School is back in and everyone talking about the Freshman 15 or even the Freshman 25. It does not matter when we hit our respective campuses because we have all been there. Standing with a group of friends at 2am chowing down on some delicious pizza from the local Dominos. All the while justifying it to ourselves because nothing else is open on campus at that time of night, and seriously, what tastes better when you are exhausted after partying all night, than ooey gooey tangy cheesy pizza? I will tell you, pretty much nothing, and you will agree with me.
However, that is not going to keep your abs flat, your arms and legs toned and that butt looking fantastic. It is all about balance. You can still eat that pizza, just not at 2am and not as your major food group!
I consulted Cobi Slater of Essential Health Natural Wellness Clinic, who is a Doctor of Natural Medicine and Clinical Herbal Therapist, for some practical tips to keep in mind the next time you reach for fast food or indulge in too much comfort food.
- A good tip to start your day is with some hot water and lemon. This will help to put your digestion in check, drink more water and curb your appetite so you know when you are actually hungry and not eating out of boredom. This is also a great way to flush out those toxins that your body is holding on to from last weekend’s rager.
- Try to have a green juice every day and eat alive. If you eat foods that are alive like fruits and vegetables then you will feel alive and full of energy to take on those midterms and late night study sessions.
- Avoid the health robbers such as preservatives, food dyes, chemicals and trans fats that steal nutrients from our bodies. Common robbers are boxed cereals, processed breads, crackers, muffins, ketchup, margarine and luncheon meats.
- Grocery shopping. I know what a weird concept it is, but you are becoming an adult and it is something that needs to be done. Here is Slater’s tip – shop the perimeter of the grocery store. All of the nutritious foods are located along the outside aisles. The aisles in the middle commonly contain packaged and processed foods. If you avoid this area you will not be tempted. I repeat, you will not be tempted!
- Avoid products with the following words listed in the ingredients: bleached, fortified, refined or enriched. These processed and altered foods are void of critical nutrient value and will do very little to fuel and energize your body. Eat as close to the original food as possible.
- Unless you are allergic to certain foods like me, and in which case I would recommend avoiding them altogether. Slater recommends to eat only whole grains including spelt, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and brown rice. When eating wheat try sprouted whole wheat bread. Make sure the bread label says unrefined even if it claims to be whole wheat.
- Check for the amount of sugar listed in the food sources. If the first or second words are glucose, sucrose, white sugar, fructose or high fructose corn syrup, the product is loaded with sugar and can impair your immune system. And this is crucial to keep in mind going into cold and flu season. Remember that 4g of sugar equals 1tsp of sugar.
- Chew your food well. Remember that digestion begins with chewing. Gulping down food causes digestive problems and a lack of digestive enzymes.
Now that we know some basic health tips for eating right and staying healthy, let’s get you doing some easy and simple total body exercises with no equipment but your own body weight, that you can do in between classes or in your dorm room.
- Burpees: Do them. It only takes 5 mins to do 10 burpees and is a great whole body exercise. Do this 3 times a day and you’ll be looking great in no time.
- Jumping jacks: 15 reps, 3 times a day. This will improve your cardio while toning your arms and legs.
- Plank: Hold a plank for 60 seconds, 3 times a day. This exercise is excellent for your core and upper body.
- Bridges: The perfect exercise for those who want a toned butt. 15 reps, 3 times a day and hold at the top for 30 seconds. Your crush will never know what hit them.
- Stairs : Take the stairs instead of the elevator when heading to class. This is such an easy way to get your exercise in throughout the day.
- Walk: Go for a walk with friends while you study. Walking burns more fat than running and you can also catch up with friends too.
The Freshman 15 is not a given side-effect of a post-secondary education. It is merely a symptom of making poor choices and not putting your health front and centre. Look after yourself with the quick exercises, eat healthy, and that pizza and beer will be amazing on your cheat day each week. I love pizza, as much as the next person, but it is all about balance.
Gotta run! Until next time…