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Freshmen fifteen: how to eat to lose weight

We’ve all heard about the freshmen 15: the 15 pounds you gain in your first semester of college. The meal plans and all you can eat buffets at the dining halls can be hard to resist. But even the upperclassmen who are trying to lose weight and keep it off don’t have to stop eating the foods they love.

Although diets are typically the go-to for people wanting to lose weight, they rarely work. According to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, 95 percent of dieters end up gaining the weight back once they go back to their normal eating schedule.

Diets that limit the amount of food each day will actually hurt your body more than help it. Denying your body the lack of nutrition and calorie intake it needs daily will cause it to go into “survival mode”. This is basically your body thinking you’re on a deserted island with no food. Essentially, your body will purposefully slow down your metabolism to keep the nutrition from leaving your system too quickly. So, you are actually losing weight a lot slower when you restrict yourself from eating.

What works is portioning those meals, which might mean the buffets at Palms and Hopper will pose a little resistance on your part. The three meals of the day exist for a reason. Our body needs them. It’s just a matter of portioning those meals and eating less while still getting the calorie intake your body needs daily, which is about 2,000.

Luckily, VSU established healthier options and suggestions in their dining halls. Each station can provide you with the calorie intake per meal. So you can decide for yourself what you should and shouldn’t eat.

Their new Nutrition Highlights help students figure out which food is the healthiest option for them. Their process is a brightly colored leaf that directs you to the healthy option you are looking for. Whether it’s looking for food lower in fat, calories, sodium or even organic options, healthy for LIFE can find it for you.

On top of eating the right foods, exercise is a must if you’re looking to lose the weight and keep it off. Managing your intake of food just won’t cut it, you have to put in the work to see results. It can be hard to find the motivation to go to the gym. Luckily the VSU recreation center is located near main campus and is free to all students. They have a variety of work out equipment, and classes that can spice up the normal workout routine.

Try planning out a mid-day snack if you have trouble with binge eating between meals.  Put healthy snacks in your back pack to take to class, so you won’t chow down on a huge meal once you get home.

Don’t fear the freshman 15. There are easy and healthier options out there to help you feel and look great. Just remember that your perfect weight is possible if you put in the work for it.

Story by Alex Dunn, Campus Life Editor. Photo courtesy by Valdosta State University.

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