Weight Loss Support - College student in need of guidance and advice

08-17-2011, 12:27 AM

I feel like I am at a dead end in my weight loss journey. I am trying to lose around 40/50 lbs. to get within my healthy weight area. I have tried so many types of diet strategy (calorie counting, cleanse diets, high protein/low carb) and have gotten no where. I have read about other people's weight loss successes and have read diet books and articles about how to lose weight and I feel like none of those tips are helping. I hardly drink pop or high-sugared drinks, mostly just water and tea or juice. I try to eat as healthy as possible for my time and budget constraints (I'm a full time college student) and try to include as many fruits and veggies as possible. I am a moderate exerciser. I walk on campus every day (mostly uphill) and also exercise whenever I have extra time. I count calories everyday with an app for my ipod and hardly ever go over my daily calorie target. I just don't know what my next step should be. What else can I do to reach my goal. I really want to lose weight to be healthy. I'm not really concerned with the vanity aspect of being "skinny" and in fact I don't want to be "skinny". I want to be muscular and athletic looking. I have thought about trying weight watchers but I just don't have the money to pay the monthly dues to participate in the program. Can anyone offer any advice or sources that they used to help them reach their goals? I know every person has an individual weight loss niche and I just need help finding mine.

08-17-2011, 12:48 AM
For me, I stick strictly to calorie counting. I calorie cycle (kind of) and average 1100-1200 cals a day. Usually I have one high day a week and eat up to 1600 or so. I will cut back the rest of the week to average about 1100-1200 cals a day. I count every single thing I eat, except non-starch vegetables like broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, and lettuce. I exercise 4-5 times a week (usually walking up hills as I live in a hilly neighborhood). On weekends, even though I still count calories and stay in my range, I will have something a little fattier than usual such as a cupcake or a small cheeseburger. This somewhat helps me feel less deprived. I do eat some chocolates every now and again (which I count) but I am trying very hard to limit them because sugar increases my hunger substantially. I even count things like half-n-half that I put in my coffee. Over the past month, however, I have trained myself to drink it black. Are you counting every single thing you eat?

08-17-2011, 12:52 AM
I'm also a full time college student and completely understand how difficult it can be. Like you, I tried everythingggg and nothing seemed to work. But eventually I started to lose weight but it took all my strength and energy. Moderate exercise and walking isn't enough. I walked everywhere and didn't lose a pound. It took exercising 6 days a week aiming to burn 300 - 500 calories every session to help me lose weight . This included spinning, running, yoga, and strength training. I also ate 1200 calories per day of protein bars, fiber cereal, fruits and vegetables, etc. Sometimes the weight just doesn't come off but you have to keep working at it and not lose hope. I also had to minimize alcohol to once a week (instead of 3 - 4 nights per week) and no beer - only vodka with diet sodas or any zero calorie drink. As long as you're burning more than you take in, you will lose weight.

Also, you can go to a nutritionist to see how fast your metabolism is and they can put you on a specific plan for your needs.

08-17-2011, 01:10 AM
Congrats on your success so far - college and weight loss are NOT an easy combo!!! A big thing for me is I have to write down / count everything I eat. I see you have an app for it so that's good.
I hit a plateau and could NOT get past 50 lost, my weight loss just came to a dead stop. While I was stuck I started a running program (let me stress, I am NOT a runner and never was, but always wanted to be). And that first week of running finally pushed me through my plateau. I don't think it was the running exactly - maybe just switching up what I was doing for exercise. I know you walk a lot now. Does your school have a gym? Maybe a few days of some time on a cross trainer or elliptical would help? Or some strength training. If not, utilize those hills on campus. If you can find one (preferably not too much traffic, unless you really enjoy working out in front of tons of people! ha) run up the hill, and walk back down, focusing on not letting gravity pull you down the hill and slowing yourself down. Repeat as many times as you can plus one :) . I do that occasionally and its a great workout. For me the more I lost, the harder I had to make my workouts.
best of luck to you ;)

08-17-2011, 01:23 AM
I have been consistently counting everything I take in for 3 months. I have a calorie target range of 1500 calories a day. I have tried eating in the 1200 range but I felt so run down that I couldn't function. My daily demands are pretty intense. I have classes and work all day and then study late into the night. I try to use every spare minute I have for exercise but sometimes I have no spare time. I am attempting to make exercise part of my daily routine once the fall semester starts up again and I am hoping this helps. I have back issues though so I am limited in the types of exercises I can do. I also don't have a lot of time to cook healthy meals. Most of my meals consist of Lean Cuisines and steamed veggies and fruits and chicken breasts. I have thought about seeing the Nutritionist on campus and seeing if she could point me in some direction. I just feel so helpless and don't know where to turn. I just feel like there's not realistic plan for me that's going to stick. Is it worthwhile to stick to the calorie counting and exercising or should I break down and try an actual diet program? I just feel like with diet programs, it's not a life long change. I want something I can change for life and keep doing so that I don't gain weight back. I have lost some weight from when I first started college (2 years ago) but most of that was just because I didn't have time to eat, which isn't healthy either.

08-17-2011, 01:34 AM
My school does have a gym that is thankfully only 2 blocks from my house so I utilize it as much as possible. When I go I usually do 20 to 30 minutes of time on an elliptical followed by free weights and abs and usually a cool down walk on our indoor track. I love exercising and so do my roommates which helps out a lot. The downside is that they are both super skinny and can do a lot more than me. I prefer to exercise on my own so I can go at my own pace. I have taken classes there and loved doing that. My main problem is my time constraints. I am a pre-med student. I just got into an early acceptance program into medical school which means that my free time just got cut in half. I just don't know where I can create some more time to fit exercising in. I only sleep around 5 hours a night and spend the rest of the time in class or doing homework. I have tried to get up early 5:45 and exercise. But I found that I was falling asleep in class and I can't have that. Anyone have a magic potion to create an extra two hours in the day? :)

08-17-2011, 01:40 AM
Work on portion controland keep going healthier with food,c'mon we all have room for progress with this!

