthy lifestyle habits that you do without even noticing.

Eat breakfast
Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day for many reasons. Not eating in the morning can actually slow down your metabolism because your body is trying to conserve energy, and studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are more likely to lose weight. Depriving yourself of breakfast causes you to be very hungry later in the day, which leads to not only eating more, but also craving sugary things. Make sure to eat a breakfast high in fiber, like whole-grain cereals, and high in protein, like eggs. These two nutrients will keep you full much longer than that cup of coffee. Don’t have enough time in the morning to make it to Hewitt before class? Buy some cheap tupperware containers, bring them to the dining hall at dinner, and stash some amazing breakfast foods to keep in your fridge! Fruits without peels, yogurt and cottage cheese, should all be kept in your fridge as quick and healthy breakfast options.

Dodge Fitness Center, not to be confused with Dodge Hall

Get moving
We all know that exercise is not only key to healthy weight loss, but it is also vital for the overall health of our body. Even I’ll admit it: finding the time (and motivation) to work out is extremely difficult in college, especially during midterms. The good news is that you don’t need to exercise everyday as if you’re training for a marathon (unless you are, of course). Even a little cardiovascular exercise (a.k.a. getting your heart rate up) helps to maintain a strong heart and lungs, can improve your sleeping habits, and can give you more energy. For those of us who are new to exercising, the trick is to start out small, just like when goal setting a goal. Jog in Riverside Park, go to Dodge Fitness Center, or even try the Barnard pool. Grabbing a workout buddy can also be an important key to making a workout fun.

Start writing
Keep a lifestyle journal to record what you eat and your workouts everyday. Also, write down how you are physically and mentally feeling that day. If you are starting to see a change in your body, in terms of losing pounds or acquiring toned muscle, write it down! It can be very motivational to see your progress on paper, and you’ll want to keep working towards your overall goal. Another helpful tip is to make inspirational signs and hang them in your room. Write down a goal and tape it to your door, so that every time you leave the room it will remind you of what you’re striving for!

Eat right
In an effort to not sound like your mom, I’m not going to tell you to eat your fruits and vegetables, but here are some things to keep in mind when picking out your meals:

  • Always have a protein source in your meals. It will keep you full and prevent you from unhealthy snacking or overeating at your next meal. Tofu, eggs, and chicken are all great sources of protein.
  • Portion size is key. Only take a small amount of what you want when at the dinning hall, and if you still feel hungry later, you can simply get more. Most likely, though, you won’t be.
  •  Savor your food. This may sound corny, but eat and chew slowly to take in the flavors that you’re eating. That way, you can feel when you reach the point of fullness, and you know that you’ve had enough. 
  • Drink water before every meal and throughout the day. This will let you eat less at meals and keep you hydrated. Also, when you feel hungry, try sipping some water. If the feeling goes away, you were probably just thirsty and dehydrated. If you are still hungry, then it’s time for a healthy snack. 

Molly is a first year at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Photos courtesy of Buzzle and Columbia University Facilities

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