Why Did I Let The Freshman 40 Happen To Me?
To be quite honest, I didn't know I was letting myself gain weight. I didn't let anything happen, it just did. But it happened because I didn't develop healthy habits. In fact, I developed exactly the opposite of healthy habits. Don't worry, I'm not going to talking about alcohol or binge drinking (though neither will help you in the weight area). I'm talking about normal every day living habits. And believe it or not, you will probably have more free time than you think you do so this is the BEST time to take on some good habits.
Habits I Wish I Had Formed
- Being Dining Hall Savvy -As a freshman, you're probably living in a dorm. Chances are it has a dining hall, or there's a central hall you go to. It also probably has a large variety of food grantee to appeal to you. For me I was always drawn to the soft serve ice cream machine. ALL I COULD EAT! This is the time in your life you need to learn moderation. No one will be monitoring you, so you might be tempted to eat large quantities of soft serve too. You also probably think you can get away with it because, well, you've never been fat. Just resist. Trust me.
- Stock Healthy Snacks - I had a mini fridge in my room. Did have anything worth while? Just diet soda usually. Get rid of that. Soda of any kind doesn't do anyone any good. Try to keep small packs of things like carrot sticks, or cold cuts. Don't let them go bad, just have them on hand. Believe me there will be times when you want the bag of chips.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day: Get to Know Your Campus Recreation Center - More than likely your dorm even has a gym. We had one in my dorm... and my dorm was also next door to the Central Campus Recreation Building. I took it for granted. It was a free resource I'll never have again. I hated going to either because they were very intimidating. Even when I was going regularly for a step aerobics class, I passed by the machines. Get to know the classes lists, learn to find the times when the gym will be empty. You'll want it in the winter.
- Avoid the Temptation to Nap - When you're bored, don't turn to the sheets like I did. Just get up, move around. It's easier said than done. There's nothing I liked better than a good nap on a quite afternoon while people were in class when I didn't have a class. But that nap habit stuck with me. I might not ever break it.
- Learn To Use Your Space - On those days when you feel like you don't want to get out and run or go to the gym and you still need to get your 30 minutes in, consider turning your dorm room floor into an exercise area. I've done this with hotel rooms that aren't much bigger, so it's possible. Push-ups hardly take any space and they are one of the best things you can learn to master. Not only will you get kick ass arms for the awesome strappy tops/dresses you're going to wear to the club on Thursday night but you'll gain abs too with all the core work you're getting in.
- Take the Frakking Stairs and Walk! - I don't think I really used elevators before college. The professionals out there are ALWAYS saying this is the habit they need to break! You won't have to break that habit if you never form it. Your glutes will thank you.Also, don't bus to your class if you can walk or bike the same distance reasonably. That walk can count as your 30 minutes if it's enough with a heavy backpack. But be safe.
- Start a Fit Club - It's easier with your friends. Whether you're organizing an ultimate Frisbee team for your dorm, or just getting a group of people to do jumping jacks in the common room you will push each other. (Tip: Impress the cute guy down the hall by inviting him to join you to do P90X or something else intense - show them up and they'll love you).
- Consider Becoming an Instructor - Those people who teach those classes at your Recreation Center had to come from somewhere. Learn where. Get in on it. There's no better way to stay accountable than to lead your own class. And it's something you can take with you as you get on in life. Believe me, you do have the time now. It's jut a matter of priorities.
- Find the Free Workouts - I don't condone pirating dvds. I'm talking about using your cable box and finding the stations that have workouts. Or going to your other dorm mates and borrowing the dvds their parents gave them that they aren't using. There is always something to be had!
- Weigh Yourself - Know your weight now, then give yourself a window to move around. You will fluctuate a bit. But when you start to go over your limit, you know that's when you've got to buckle down. Don't weigh yourself every week (like I do) or you'll go mad. I wish I'd had a scale in my dorm room. I had everything else!
To the Parents of the Young Padawans
Don't purchase your children work out dvds if they didn't ask for them. I think every workout DVD my mom got me that I didn't ask for I never used. The same goes for today - I still have that set of Gillian Michaels DVDs unopened. However, if you get them something gadgety and awesome like a Fit Bit they might use it because it's cool!
The gadget thing never gets dull, even later on.