We have all been there. Everyone has some glory-story to tell about how they were so skinny or so fit in high school, that they played so many sports and we’re in such great shape. And then we all went to college…
1.) We Have a Lack of Sleep
When we were younger we had mom and dad forcing us to go to bed by 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and so on. Every single night, at least, Monday-Friday. How healthy this was for our bodies and we didn’t even know it. Sleep is a huge underestimated contributor to weight gain. Sleep is a restoration of the body and the mind, so when you have been lacking on sleep for several nights in a row your body produces cortisol. Cortisol encourages fat to store on your belly, argumentative behaviors and mistakes. Lack of sleep can also increase snacking during the day because your body is searching for any source of energy it can get to make it through the day. When we finally escape the control of our parents we get to stay up late and party all night. We think we’ve won but in actuality, we’ve lost.
2.) Our Quality of Sleep Sucks
This doesn’t just go for college students. Today’s world in general is FILLED with technology. We go to sleep with televisions, iPads, laptops, cable boxes, cellphones, and any other little devices all sitting in our bedroom-the one place we are supposed to rest. We have gotten confused with what rest and sleep actually mean. Having little beams of light and technology sitting in our room is not a resting place. Searching through emails on your phone or laptop right before bed is not a proper way to put yourself to sleep. Come up with a sleep regime and do it AT LEAST Monday-Friday. Make it a habit to pre-plan your clothes, pre-pack your lunches, pre-set your alarm, wash your face, brush your teeth, maybe stretch a little, shut the blinds, and close your eyes. The little things we do before bed effect the quality of our sleep. You can get 8 hours of rest but if it is filled with waking up through-out the night or tossing and turning, then it isn’t quality sleeping.
3.) We Don’t Know How to Cook
One thing I learned for sure when I left home-I don’t know how to cook a damn thing. And I don’t mean cook your mom’s famous mash potatoes, pancakes, or chocolate cake. When in college the most we cook is cereal, mac-n-cheese, and the infamous ramen. When it comes to quality cooking I am speaking of the flavorful salmon with asparagus and diced red potatoes on the side. I am talking about learning how to incorporate olive oil, cilantro, and other ingredients. None of us want to eat chicken and veggies because the most we know how to do is throw it on the stove, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and pour ourselves a drink. After so many days that meal gets old. Take initiative and learn how to use the Earth-created spices and ingredients around us. *TIP: Whether it be from a cookbook, Pinterest, or a website-make it a goal to chose one meal to cook at home a week. In no time you’ll be educated on so many more ingredients to expand your diet further.
4.) We Are Less Active, And We Love It
Any hour not spent at work or class-we are laying in bed flipping through Netflix. College kids have absolutely no desire to do activities with the time they have off. Reality check: You used to sit in class M-F (7-3pm) and then participate in clubs/sports after school until as late as 9/10pm at night. If you could do it when you were 15, you can do it when your 20. It is common for college students to find themselves up until 2-5am because they “just can’t fall asleep”. The reality is this: lack of sleep increases energy expenditure. On days you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep, reflect on what you have done with your day. You usually will find that you haven’t done much-therefor-your body still has so much energy to use before it wants to shut down and sleep. The days you have classes and work you tend to find yourself craving your bed and sleep much earlier.
5.) We Don’t Have Any Hobbies or Passions
It is very common for college kids to lose sight of their goals and dreams in college. I believe it is because such a large chapter of our lives is closed when we leave high school that we find ourselves at a dead end when it comes to college. For that reason, we have no passion and no desires to do anything. In fact, within those 4 years we work the hardest at procrastinating and going out with friends then we do anything else. When you don’t have hobbies, you don’t have much to do with your time. Hence, Netflix.
6.) We Love Alcohol
Ahhhhh the good old college drinking days. Plenty of memories-good and bad. Alcohol is not something I plan to ever completely remove from my diet so don’t get me wrong BUT alcohol has such negative side-effects as a whole that it really should be used sparingly. Alcohol LITERALLY impairs muscle growth and increases fat storage. (aka)-Everything you wouldn’t want to happen to your body siting in one glass. Try to stick to having drinks 1-2x a week, if not less. Save alcohol for special occasions-intact that will only help you to enjoy alcohol even more when you finally get your hands on it.
Sleep, diet, lack of activity, and alcohol. Every aspect of the fitness world gets flipped upside down when we enter “the best four years of our lives”. And for most of us, this will happen no matter what others tell you. And that’s ok. But don’t say we didn’t tell you so. Cough…freshman-fifteen…cough…cough.