Well it’s all getting very exciting at the moment isn’t it?! In a couple of weeks you’re going to flee the nest (unless you’re at a boarding school and fled the nest when you were 8). You’re probably a bit worried at the moment about courses, accommodation, whether or not you’ll be the floor weirdo who doesn’t make friends…the list is endless.
What you’re probably not worried about is something a lot more terrifying and unseen. Little did I see the titanic sized iceberg I was heading into (and heading towards becoming) when my parents dropped me off on that sunny September morning in Leeds.
One problem which affects most freshers in their first year of university is piling on the pounds from high calorie foods, eating at irregular hours, gorging on takeaways after a night out and drinking like an Irish landlord on St. Patrick’s night. Even the strongest willed will fall foul of these gastronomic sirens. I myself went to university a trim 12 stone 8, regularly going to the gym for two to three hours, achieving 40 pull ups and playing football like a younger more attractive Lionel Messi.
However, university food was all to tempting, breakfast was a full English, lunch was enough sandwiches to fill a Darby and Joan social, and dinner was random meat in random sauce with chips, chips and chips. This would be followed by a couple of leftover sandwiches later in the evening and if my equally greedy roommate could tempt me, a dirty great pizza and 4 cans of cider.
Even if you’re not subject to hall food, the temptations of the tummy are still great. I knew many people in self-catering who, rather than knocking themselves up a nifty little salad or bowl of pasta, would regularly frequent the local take-away and conjure up such disgusting foods such as Pot Noodle on toast. It’s also pretty probable that you’re not going to do that much exercise as the bus is much easier and you’re going to be knocking booze back at most social occasions.
Okay so here’s the deal, nearly everyone I knew must have piled on between 6 pounds to a stone, if not more. However, there is a solution! There is salvation! It took a doctor to diagnose me as ‘clinically obese’ for me to turn my life around. I walked out the surgery determined to shed my 16 stone of flab and return to the demi-god body I had before. I walked straight into a Subway and ordered a 12 inch TUNA mayo sub with low fat mayo….IT HAD BEGUN!
I’m now back to (after 2 years) a lean 12 and a half stone, I play football, the crippling pain in my left arm and taste of copper in my mouth has gone! Girls don’t throw up because I’m fat when I talk to them, they throw up for other reasons. There are ways to beat the bulge and I will share it with you ‘cos I am nice.
1. Just say no! When your mates want the second or third takeaway of the week you really have to show will power. The average takeaway pizza has double your recommended calorie intake for the day, and such an overload will pile on the pounds in weeks.
2.Snack on healthy stuff – not just crisps, chocolate or my favorite, Pepperoni. Dried fruits such as prunes, apricots and goji berries are perfect, also rice cakes are getting tastier… I used to (and still do) snack on gherkins. Don’t be daft and deny yourself everything, you can still eat your faves, just not in excess. Chili is good, ask for extra chili on your kebab, it will speed up your metabolism.
3. Watch the alcohol. Aside from killing brain cells (which you’ll need in second year) you will put on a ton of weight. Beer, whine and alcopops are the worst, go for diet coke and vodka.
4. Soft drinks. It’s very easy to think you need energy drinks to get you through the day…you don’t…all they do is pile on the pounds and give you an artificial high. Drink lots of water, it keeps you awake, it’s free, activates your brain and helps your metabolism….possibly.
5.EXERCISE…half an hour of walking a day is really good for you, it’s probably the least you should be doing a day and isn’t back-breaking. I try and walk everywhere now, it saves money and helps shed the man boobs. Another great way is to join a sports society.
6.Eat loads of fruit and veg. Snack on fruit – very tasty, cheap and low fat. Instead of buying a sandwich at the union or the twelfth pack of Macoys that day, take a bit of fruit, saves pounds!
7. Have a balanced diet. Have a good breakfast which will keep you going through the day,have your main meal at lunch and try a lighter evening meal.
8. Don’t eat late at night – it’s harder to digest and your body wont burn it off.
9.Don’t give up! If you have a bad day, i.e you eat a ton of crab quiche….balance it with a good day, filled with lovely exercise! Vegetables! Ryvita! Water!
10.REMEMBER…your mate who lives next door who is toned and a good weight might have a higher metabolic rate than you, so don’t be sucked in to his debauched, over eating world…that’s what happened to me.