The “Freshman 15” is the one-size-fits-all term meaning any substantial weight gain during the college years, which is usually about 15 pounds. During the first years in college, we risk going easy on unlimited slices of rich pizza, late-study snacks, and, of course, lots of alcohol (surely, in the context of personal socialization). As a result, your “Freshman 15” can easily sneak up on you before you realize it. For some people, it’s just the way your body adjusts to this new lifestyle and nothing more. However, not all of us realize that these extra pounds have the potential to affect your confidence, both during your college years and even after the graduation. Lauren Haden, the 22-year-old marketing coordinator was just that very case.
Haden had never been physically fit and felt OK with her 190 pounds. However, as she suffered from that constant homesickness during her freshman year, she stopped caring about what edible junk to shove down her throat. As a result, Lauren ate her way up to 209 pounds. No inspiration for a change. Instead, her motivation faded away and the task of shedding weight felt 19 pounds further away (it’s near “impossible”).
Without even realizing it, Haden lost 10 pounds during her busy junior year. Suddenly, she started to feel better, both physically and mentally. So, Lauren decided to make the conscious shift in her lifestyle (which didn’t mean skipping meals by accident).
She left her job, cut down on campus activities, dedicating her extra hours to self-improvement. By her graduation, Haden had shed extra 36 pounds. What is more important, she feels 100% confident and isn’t going to rest on her laurels. How come? Here are the rules of thumb that helped her out.
Haden knew that the diet is vital. But for starters, clearing her mind from any negative thoughts by means of the exercise was the mission-critical task. She started tracking her activity with a Fitbit Flex, which gave her the initial push as well as the lion’s share of motivation to keep moving.
In addition, she clearly outlined her expectations to her personal trainer, and as a result, the workout plan tailored to Haden’s needs was created. Along with the improved body composition and the boost of energy levels, she started feeling changes in her nutrition and workout mentality.
She also found out that attending the gym with her sorority sisters made her waiting for the next workout session even more. Exercising in groups of six-seven like-minded buddies pushed Haden to keep working her way up to the improvement.
Haden had never been focused on her calorie intake. But at that time, her first and foremost rule was to eat a filling and healthy morning meal, which often included Greek yoghurt with granola and berries or a glass of refreshing (and nutritious) smoothie. The breakfast was followed by the lunch packed with loads (that’s an exaggeration: sensible portioning was the key) of veggies, feta cheese, black beans, grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs. Dinner often comprised soup or chicken with roasted veggies. If she wasn’t super hungry in the morning, she used to sub a full meal with a protein bar and banana – just to make sure that she ate something. Plus, she chugged tons of water.
In addition, she gave the sack to all processed snacks, having a bite with veggies instead. Without keeping junk foods at home, she stopped craving it.
Haden’s fateful decision was to focus on the relationships that mattered instead of wasting her energy on those which didn’t. Despite the fear of losing all friends, she got the new ones, which would support her during hard times.
More importantly, she started to do more things alone and got to know herself better. She truly enjoyed reading before bed, her rituals of cooking, and taking care of herself in any possible form.
It dawned on Haden that the healthy lifestyle makes people’s “bests” come out. And though she is still on her way to the desired results, she loves seeing her calves shaping up and a little more toned shoulders appearing.