Whatever the reason, if you find that you’ve gained a little more weight than you’d like, don’t worry. This is something that a lot of people experience, and it’s nothing to panic about. This phenomenon is so widespread that in the US, it’s nicknamed the ‘Freshman 15’, after the 15 pounds, or 6.8kg, that first-year students typically put on.
If you want to take action, you’ll discover that staying at a weight that’s healthy for you can generally be achieved through getting active and eating a balanced diet. Of course, when you’re studying, there are a few extra challenges to managing your weight because you’re often short on money and time.
Staying healthy on a budget
When you’re studying, it’s really important to be able to keep your costs down. Staying healthy on a budget requires just a little planning and forethought. There are two things you need to keep in mind- how you’re getting active and what you’re eating.
If you like to exercise in a gym, find out whether there is one on your campus. You may be able to join at a reduced rate for students. If you haven’t used a gym before, or it’s been awhile since you last worked out, ask whether a trainer can get you started with a program. When you join you may be able to get a session or two for free, otherwise, trainers who are just starting out, or even still studying, will often charge a reduced rate.
Joining a sport or activity club is another great way to get active. There will probably be teams or clubs that you can join on your campus. If not, look for a local club. As well as helping you to keep fit, this is a great way to meet new people outside of your course or accommodation. Also, because fees or season subscriptions will probably be cheaper than the gym, this is likely to be kinder to your wallet.
If you don’t already play a sport or have a hobby that keeps you active, this is a great time to pick up something new. You might like to try something that will also get you out and exploring Australia. Consider tramping or hiking, kayaking, rock climbing or running.
When you’re on a budget, it’s really important to plan ahead. This means buying less food when you’re out, and preparing more food at home. Try keeping a food diary for a week and noting what you’re eating and the cost. Then look at ways to combat this. If you find yourself grabbing snacks on the go, head to the supermarket once a week and stock up. Don’t forget that fresh fruit and vegetables are great for snacking on!
Planning your meals is a very budget-friendly option. There are lots of resources online to help get you started with meal planning, and give you ideas for different types of food that you can prepare in a batch to eat during the week.
Staying healthy when you’re short on time
Fitting in that gym session or taking the time to eat properly can seem impossible when you’re studying but they’re both especially important when you’re busy and stressed. Try booking these sessions into your diary or schedule, and treating them with the same importance as your classes. While it can be a juggle to get everything done, when you’re fit and getting the nutrients that you need, you’ll be better equipped for all of your other tasks.
If you’re still having a tough time with your weight, or really not feeling happy in your body, it’s a great time to talk to a GP. The place you’re studying should have a clinic onsite, so make an appointment and have a chat. They may be able to work through any potential medical causes for what’s going on, give you some additional advice on nutrition, or help you find a counsellor to speak to.