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Advice for WL in College??

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Old 12-30-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
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Default Advice for WL in College??

Trying to lose weight in college is hard with having to balance classes, homework, gym, working, search of internships, and have time to make something healthy. I have repeatedly attempted to lose weight and failed. I want this year to be different. Many people tell me that best way is to run to love weight but I can't due to a bad knee. Are there any other suggestions? My goal is to lose at least 20 pounds by May. Does anyone have advice on how to find the balance? Greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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Old 12-30-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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I lost the bulk of my weight during my first undergrad degree. I actually found it much easier to find the time to fit in workouts/food prep vs. when I was working full time after I graduated. The best thing to do is make a big schedule of all your commitments on a standard week and schedule your workouts, just like you would any other appointment. I usually had class from 8:30 - 10:30am every morning and then had 1-2 hours off before my next class. That was when I would workout. The gym was always quiet and it was still early enough that I got it out of the way. Most university gyms offer plenty of classes you can take (mine were included with my membership) as well. I really liked spinning (which can burn just as many calories as running for the same amount of time). Most of the time though, I did my own circuit training to work in cardio with my weights so that I was more efficient.

In terms of food, it makes a big difference if you're living on campus or off. If you have your own kitchen I really recommend batch cooking things like chills and stews and freezing them for later. I always do a big cook when I know I have a busy week of tests and assignments because then I don't have to worry about coming home and having nothing for dinner or choosing convenience over quality.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Always pack a snack or two, always. Always have healthy meal options available to you, either simple fresh meals or frozen. Know what healthy options are available to you on campus/on the way home (if you eat fast food, etc). Plan meals ahead - log them ahead, if necessary.

This is the best advice which has helped me succeed through the end of undergrad/beginning of grad school. I can't emphasize "always pack a snack" enough if you're like me, and make poor choices if you get too hungry. I lost a great deal of my weight before I ever started working out. If you can, that's awesome! If you can't, don't stress out about it. Don't stress out about not getting to work out during exams, etc, when you're very busy. Focus on making healthy eating habits and stick with them.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Weight loss is 80-90% in the kitchen, so don't be discouraged that an injury will prevent weight loss! A Snicker's bar is barely under 300 calories; a 150-pound person would have to run 3 miles to burn that off. (All round numbers.) The point being: it is usually easier to control the food that's coming in, rather than try to burn off the overages.
I too lost weight before exercising: my knees are fussy and I didn't want too much extra stress on them. Everyone's story is a little different.

So, what's a college student to do? My 2c, plan, and do some combination of a all-week prep day, or make intentional leftovers and pack them in individual containers right away. The end goal is to have grab-and-go food for during the week, to make it easy to pick healthy and measured portions. Freezing leftovers is a great option: I will take mine to work and by the time lunch rolls around it is defrosted enough to microwave quickly. Additional bonus to freezing is if you don't want to eat the same meal 4 times in a week, it stays in the freezer easily for next week.
Precut veggies and pack into ziplocks for the week, keep whole fruit handy. If fresh stuff it hard to budget for, the next best is frozen.
Having a slow cooker is lovely for cheap cuts of meat, and having a hot meal when you get home after a long day is nourishing to your heart and mind as well as your body.
If you're going out to eat, do some homework ahead of time to figure out what the best choice or two are. Restaurant food isn't always what it seems - salads can often be a calorie bomb in a bowl.

Like a previous poster said, know when it's time to just stay in maintenance mode; maybe starting with the New Year will give you some good time to get in the groove, but if watching your diet on top of mid-terms or Finals then go into maintenance mode and focus on your studies. Just pick things back up when you're ready. It's a process, not a destination. Which leads me to your weight goal. Whether you make it or not depends on a ton of things, some in your control and some not. Your first and biggest goal should be positive progress. I know I have a number in the back of my head I can't shake so I know better than to tell you to put the timeline away. BUT - try to be flexible, and try to understand it isn't going to be a straight line from here to there. Keep moving in the right direction and pat yourself on the back for the small victories, because they will add up.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:23 PM   #5
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Finals week is the worst for me, just because its stressful and I have less free time. You don't need to run to lose (luckily, or I'd be sol haha)! Calorie counting works well for me, because it doesn't matter what/when I eat as long as I stay under calories

