Calling all freshmen! Or anyone in college, really.
If you're planning to have a great year, that's awesome. Good for you. Why shouldn't you? You're in college.
You should be eating great (and greasy) food and bonding with new people over red Solo cups full of Bud Light. You should absolutely be camping out on your couch with tons of trashy TV before facing the busy, stressful "real world."
Unfortunately, a lot of the fun activities that come with being a college student involve way too many calories.
And at the end of the great year you have ahead of you, you might find you've gained five, 10 or 15 pounds... just in time for bikini season.
In an effort to prevent you from facing such a cruel fate, here are some quick, easy ways to stay healthy while having a blast this year.
1. Get a bike.
Biking is a really easy way to get around in college. Most college towns have bike lanes and plenty of bike racks all over campus, so try using a bike as your main mode of transportation.
Bikes can be expensive, and we're going to guess you're probably not in any position to fork over $500 dollars for a gorgeous mountain bike.
Realistically, though, you won't be doing any super serious biking around your college campus, so do some research on used bikes. Or you can opt for a beach cruiser; they might not be able to get you up a mountain, but they're less expensive and can certainly get you around campus.
Oh, and the point of all of this: Riding a bike burns more calories than riding the bus. It just does. And burnt calories = lost weight.
2. Join an intramural sports team.
Spencer Nadolsky, an obesity doctor, told Elite Daily,
Many students who played sports in high school become slightly sedentary in college.
And it makes sense. We get not everyone can be a college athlete, but most colleges have tons of intramural sports teams that will help you stay active. Basketball, softball, frisbee, you name it.
As an added bonus, an intramural sport is a great way to make new friends AND meet a guy or girl you may want to go on a date with Friday night.
3. Pile your plate with veggies.
We're not going to say it's not amazing how your campus dining hall probably gives you the option to fill your plate with pasta, mashed potatoes, cookies and ice cream day and night.
Unfortunately, those foods are loaded with calories and don't have much nutritional value.
To remedy this, Dr. Nadolsky suggests spending a little more time in the healthy section of your dining hall.
With your one plate, make sure there is a side of vegetables and a serving of lean protein: This will ensure satiety without excess calories. Of course you don't have to skip out on your favorite starch, but fill up on the lower calories first.
Sorry, but that's the price you have to pay when your mom isn't around to dump a few servings of broccoli on your dinner plate.
4. Set realistic workout goals.
Between socializing, studying and -- let's face it -- hangovers, getting to the gym can seem like an impossible feat as a college student.
But a little bit of exercise is a whole lot better than no exercise at all, and a 90-minute sweat sesh is by no means a necessity. Just 15 to 20 minutes of exercise will make a difference.
Coach Armi Legge told Elite Daily,
Take the mindset of 'a little is infinitely better than nothing.' It goes a long way.
Additionally, Coach Kevin Dineen, a trainer at Structure Personal Fitness in New York who works with a lot of college students on their summer breaks, suggests breaking workouts up.
One day you can do a 10-minute leg workout, the next a 10-minute arm workout.
College kids enjoy the workout process and splitting it up helps minimize soreness.
Think about it. Is 15 minutes on the treadmill really that much to ask for?
5. Snack on apples and peanut butter, not ramen.
Yes, we're very aware ramen costs 99 cents and fits perfectly into your college student budget.
But it's also full with carbs and way too much salt. Plus, it won't keep you full for very long.
Instead, Legge suggests keeping apples and a jar of peanut butter in your dorm room. Apples are packed with fiber and Vitamin C, and peanut butter is full of healthy fat and protein.
Just make sure to opt for all-natural peanut butter brands like Justin's over sugar-filled ones like Jif or Skippy.
Did we mention apples and peanut butter make a delicious combo?!
6. Get your alcohol facts down.
We know how much fun it is to take a few shots, drink a bunch of Bud Lights then eat tons of late-night pizza.
But liquid calories add up in a big way, so make sure you know how many calories are in the eight cans of beer you just drank. Hint: It's a lot.
We know you're probably not going to stop drinking, so try opting for light-colored drinks. White wine spritzers and vodka sodas are both great options.
7. Buy a scale.
It's easy to pretend the number on your bathroom scale isn't changing when you don't have one to tell you otherwise. So you should probably get one.
Studies show people who weigh themselves every day weigh less than people who weigh themselves once in a while. Just bite the bullet, head to Target and make a habit out of daily weigh-ins.
It may just make you rethink your beloved 2 am Taco Bell habit...
When it comes down to it, all of these tweaks are small ones, so give them a try. They might just save you 15 pounds.