Weight Loss Support - Weight loss in college?

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08-05-2009, 12:19 PM
I'm heading into college, weighing about 170 pounds. So I'm down about 35 pounds from my worst weight, but I've gained five back recently due to just about the worst eating and exercise habits you have ever seen. I'm not as concerned with my weight as I'm concerned with how out of shape I am- five pounds doesn't mean much to me, but the fact that I can't see the muscles in my arms or run a mile anymore bothers me.

So, two issues:

Diet: I am going to have a meal plan and besides that I am dead broke, so I am restricted to dining hall food, which I hear bad things about as far as healthiness. Does anyone have any experience with losing weight eating such food?

Exercise: Generally, I am an avid fencer, and as a part of high school fencing did a lot of conditioning in addition to fencing three hours a day, so it was not that hard to lose weight during the fencing season. There is not really any fencing to speak of at the college I'm going to, and I suspect it's going to be hard/boring to make up that much exercise in a gym, and my roommate might not appreciate morning plyometrics, in addition to the fact that I'm probably not going to have a ton of time. What types of exercises have worked for you when you wanted to get a lot done in not very much time?


08-05-2009, 12:40 PM
Well, every dining hall is different, so I don't think anyone can make any generalizations there. My dining hall had EVERYTHING, healthy and not, and it was an all-you-can-eat extravaganza. It was easy to eat healthy there. My hubby had a crappy ala cart dining hall. VERY difficult to find good healthy food there.

I'd say find some cardio that you like, walk around campus a LOT, and introduce some work with free weights and you'll do fine.

08-05-2009, 12:50 PM
When I was in college the dining halls on my campus had a wide variety and it was easy to find healthy stuff but not so easy to control my portions (it's tough when it's "all you can eat").

As far as exercise goes I can't say enough about running. Not necessarily distance running but you'll get a serious workout with interval running with hills. A half hour of sprints and hill climbs is way more effective than an hour on the treadmill any day IMHO.

08-05-2009, 01:31 PM
One thing I did to control my portion sizes was go up to the dining hall and ask for a to go box...pick out the healthiest stuff i could find, and take it back to my dorm. That was I couldn't go back for seconds =D

Yeah...it WAS hard to eat healthy though. I still gained tons of weight from the stress...but I NEVER exercised and drank tons of soda and always had snack food in my dorm. Just be careful and you'll be fine =D

08-05-2009, 01:41 PM
eating in dining hall was tough for me. Not because there weren't healthy choices--there was always a full salad bar, healthy meats & vegi, etc. but it was hard for me to resist the buffet (in quantity and type of food).

As for exercise, our school had lots of intramural and club sports teams. It won't replace a workout program but it sounds like this may be a good way to increase the amount of exercise you get and get to know other students in the process.

08-05-2009, 02:03 PM
All the residence halls at my university had gyms in them with treadmills and exercise bikes and ellipticals. But even if your residence doesn't have a gym, your campus probably will have a big one. If you have even an hour between classes, you could go and lift weights or do a quick jog on the track/treadmill. One of my friends went to the gym every morning before her classes started, and another friend of mine would go swimming every evening after dinner.

08-05-2009, 02:05 PM
One thing I did to control my portion sizes was go up to the dining hall and ask for a to go box...pick out the healthiest stuff i could find, and take it back to my dorm. That was I couldn't go back for seconds =D

THis sounds like it would be extrememly helpful. You'd only have to rely on "willpower" while filling up the box and then all the temptations would be out of sight. :)

You could also keep a bottle of the low fat dressing in your dorm room mini-fridge and LOAD UP on the salad stuff.

08-05-2009, 02:05 PM
I gained 50lbs in my first year at uni. Our dining hall was mainly pizza, chips, etc with like a tiny little bit for salads etc. We also had a little shop on campus which just sold sweets and crisps and sandwiches and booze. I bought an exercise bike for my room and have little dumbbells and some books with toning exercises, and walking around the city possibly helps too! Go running if you can.

It is a lot easier once you're in a flat with your own kitchen and able to buy and prepare your own food. Go to the 20-somethings forum for more advice for people in your situation.

08-05-2009, 02:13 PM
I was 170 my freshman year of college (Sept). By December, I had lost 25 lbs. I wouldn't recommend following exactly what *I* did as I don't think it was the best plan, but with tweaking to adjust it to your needs, it might be good.

I exercised everyday for 30 minutes by walking on the treddie at the gym. I only did 30 minutes because we had to sign up for treadmill use and it was in 30 min intervals and I wasn't coming back later in the day. I was used to playing field hockey in high school, so I also had one season a year where I would train and lose the weight (only to gain it back throughout the rest of the year, ha!). I would go early in the morning since I was a morning person. I must've been one of 3 because it was EMPTY in the AMs.