I like to do easy/smallish breakfast and lunch (like toast, fruit, raw veggies) and then cook for dinner (I eat a lot of chicken, but that's just me) but that's just because I have more time in the afternoons. I guess it depends on if you're living off campus--I am, so its easy to cook healthy meals.
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:18 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone! Its inspiring to know that it is possible! I'm a commuter. Since I have a hard time studying at home so I'm usually in school late doing all my studying and home. I'm regularly there from 9am to 9pm. This semester I want to take my lunch. I don't know if i should take dinner too. Is it recommended to do small work outs every day? or a longer work out 3 times a week. I don't know which i feel is more effective. no matter what I can't seem to spend less than an hour at the gym between changed cardio and weights. And what does everyone do to fight cravings? The people at my job eat cheese steaks and chicken finger pizza, with fries all the time. It makes it so hard to resist. And I have a weakness for chocolate.

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Old 12-31-2013, 12:03 AM   #7
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I think everyone has given you great advice! I had the biggest weight loss my first year in college and I think for me it was all about being OVERLY prepared- like someone said earlier, scheduling workouts is a great idea- that was key for me, but I think what helped me the most was to do most of my cooking for the week on Sunday (my day off) and then I bought a lot of raw fruits and veggies to snack on- and when I was tempted by what everyone else had to eat, I had strawberries or something that I could also ENJOY (pick healthy foods that you LIKE- it shouldn't be a punishment to eat well). And I would make sure that in an emergency I would never get too hungry. If I was hungry and didn't have something healthy immediately available it was way too easy to hit up the vending machine. I would usually bring more fruit and vegetables than I needed but it was helpful when I was feeling like a bottomless pit and could eat a pound of carrots instead of binging on chocolate cake.

I would also say that nothing should be "off limits" while I am the first to admit that I'm not perfect, it helps me a lot when I have a craving to set a timer for 20 minutes- if I still want the food 20 minutes later, I'll have a little- but 8/10 times... When the timer runs out I am so proud of myself for not giving in in the moment that I don't even want the food anymore. Plus, for me- the moment I decide "I'll never eat _____ food again" ALL I can think about is how much I want it!!

Good luck
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky Quilts View Post
Weight loss is 80-90% in the kitchen, so don't be discouraged that an injury will prevent weight loss! A Snicker's bar is barely under 300 calories; a 150-pound person would have to run 3 miles to burn that off. (All round numbers.) The point being: it is usually easier to control the food that's coming in, rather than try to burn off the overages.
I too lost weight before exercising: my knees are fussy and I didn't want too much extra stress on them. Everyone's story is a little different.
I think this pretty much sums up what I was hoping to add to the thread! You can still begin losing weight solely focusing on diet.
I used to have problems with having pain in my heels from standing or walking too long, I've noticed with the weight loss that pain has going away quite a bit.

What I have done is find meals and snacks that are easy to prepare in a microwave or eat cold. I live in a dorm so all I have access to is that and a meal plan, which I tend to skip for the most part. I think just stocking up on healthier snacks helps tremendously. I don't normally pack snacks to take with me, since I always head back to my dorm between classes so I can switch the books and homework that I need, so I don't feel like a pack mule all day. But when I did have to pack a snack I would put some whole grain crackers and cheese in my bag or something similar to that. In addition to this I count my calories with my LoseIt! app.

