We’re college girls. We party more, sleep less, and eat worse than we did in high school. Dieting isn’t always on our minds, but when it is, we tend to find that it doesn’t exactly suit our lifestyle. In fact, for most of freshman year I drifted between extreme dieting and buffalo chicken wings. This (as I quickly realized) is no way to approach fitness. After some trial and error, I figured out a system that works for me.
First things first: you need to have a goal. A number on the scale, a dress size, etc. Whatever it is, it needs to be manageable. If it’s not, you’ll end up taking things to the extreme and then eventually giving up. Decide what motivates you, whether it’s your itty bitty bikini or Gisele Bundchen.
Second, you need commitment. This isn’t some extreme diet that’s going to leave you ten pounds lighter at the end of the week, in fact, it’s not much of a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle. Embrace it and stick with it, and the scale will acknowledge your efforts.
- The No’s: No soda. Exception: diet soda being used in small amounts for chaser or a mixed drink . No fast food. There are actually chemicals in fast food that make you crave it more each time you have it. Sneaky bastards. No beer. I shouldn’t need to remind anybody that it is SO CALORIC. No Size L. Save yourself a little change and stop ordering the “extra” or the “large.” It will just tempt you to overeat. No drunk eating!!! (Okay, I make my best effort, but it’s an uphill battle)
- More water! Hunger is often a sign of dehydration which means that half the time you’re stuffing needless calories down your gullet a glass of the good stuff could be enough to satisfy you. Personally, I find the taste of water a bit boring so to spice things up I’ve been adding fruit garnishes like lemon, raspberries, etc. (you can find some good go-to garnishes here)
- Get moving! Try to work out every other day. Yes, we all have lives; classes, boyfriends, jobs, parties, whatever, JUST GET ON THE TREADMILL. If we can find time to pin about working out we should be finding time to actually do it. Even plain old walking has respectable benefits, as do a lot of the little things. For example, balancing on your tippy toes while brushing your teeth, taking the stairs (obvi) and tightening up your abs throughout the day
- No mindless eating. Mindless eating includes snacking in front of the TV, on the computer, etc. We eat so much more than we realize when we’re distracted. To me, one of the keys to dieting is appreciating food, which is impossible to do while watching the Kardashians and updating your Facebook. If you need to snack, celery, carrots, cantaloupe, cucumber, and pineapple are all good candidates because each of them are relatively low in calories with a high water content. Plus, as far as veggies and fruits go, they’re pretty tame (no broccoli or sprouts for me, thank you).
- Eat more slowly. As many of us know, it takes about 20 min for our stomachs to communicate to our brains that we are full. So, I try to chew longer, put my fork down between bites and sip my water, anything to slow down the feasting. A super helpful tip to keep you from over-eating at dinner? Drink two glasses of water 5-10 minutes before eating and trust me, you won’t feel so hungry anymore
- Portion control. Learn to order smaller sizes and/or leave things on the plate. If you imagine your “fullness” on a scale of 1-10 (starving to stuffed), you should start stop eating at around a 5 or 6. For me, this is achieved by offering the rest of my food to my bf when I start to feel full because believe me, there’s no way I’ll be able to go back and reconsider
- Allow for some exceptions. I cheat all the time. Admitting that cheating has happened and will happen again takes a lot of the pressure off. Saturday morning breakfast with the fam? Chocolate chip pancakes will most certainly be consumed. But: this means that I’ll definitely be taking it easy for the rest of the day. Date night with the bf tomorrow night? Looks like it’ll be yogurt and granola for breakfast with a light salad for lunch. I shoot for the 80 / 20 ratio. 80% of what I eat is what I should be eating, while the other 20% is spent on chocolate chip cookies, buffalo chicken dip, and creamy pastas. Yum!
A few last things to keep in mind:
- Celebrate your progress! (But not with an ice cream sundae ) Take pride in your accomplishments, every pound counts! Seriously, this is one pound of fat:
- Staying hydrated is essential, but it can have an impact on the number on the scale since your body works hard to retain fluid. Keep this in mind when you weigh yourself, don’t be too harsh!
- Similarly, many women experience mild bloating before and during their periods which can account (at least for me) for up to three pounds of extra weight
- Last but not least, don’t let the scale take over your life. Life is for living and food is for enjoying!
*I am definitely not a dietician or a personal trainer, CGD is just the way I live my life and I have decided to share, take it or leave it