Meals: Now here's where it got tricky. I didn't like most of the food, I thought it was rather bland and tasteless. I LOVED (and still do) bagels, so I would have a bagel with cream cheese in the AM. Lunch would be a salad with mayo-ey pasta salads (but just a scoop, I loved them too, hehe) and dinner would either be another bagel or some rice and chicken if it was available (rice and something or pasta and something, no cream sauces). It's a pretty restrictive diet now that I look back on it but at the time I thought it was great and I could've kept going. I just got lazy over winter break and let the compliments get to my head. I suck. That and the courses got harder. Anyway, looking back I should have learnt some time management.

Hope that long spiel helped some. :)

08-05-2009, 02:15 PM
Well, my college experience was over 20 years ago, but I did lose weight in college. We didn't have the huge variety of choices at the dining hall that are available now, but we did have a salad bar. I ate a lot of salads, mostly because I didn't care for the cafeteria-style food that was served. The other key thing was that I never bought food and took them back to my dorm room. That meant that I generally only ate at mealtimes--no snacking. Walking across our large campus also helped.

08-05-2009, 02:45 PM
There is an environmental/food waste issue that is working on having college cafeterias not provide trays as they've found that if people can take only what they can carry to their table in one trip they don't overfill plates, take extra food or drink that they later decide not to eat, etc.

Once I read about this I started not taking trays whenever I'm in a cafeteria situation (I attend a fair amount of confereces held at colleges), and it really works great for cutting down mindless eating. If I'm having a great conversation with table mates, I may not even go back for entree once I finish my starter where in the past I would end up polishing off everything without even paying attention while we were talking. And I stop and think whether I'm really still hungry for dessert before I weave my way back through all those chairs and tables for that final course.

08-05-2009, 03:22 PM
I lost 40 lbs my freshman/sophomore years of college (then let myself get detrailed by study abroad and more difficult classes). I didn't do the meal plan though. I dunno what kind of dinning options your school has. My university has a lot of options (most unhealthy but a few okay): a pizza place, a pasta place, buger king, chic-fil-a, a sub place, a salad place, freshens smoothies, a grill, and home cookin' place. When I ate on campus I usually stuck to chargrilled chic-fil-a, subs or smoothies.
As far as exercise, most Universitys have a student recreation center. Our SRC was great! A lot of free fitness classes, some cheap instructional classes, nice equipment, a pool, cheap outdoors trips and clinics (hiking, kayaking and such), and programs like a biggest loser contest.

Just curious, where are you going?

08-05-2009, 03:26 PM
Oh, and if you can handle getting a job while going to school, maybe try working at the gym. I work in aquatics at my Uni's gym. It helps me work out more because I'm already over there, might as well stay an hour after work and get some exercise!

08-06-2009, 01:53 AM
I was in the same boat with the dining hall situation here's what I learned:
-If your dining halls are buffet style, like mine are try checking everything out before you start to pile things onto your plate. Be conscious of PORTIONS and how much you're serving yourself. Also try not to go back for seconds. I noticed that if you hang out in the dining hall for a while, chatting or studying or whatever, its definitely likely you will munch more.
-Some dining halls, like mine close at night or you may not just feel like leaving your room to eat some days so BE PREPARED for those moments. I cannot stress that enough! Sometimes I'd eat too little or stay up late studying, be starving and there was nothing to eat besides the vending machines. A king size snickers doesn't sound like such a bad idea when its 3am and you've been working on a paper for hours. Keep healthy snacks and meals that can easily be prepared (my dorm had a microwave in each room and an oven for each floor)

When it comes to exercise, take advantage of the gym or pool if you have access. Also, walking to and from class DEFINITELY helps. If you feel safe on campus you could always walk or jog. Lots of schools have intramural sports you might be interested which could make working out more fun. You're roommate will probably be okay with you doing quiet workouts lol, like sit ups, small weights and all that good stuff.

08-06-2009, 01:05 PM
Oh, and if you can handle getting a job while going to school, maybe try working at the gym. I work in aquatics at my Uni's gym. It helps me work out more because I'm already over there, might as well stay an hour after work and get some exercise!

This is a great idea! Just about all major universities have a student rec center that has a gym. And most all universities have a student job program, so I'd try and see if I could work at the Rec center!

I went to U of Alabama. There was a couple different dining halls to choose from, but each of them were kinda easy to find healthy food at. I remember the healthy food.. I just didn't eat it :)

And time wise? You might be surprised really. You actually have a lot more free time than you had while you were in high school. I wouldn't recommend jogging around campus in between classes or anything :) Sweaty and red faced isn't the most attractive look to walk into a class full of your peers, lol.

But there were plenty of girlfriends of mine that lived in the dorm that all went jogging together in the mornings or in the evenings. Just find some like minded people to do some workouts with :)

08-06-2009, 01:21 PM
I lost weight initially when I went to college. A lot of walking and what not and my college was built on a hill.

Try to stay active. Go to the rec center.

I personally never liked the food at our cafeteria when I had a meal plan so I basically ate sandwiches every day and I never remember going for breakfast so I think I either skipped breakfast or ate in my room.