College is such an amazing time in life: you meet new people, transition to adult-hood and learn to live on your own for likely the first time ever. But it's also fairly common knowledge that weight gain during those 4 incredible years is inevitable. In fact, one study found that you probably won't gain 15 pounds your freshman year as the old saying goes, however a steady weight gain over the course of the four years can be expected. It found that the amount of students who were obese/overweight jumped from 23% in freshman year to 41% by senior year.
This weight gain isn't just a vanity metric either. With the increase in weight comes a significantly higher chance of getting Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke. Not to mention the fertility implications and PCOS that result from the elevated blood glucose and insulin levels.
Fortunately, you don't have to follow a starvation diet or drastically cut your calories in order to avoid the college weight gain and feel great. Today, I'm sharing 10 super simple strategies that you can implement on a daily basis in order to shift your body into fat burning mode.
1. Take Your Coffee/Tea/Matcha Unsweetened
I feel like most people discover the wonders of coffee/tea in college (I definitely did). You'll also likely spend most of your time studying in or around coffee shops. But the type of coffee/tea you choose to have on a daily basis will have a MASSIVE impact on whether you'll be in fat burning or fat storing mode. Typically, a grande (16 oz.) chai latte from Starbucks will have about 36 g of sugar (!!!) while a vanilla latte of the same size will have 27g (!!) of sugar and a matcha latte comes in at 32g of sugar (!!!!!).
This massive amount of sugar spikes your fat storing hormone insulin and effectively shuts off fat burning mode. Instead, opt for black or unsweetened coffee/tea or add 1-2 Tbsp. half and half. Orrr you can make your own frothy cup of Keto Coffee yumminess HERE.
2. Walk vs. Bike
If you live on or near campus, walking to and from class is a great way to boost your step count, decrease stress levels and tap into fat burning mechanisms. Biking is a great option as well, but you'll reap more of the fat burning benefits by opting for a walk instead.
3. Don't Eat Oatmeal
Oats are extremely high in the starchy carbohydrates that cause the release of the fat storing hormone insulin. Instead, you can try making an oat-free "porridge" with my Chia Porridge + Raspberry Compote recipe with the video below. This option contains higher amounts of protein, fat and fiber in order to boost satiety and help shift your body into fat burning mode. This recipe is particularly great for students, because you can make a large batch and separate it out into individual servings to bring with you to classes throughout the week.
4. Don't Mix Drinks With Soda
It would be naive of me to say "don't drink" or "drink less". So if you DO choose to drink, it's crucial that you don't pair alcohol with soda, even if it's diet. Soda on it's own is very high in sugar that will stimulate fat storing while diet soda contains chemicals that can disrupt the gut microbiome and make it more difficult to tap into fat burning mechanisms.
5. Or Sugar, For That Matter
Even using "simple sugars" in cocktails can have the same fat storing effect. If you're looking for a sugar-free drink option (and you're of age!), check out two free cocktail recipes HERE. Just remember to also drink responsibly.
6. Have a FULL Glass of Water Between Drinks
Not only will this hydrate you to prevent hangovers the next day, it will also reduce the amount of alcohol that you'll likely consume (while still having a "drink" in your hand!). I recommend aiming for at least equivalent ounces of water to alcoholic drinks. For example, a 12 oz. beer will call for 12 oz. water. When it comes to cocktails, you may want to double this ratio. For example, a 5 oz. cocktail will call for 10 oz. of water.
7. Don't Eat Cereal
Not only does cereal have the same starchy carbohydrate issue as oatmeal, it ALSO is loaded with added sugars. Pairing starches AND sugars will lead you to have a massive spike in insulin and a huge shift to fat storing.
8. Have a Go-To Satiating Break-Fast
Having a go-to breakfast or break-fast option will help to simplify your routine. College can already be tough when it comes to finding time. So by having 1-3 go-to breakfasts, you can make your life a little easier while also achieving your goals. I recommend my daily fat burning smoothie HERE as one of your options.
9. Don't Overdo the Cardio
Specifically I'm talking about running. Running can be a great form of exercise to boost cardiovascular fitness, but too much of it can also cause your body to increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol that can lead to weight gain around the belly. Aim for a few days per week of running paired with your daily walking routine.
Grab the deets of why walking is better than running for weight loss with the video below.
10. Don't Snack on Popcorn, Chips or Crackers
Snacking in general can lead to issues of increased insulin and increased storing. But snacking on the starchy carbohydrate rich foods such as popcorn, chips and crackers can amplify this result.
Instead, focus on eating full meals with an emphasis on protein, fat and fiber to keep you satiated in order to prevent snacking. Try making my super simple Cauli Rice Burrito Bowl recipe that follows these principles HERE.
If you have access to a kitchen and even the smallest amount of cooking knowledge, you can implement the fat burning strategies and recipes within the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle!
Create recipes like the Almond Butter Cup Smoothie, Upgraded LA Street Tacos and Cauli Rice Burrito Bowl that will help you achieve your weight loss goal while in school.
Get started HERE.
Autumn Elle Nutrition