Question:  Help!  I’m afraid I’ll gain weight!  How can I avoid it?

Answer:  The average student gains 3 pounds per year – and like student loans they don’t go away without a lot of work.   The trick is to be smart and eat smart!   It’s all up to you.

Here are some simple solutions that might help.

Plan what and when you will eat.  Your schedule is crazy and you grab something quick and run. The ever-present pizza and hamburgers are so tempting!  Cookies and ice cream are also nice to top it off with when socializing over a bite. If you’re starving by lunch, keep a mid-morning snack on hand.  Bring along a granola or protein bar, a bag of nuts or raisins.  You’re much less likely to hit the vending machines if an easy alternative is available.

In the cafeteria, head for the salad bar.  Use low-fat dressings or vinaigrettes instead of full-fat Ranch and Thousand Island.  Or, visit the sandwich bar.  Take smaller portions in the cafeteria line and go back for seconds if you’re still hungry.  Skip desserts every other day.  But, don’t skip meals!  Keep healthy snacks like granola bars, apples, carrot sticks, and other fruits that will keep you full between meals.   And choose water to drink instead of something sugary.

Get enough sleep!   When you’re tired your willpower is low and you’re craving sweets and carbs.  They really can pile on the pounds.

Control stress with exercise.  Do something physical instead of eating.  Walk or bike as often as you can.  If you commute to campus, park far away from your classroom so you can fit in some walking time before and after class (just be sure to leave a few minutes earlier).

Take an exercise class as an elective.  Yoga, Jogging, Bosu, Pilates, and more are popular classes where you can earn credit.

Weigh yourself. Scary thought, but weighing yourself weekly is the best way to keep off the weight.  It’s a lot easier to lose 2 pounds than 10.

Hopefully, these tips will help you maintain a healthier diet and lifestyle.   Ask a friend to join with you in making better choices.   Accountability makes healthy living a lot easier!