Christmas trees are lit, semi-cooler weather is upon us and stress levels are so high we feel like quitting. Happy Holidays, right? This time of year is supposed to be merry and bright, but with finals, group projects and traveling home, the holidays can be a bit gloomy. Stop stressing about what you need to do before Winter Break and take some time to enjoy the days leading up to it.
Photo via Active.com
Follow these tips to help you stay stress-free
Take a minute to breathe. This is one of the most important things you can do for your body and mental health. When the world around you is in disarray, take Rumi’s advice and “Sit, be still and listen.”
Go holiday shopping. Make a list of what you need and where you can find it. Simplify your life with online shopping from sites like Amazon where you can get free shipping and customize the order for a gift. When buying for your friends, get creative and make something unique they’ll love. Check out websites like Etsy or Pinterest for some good ideas.
Budget your time and your wallet. It’s easy to overspend this time of year whether it’s through time commitments or with shopping for gifts. Plan out how much you can afford to give in both scenarios and stay strict with it!
Start a new tradition. It’s easy to get hung up on perfecting and maintaining traditions and forget why you’re doing them in the first place. Simplify traditions and start something new.
Keep exercising and eating well. When stress levels rise, your body goes into the “fight or flight” mode which means your body is working overtime to compensate for your high stress levels. When you keep up with your regular exercise and diet routines, your body realizes it doesn’t need to enter the fight or flight stage because it’s just a normal day.
Spend time with the people you love. The Holidays are here only once a year and now is the time to enjoy it. Be thankful for the people in your life and share some quality time with them. Watch a holiday movie, bake some holiday cookies and celebrate the wonderful life you’re living.
Stop stressing, Devils. Enjoy the holidays instead!
Calories. We all secretly pay attention to them, right? But did you know that they are not only important to losing weight, but also to maintaining and gaining weight?
Caloric intake levels are different for every person and lifestyle. If you’re inactive, your body does not need as many calories as someone who exercises a lot. Think of Michael Phelps when he was training; he needed more than 12,000 calories because he burned so many in the water. The average adult needs about 2,000 calories a day. Can you imagine what would happen to your body if you had a 12,000 calorie diet?! Let’s hope that never happens.
Photo from Seriouseats.com
Calories are the amount of energy supplied by a food. Energy can come in many different forms such as protein, carbohydrates, fats and sugars. The goal is to find what your body needs in order to perform to its maximum capacity, whether that’s maintaining your weight, building muscle and gaining weight, or losing weight.
Tips and tricks
Low-fat and fat-free doesn’t mean that there are less calories in what you’re eating.
Be sure to watch out for extra sugars or sugar substitutes. They have calories too.
Low-calorie isn’t always what you need. A healthy diet has a mix of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins and dairy.
Exercise and calories
How much energy are you using when you exercise? It depends on the type, your body weight and composition and the level of intensity at which you are working out. Here are a few examples for someone 150 pounds:
Playing basketball for an hour on a half-court burns approx. 405 calories
Biking on flat land for an hour burns approx. 441 calories
Dancing (depending on the type) burns approx. 370 calories an hour
Jogging burns approx. 675 calories an hour
Sleeping burns approx. 45 calories an hour (who knew?!)
Playing soccer for an hour burns approx. 468 calories
Swimming burns approx. 608 calories per hour
Listen to your body and find out what it needs. If you’re starving after a workout, you’re allowed to eat! It’s encouraged. A great post-workout snack is a lean protein that will fill you up and help you build muscle. If you’re going to have a hard day at the gym, make sure you’ve gotten enough fuel and water before you head out. It’ll take a little time to figure out what’s going to work best for you, but be patient and have a little faith!
There’s an ancient myth, told and re-told, passed down from generation to generation: THE FRESHMAN 15. Dun-dun-dunnnn. Is it true? Does the Freshman 15 exist? Are you at risk of falling prey to the mysterious weight gain? Is there anything you can do to save yourself?
Avoid the Freshman 15
The Freshman 15 is easily one of the most frightening things in college, aside from finals week and group projects. And surprisingly, it’s something that can be easily avoided! Here are 15 ways to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15.
Get an adequate amount of sleep. I’m talking about 7-8 hours a night. It’s so easy to fall into the pattern of staying up late cramming for that early morning exam or talking with friends.
Eat some breakfast. Waking up in time for breakfast before classes takes some serious skill. Try your best to master it and you’ll have a more balanced diet throughout the day.
Remember that fruits and veggies are your friends. Now that a microwave is your main source of everything, you’ll soon realize that Hot Pockets will only be appetizing for so long. Try incorporating fruits and veggies into every meal and snack to balance out your diet and get necessary vitamins that aren’t found in Ramen.
Limit the late night fast food run. Heading out with your friends for a late night snack is a college staple. When you’re in the habit of going out every night at midnight, you’ve run into a problem. Put a limit on the times you go out and your waistline and wallet will thank you.
De-stress. College is stressful. You’re going to need to find what works best for you to help you relax. Adjusting to your new schedule and your new classes and your new environment is enough to send your body into a crazy state of stress overload. When you take time to de-stress, your body and mind will thank you.
Drinking in moderation. This is for all you 21-year-old freshman out there. Drinking equates to calories. Excess calories equate to weight gain. No one actually intended to get a beer gut, so it’s a good idea to stick to a limit when you go out.
Know what it is that you’re eating. Now that you’re on your own, everything you eat is up to you. Do your best to make informed choices when you’re in the cafeteria and shy away from the same foods all the time. Your body need variety.
Stick to the rules. The new and improved food pyramid is your new best friend. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you need fruits, grains, dairy, vegetables and protein to have a balanced diet. Focus on meeting all the goals for the day and it’ll soon become a habit.
Get physical. Start hitting the gym, take to the great outdoors, do whatever you can to stay active. Take an hour each day to engage in physical activity.
Join an intramural sport! You’ll make some amazing memories and new friends all while saving yourself from some extra weight gain. You can join a team on any campus, as long as you’re an ASU student you’re good to go!
Make some friends. You are surrounded by new people (most of them friendly I hope) who are all looking for a great college experience. When you have friends, you spend less time alone. When you spend less time alone, you don’t eat alone. When you don’t eat alone, you are less likely to over eat.
Don’t stock your dorm room with unhealthy food. It’s easy to start hoarding snacks in your small space, so when you do, make sure they have some nutritional value and aren’t loaded with empty calories.
If you played sports in high school, be aware of the changes your body is undergoing to adjust to your less active lifestyle. If you ate six meals a day to keep up your weight in wrestling or to compensate for calories lost while swimming, realize the need to adjust and make some changes.
Emotional eating. Do you ever eat something just because you’re bored? Has anyone ever suggested that ice cream can cure a break-up? When you watch TV, do you aimlessly snack out of habit? Eating can comfort us in almost any situation. Don’t fall into the trap of emotional eating. Learn what triggers emotional eating for you and change your behavior.
Water is your new best friend. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your body. Energy drinks, coffees and sodas are loaded with extra sugar your body doesn’t need, so eliminate them from your diet as much as possible.
It’s possible to survive freshman year without gaining 15 pounds or more. Follow these simple rules and you’ll never have to worry about the Freshman 15.