Then it sounds like you just need to get heart healthy, find a cardio/fitness routine you can get excited about.

Spinning, walking , running *wink*, zumba, step classes, boxing, muscle work!

Larry H
08-17-2011, 06:04 AM

I feel like I am at a dead end in my weight loss journey.

I hardly drink pop or high-sugared drinks, mostly just water and tea or juice.

I count calories everyday with an app for my ipod and hardly ever go over my daily calorie target.

First I would suggest you stop drinking ALL pop and high sugar drinks. Second, unless your ipod has an app that allows you to pile food on top of it and weigh it, portion control probably is your biggest problem. If you are not weighing and measuring EVERYTHING you eat your calorie counting will be totally inaccurate.

When I started actually measuring and weighing my foods, I discovered that I was a terrible estimator of portions. When I started weighing and measuring all of my food weight loss and success with dieting began working for me. If it works for me it can work for you.


08-17-2011, 07:16 AM
Larry is right, it is so important that you weigh everything. and rely on the back of packets of food for your portion size, usually they tell you. It was a hard lesson for me to learn since I could never work out why I was eating healthily and not losing.

Also fruit juices are filled with sugar and calories. I would switch to 100% pure smoothies because you get the fruit with the fibre which will fill you up. Just make sure they are 100% pure and not 'from concentrate'.

How are your carbs? Some people have found that cutting out all white refined carbs is really effective, so that means no white bread, white flour, white pasta.

Being a student on a diet is tough but you can do it. I just graduated and during my last year I had all of my end of year projects and a 12,000 word dissertation to get through which made it difficult for me to find time to exercise because I was basically working all day and evening. The best thing for me was couch25k because it only took up about 45 minutes and I was very successful with it and still do it now. I did it in the morning before I started working, or sometimes last thing at night.

08-17-2011, 10:27 AM
I second weighing/measuring everything. I have always been an "estimation" girl and when I realized what the 1700 calories I'm allowing myself really *is,* it's more challenging than I thought to stay in that ballpark. Another thing that might help is eating every few hours to keep your energy up, especially since you have such a busy lifestyle. Also, you mentioned you're eating lean cuisines and veggies for most meals- try to add some more protein in there. In my experience, frozen meals, while in some cases necessary for the sake of convenience, often don't provide enough protein (also, the sodium in them can make weight loss challenging, depending on how many you eat).

You mentioned seeing a nutritionist on campus- and if that's an option for you, I think it's a great idea! He or she can give you good ideas for healthy, on-the-run meals and snacks.

08-17-2011, 11:16 AM
I don't go to school "on campus" I am a hybrid student. I only go to campus once a week for one class and the rest of my classes are online (full time). I work 30 hours a week and I am a mother. I find it really hard to find time to exercise when I am in school but since starting going to the gym and having the ability to utilize day care, it makes it much easier for me. Exercise is so important, so squeeze it as much as humanly possible. I also find that if I don't eat back the calories that I burned in exercise, I am tired, famished, and dragged out. I eat between 12 to 1300 calories a day and if I don't eat back the 300 + that I burn at the gym everyday, I will be extremely faint after I get home from the gym.

I have started measuring as much food as possible but still yet to get a scale to weigh out meat portions, etc. I find that the measuring I have been doing helps keep my portions in control and more in line with my calorie counting.

08-17-2011, 06:36 PM
I have to agree with everyone and the weighing. If there is ONE thing im my kitchen I cannot live without - its my kitchen scale. I weigh everything because like many - I had NO CLUE how far off I was with portions. I understand the time retraints. I used to eat smart ones but recently have been trying to eat clean so I make my own frozen meals. If you are able to set aside a few hours every now and then and cook / freeze things, it can be very helpful (I have a quinoa and veggie stuffed pepper defrosting right now!).
Also have to agree to make sure your getting enough protein. If you dont have time to cook it, maybe a bar? I am a huge fan of Think Thin bars, with 20g protein and ZERO sugar. (wegmans and drugstore.com both sell them). They range from around 200 to 250 cals so I use them as a meal replacement. I am a mini meal eater, or as my sister calls it, a "grazer" (yeaaa thanks for comparing me to a cow ha). But again, its what works for me.
I do have to say I have tried both nutrisystem and jenny craig - obviously those weren't the permanent solution. I didn't need a diet, I needed a life change. Those programs don't teach you anything and are not a long term fix, but thats just my opinion! ;)
Also make sure you are sleeping enough, I am sure there are many pre-med students that would say thats impossible! But make it a priority, there are SO many studies proving a link between sleep deprivation and weight gain.

08-17-2011, 08:56 PM
I am exactly like you, same weight and everything. I have just started to lose weight by actually focusing on portions, like others have said. I didn't really realize how much I ate until I wrote it down and stuck to serving sizes. Anyway, good luck to you! It is hard being in college and trying to lose weight!

08-20-2011, 01:36 PM
Thanks everyone for all the advice! I will invest in a kitchen scale and will start measuring and weighing what I eat. I also have decided to stop eating frozen meals because as you all have said, there is not enough protein and way too much sodium. I really appreciate everyone's advice, it really helped me open my eyes.