In terms of exercising, I know realistically I don't have much time to workout, so instead I just made easy switches to be more active. I try to walk more when running errands or getting to class, and I take the stairs instead of elevators. If you're like me and are always at class right on the dot instead of 5 minutes early, I'm sure you will get a lovely sweat and mini-workout just by running up 3 flights of stairs to get to class on time.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJ WL19 View Post
Thanks everyone! Its inspiring to know that it is possible! I'm a commuter. Since I have a hard time studying at home so I'm usually in school late doing all my studying and home. I'm regularly there from 9am to 9pm. This semester I want to take my lunch. I don't know if i should take dinner too. Is it recommended to do small work outs every day? or a longer work out 3 times a week. I don't know which i feel is more effective. no matter what I can't seem to spend less than an hour at the gym between changed cardio and weights. And what does everyone do to fight cravings? The people at my job eat cheese steaks and chicken finger pizza, with fries all the time. It makes it so hard to resist. And I have a weakness for chocolate.
I drink ridiculous amounts of water, and that helps with most of my cravings. I also like those 100 calorie popcorn bags because I usually can't finish them but they're low calorie--that may not work for carrying with you (then again a lot of our study areas do have microwaves haha). As for resisting temptation...I work in a lab and ALL week people are bringing junk food to share in the break room + we have a weekly lab meeting that people bring snacks. I usually bring an orange or some nuts with me and it helps (I like/would suggest foods you have to work for, so they last longer: peel the orange, shell the nuts)
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJ WL19 View Post
Thanks everyone! Its inspiring to know that it is possible! I'm a commuter. Since I have a hard time studying at home so I'm usually in school late doing all my studying and home. I'm regularly there from 9am to 9pm. This semester I want to take my lunch. I don't know if i should take dinner too. Is it recommended to do small work outs every day? or a longer work out 3 times a week. I don't know which i feel is more effective. no matter what I can't seem to spend less than an hour at the gym between changed cardio and weights. And what does everyone do to fight cravings? The people at my job eat cheese steaks and chicken finger pizza, with fries all the time. It makes it so hard to resist. And I have a weakness for chocolate.
If you're just starting a workout program I would do whatever method you prefer. If you'd rather do a short period of time 5 or 6 days a week, go for it. IF you'd rather do a long workout 3-4 days a week, then do that. If you're doing short workouts I would aim to make them about 30 minutes and make sure you're getting in some high intensity to get the most bang for your buck. You can always make changes to the program if you want once you're in a routine. And look into classes/circuit training. THey usually combine cardio and weights which is much more efficient.

I calorie counted, so I never really had an issue with cravings. If I wanted something I ate it and I worked it into my calories. I found the more weight I lost the less I gave in to cravings because I was super motivated to keep seeing results.
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Mini Goal #1: 169lbs
Mini Goal #2: 164lbs
Mini Goal #3: 159lbs
Mini Goal #4: 154lbs (LOWEST WEIGHT AS AN ADULT)
Mini Goal #5: 149lbs
Mini Goal #6: 144lbs
Mini Goal $7: 139lbs
Mini Goal #8 (Maybe): 134lbs
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Becky Quilts View Post
So, what's a college student to do? My 2c, plan, and do some combination of a all-week prep day, or make intentional leftovers and pack them in individual containers right away. The end goal is to have grab-and-go food for during the week, to make it easy to pick healthy and measured portions. Freezing leftovers is a great option: I will take mine to work and by the time lunch rolls around it is defrosted enough to microwave quickly. Additional bonus to freezing is if you don't want to eat the same meal 4 times in a week, it stays in the freezer easily for next week.
Absolutely! For over five years I've been batch cooking and freezing individual portions and it's been my savior. There is never a "what am I going to eat" moment because I have so many options readily available to me.

However, if you're gone from 9am-9pm, do you have access to a microwave or refrigerator? Something like salad, a wrap/sandwich, chicken/tuna salad would work in a cooler, but I would be tired of cold meals 2-3 times a day. If you don't have access to a microwave, a thermos could easily keep a one pot meal soup/chili/stew hot for at least the first meal.

This is my ideas on what to pack at night or early in the morning:
-an easy breakfast sandwich
-A one dish lunch meal of something hot in a thermos (again, you can cook one big pot on the weekend, portion and freeze to heat up that morning)
-1 or 2 snacks: nuts, jerky, fruit, hard boiled egg, veggies with hummus/dip
-some kind of cold meal like a salad or wrap
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