The College 10

Even students can lose weight and feel great

There is a myth that in the first semester of college or university students will pack on 10 pounds. Unfortunately, for some students, this is a reality. Many new students are not accustomed to living away from home or cooking for themselves. Additionally, given the demanding schedules of many university programs, students may not have time to prepare meals. Consequently, students find themselves eating less than stellar cafeteria meals or grabbing take-out from the closest on campus fast-food outlet. The nearly daily visits to the campus pub don't help either. Slowly but surely the waist line expands with the arrival of the notorious college 10.

Before you start running out to buy rice cakes and flavored water in a vain attempt to lose weight, here are some real tips for avoiding the dreaded first semester weight gain.

Exercise – It's easier than you think. Instead of driving to your classes or the grocery store, strap on your runners and walk there. Instead of using an elevator take the stairs. Join a walking or running club or take the initiative on your own and jog around campus before or between classes. Not only will exercise help you lose weight, but it will also improve your mental focus and concentration for those lectures that are hard to sit through.

Snack Healthy – Instead of grabbing fries or a chocolate bar between classes, pack some pre-cut raw veggies, fresh fruit, or yogurt. These choices can help you lose weight and will provide you with more energy than sugary or fatty snacks and will satisfy you longer.

Fast Food Fix – There are times when you'll just need to or want to eat out, but this does not mean you need to make unhealthy choices. There are plenty of lighter fast food choices out there that can help when you want to lose weight or control weight gain. Instead of a burger and fries opt for a large garden salad topped with grilled chicken and light dressing on the side. If you're going for pizza order a veggie slice with half the cheese. If Mexican is what you're craving, order soft shells instead of hard because they don't contain as much fat. Order chicken or shrimp instead of ground beef and hold the fatty sour cream.

Quick Meals – There are plenty of quick meals you make in your apartment or dorm that do not require an oven. If you have a microwave, you can steam vegetables in a microwave safe container with a little water. Add this to some instant brown and wild rice and toss in a little soy sauce. In desperate times look for a low fat frozen dinner that contains chicken, vegetables and wild rice or whole wheat pasta. Be careful because many of these dishes are high in sodium.