You finally went back home and the childhood mirror in the back of your room beckons you to relive the memories you made staring into it so many times before. You hesitantly walk up knowing that your jeans fit a little tighter recently, and maybe even that cute crop top you always used to wear doesn’t look as cute for some reason. Standing in front of the mirror, you calmly lift your eyes to stare into- Holy shit. Who the hell is that? I know I skipped a few days of working out but how was I supposed to leave my Chipotle gift card in my wallet to expire without being used? How did I let this happen? The proverbial “Freshman 15” sounds like nothing but some silly play on words until it actually happens to you. If you find yourself feeling figuratively – and literally – weighed down by your new college bod, start with the basics.
1. Revisit the friend and foe: food, food, FOOD
Watching what you put in your body is one of the most crucial parts of losing or maintaining your weight. Think of your body as a delicate little glass box that you carry around with you all day. Do you want gross processed crap like Cheetos and greasy quesadillas ruining the aesthetic of your box? No. Instead, try to keep your box as clean as possible. And by that, I mean try to put as much non-processed food into it as you can. “I would focus on trying to make wise food choices, and cut out calories from juices, alcohol, and coffee drinks,” University of Notre Dame nutritionist Jocie Antonelli, RDN, advised. “I am talking about eating five to seven servings of vegetables each day. Vegetables are only 25 calories a serving, very filling, and critical for optimum health.” In my opinion, if there’s a commercial for the food you’re about to eat, put it down.
2. Finally lift a weight or two
Motivating yourself to get to the gym every day sounds nearly impossible if it isn’t already part of your daily routine. However, once you’re in your groove of going every day, you won’t be able to fathom going a day without it.
Notre Dame freshman Kelly McNeill has yet to skip a day of going to the gym this year. “The hardest part about working out every day is that if you do the same thing, you get bored,” McNeill said. “Try to do a different workout each day. For example, running one day, swimming the next, and then using the elliptical and step machine the following.”
Here’s the thing: just showing up and messing around on the elliptical for thirty minutes isn’t going to give you the spring break bod you’re dying to get. You’re going to have to do intensive cardio every day to get your body moving, sweat flowing and heart pumping. That means if you’re able to have a full on conversation while on the stair climber, you’re doing it wrong. Always try to up your mileage (or calorie burn) every time you get on the treadmill.
3. Don’t think it’s going to be easy
Sticking with a diet and workout plan sucks at first. If we could all mosey on over to the gym and follow up a subpar workout with a nice hearty slice of pizza and still be Victoria Secret models, we would.
The reality is that losing weight and being healthy takes sacrifice. Throw out any and all tempting foods from your dorm room (including wine), then follow up with taping a couple photos of Candice Swanepoel to your mirror if you’re really serious. Look up videos of people going on strictly fast food diets and debate whether or not you want those habits polluting your pristine box. Work hard, stay healthy and as Justin Bieber so eloquently states, love yourself.