The student lifestyle is a fatty one: lots of alcohol, cheap fast food, lots of lying in bed doing nothing and bad sleep routine – it’s no wonder that people put weight on at uni. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it, you can counter bad habits and lifestyle routines to improve your diet and increase your exercise – just search the web, there are hundreds of get fit and diet plans to suit those with a busy schedule to those who don’t want to sacrifice their food. The tips suggested below are some slightly different ideas to try out if you’re finding the whole ‘get fit’ thing a struggle, or are failing to see results. Admittedly, these tips are to supplement a healthy diet and fitness plan which you should already be trying out – realistically you can’t shed the pounds using these tips alone. BUT, in the words of Tesco, every little helps, and if you’re trying to lose weight whilst balancing a hectic student lifestyle, any extra methods will help! Plus, even if they don’t massively aid your fitness plan, they all have added student bonuses on top of weight loss to make them all the more worthwhile anyway. Enjoy!
1. Brush your teeth regularly
This may sound bizarre – but it’s a mental trick. Your mind associates brushing teeth as a post-meal activity and thus you’re less likely to eat and snack after you’ve brushed your teeth. Even if you see a snack the refreshing minty taste in your mouth will mentally reject the thought of ruining that taste with a glass of orange juice or chocolate. So all in all brushing your teeth is more likely to stop you from snacking, especially after dinner or breakfast when you’ve already eaten enough – plus the more often you brush, the whiter your teeth will become. Just invest in a travel size toothpaste to bring round with you so you can brush if you’re out.
2. Eat at 6pm
Again this might seem an odd rule. Basically the earlier you eat the more time you allow for your body to start burning off dinner before you go to bed. If you eat at 6pm, chances are you’ll be up and moving about for at least the next 3-4 hours, whether it’s going upstairs to shower or tidying your room: all the extra movement keeps your metabolism running so it can start digesting before you’ve even gone to bed. It also means you don’t wake up feeling stodgy and bloated and has the added benefit of increasing the chances of you going to bed earlier, another factor that contributes to weight loss, see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12880109 early eating leaves you with the evening free to relax and de-stress.
3. Turn off the heating
This trick only really works in the winter, but seeing as you start each year of uni at the start of winter, hopefully if you start this as a trend at the start of the year you’ll be inclined to carry it on throughout the year. Basically, turn off your heating in the winter months – this saves you money on your bills (big student bonus) but also forces you to keep moving to stay warm. As ridiculous as that may sound, there’s method in the madness! It requires a great deal of motivation but can really aid your calorie burning. When you wake up and you can feel the air is bitingly cold outside of the bed – rip off the covers and jump straight into jumping jacks, burpees, bicycle crunches and jogging on the spot. The sudden high impact from lying in bed for 8 hours to intense movement will kick start your metabolism into action at the first point of the day. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll warm up, leaving you feeling energised and awake for the morning (no need to reach straight for the coffee), you’ll be up and out of bed and your body will be working its calorie burning wonders all before 9am – worth it for a few second of cold. Once you get a routine going, if your housemates are on board, turn your house into an military fitness obstacle course to keep things fun and motivated – do laps of the stairs, make the living room the press-up zone, the kitchen the burpee zone and your own room can be some nice ab exercises. If your friends get involved you’ll be more motivated to keep up if they’re doing it too.
4. Don’t take money out with you
This requires a bit of sensible pre-organisation, you don’t want to get to the bus stop and realise that you’ve forgotten to prepare the exact change so that you can avoid the 40 minute walk home. But this trick is probably one of the best – it forces you to prepare your lunch and snacks for the day before you go out, and because you have to prepare it you have to think about what you’re going to make, and that means there’s a much higher chance you’re going to consider carefully what you should be eating – maybe a tuna nicoise salad or some healthy chicken pasta. If you don’t make lunch and just take your card out you create two problems: you buy food which is there because it’s easy, after all a £3 meal deal sounds tempting, but if you’d have brought lunch from home would you really have made yourself a BLT, a packet of crisps and a bottle of coke? I didn’t think so. Bought food also often has much higher calorie amounts – the other day I bought a slice of oreo cheesecake just as a ‘light snack’ over a coffee catch up with a friend, upon leaving I was horrified to see the calorie intake of ONE SLICE was 1200 – that’s over half my intake in one small snack, teamed with the drink which was probably about 500 calories – in a half an hour snack session I’d nearly used up all RDA calorie allowance! Leaving your money at home saves so much money and will actively help you to lose weight – take fruit with you in case you get snackish, but remember to work out how much money you will need for the day in terms of transport, tickets for nights out etc.
5. Eat mushrooms, grapefruit, and miso soup
Okay so these three were selected at random, but these are all examples of really low calorie foods. Sometimes a handful of nuts might seem like a good snack, and yet nuts do tend to have a lot of health benefits, but a small bag can cost you up to 500 calories. That’s a quarter of your daily calorie intake gone in just one handful – and did it fill your hunger gap? Probably not. Instead, opt for low calorie snacks so that if you’re someone who get hungry regularly or takes a while to fill up, you can eat a lot without eating too much and storing it as fat. Snacks like mushrooms and celery a nice snacks to eat raw, and miso soup is great – it’s cheap and easy to make, and a bowl of it might feel like more of a proper snack than a few veggies. All of these low calorie snacks are healthy too which is an added bonus. Check out some examples of other low calorie snacks you should be stocking up on: http://fitbie.msn.com/slideshow/25-shockingly-low-calorie-foods AND http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20640804_5,00.html
Any other fun suggestions you have, please comment below. Hope these tips help!