How to lose weight in college: 35 best tips that always work

How to lose weight in college?



I understand that…

You have just made into a college but just after stepping into a college a new worry regarding your health & fitness starts haunting your mind and you are like,

“How I am gonna deal with the freedom I have got in terms of what I eat, what I do? Wouldn’t I be gaining a lot of weight given the freedom of what I want to eat unlike my home, where my mom used to strictly keep in check my diet & workout schedule?”

So, do you want to know how can you lose weight fast in college without compromising your college freedom? then please give a read to some of the best tips to lose weight in college given below.

The myth of freshman 15 and weight loss in college

Freshman 15 and weight loss in college

The freshman 15 is a very popular expression used in the U.S. and Canada referring to the amount of weight (15 pounds) that a college student gains during his or her first year at college. But does this freshman 15 myth stands the test of research evidence or not?

A study conducted in 2011 study found that college students actually gain no more than 2.5 to 3.5 pounds, on average, during their first year in college which translates to an average of 7 – 14 pounds in total during their entire four years, let alone their first year at school.

Moreover, there is nothing special about students gaining weight at college as it is pretty normal and comparable to a college-outsider i.e by same-aged young adults who are not going to any college.

So, in short, it’s not the freshman 15 that’s a problem. It’s the gradual weight gain over the four years of a college program exacerbated by the potentially unhealthy lifestyle habits that leads to excessive weight gain.

 So, according to this study, college students gained weight for a number of main reasons like

  1. Less exercise
  2. Bad sleeping habits/ loss of sleep
  3. Addictive alcohol consumption
  4. Abnormal consumption of high-fat/ high-calorie diet
  5. High-stress levels

How to lose weight in college fast: The best Dieting & Workout tips

The best dieting and workout tips to lose weight in college

Don’t worry if you gained some weight while during a very short period of life at your college. Given the freedom that a college offers, there is no doubt that it becomes relatively difficult but that does not mean it can’t be reverted back. 

All you need to need is a little discipline in your lifestyle and routine and you are set for a good college life without compromising your freedoms that you get once in your life.

Follow these best tips to easily lose those extra pounds of weight and revitalize your health and fitness.

A) Best Eating habits to lose weight in college

Best eating habits to lose weight in college

Healthy eating habits are at the core of your all weightloss efforts in college. Read below how you can eat for fitness without getting those pounds of fat.

1. Be aware of bad carbs in your diet

The debate over what is and isn’t good for weight loss has quite settled over the last decade. After a long debate, it has been established that these are carbohydrates, not the fats, the most common cause of excessive weight gain.

So, knowing the difference between the carbs found in vegetables and whole grains (good carbs), and carbs found in donuts and cookies(bad carbs), is very important to avoid those extra pounds of fat during their 4 – 5 college years.

Just remember that anything that is processed is very likely full of refined carbs that must be avoided at all costs if you have to keep your weight in check. Below here is a quick reminder of what are good and bad sources of carbs.

Bad sources of carbs

  • Vegetables: Almost all of them. Even better if you eat a variety of vegetables daily.
  • Whole fruits: Apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.
  • Legumes: Lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
  • Seeds: Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Whole grains: Choose grains that are truly whole, as in pure oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

Good sources of carbs

  • Sugary drinks: Coca-cola, Pepsi, Vitaminwater, etc.
  • Fruit juices: Unfortunately, fruit juices are just like sugar-sweetened beverages in their metabolic effects.
  • White bread: These refined carbohydrates are quite low in essential nutrients and bad for metabolic health. 
  • Pastries, cookies, and cakes: These tend to be very high in sugar and refined wheat.
  • Ice cream: Most types of ice cream are very high in sugar, although there are exceptions.
  • Candies and chocolates: If you’re going to eat chocolate, choose quality dark chocolate.
  • French fries and potato chips: Whole potatoes are healthy, but french fries and potato chips are not.

2. Get all your sugar from fruits

Get all your sugar from fruits

Never before in history has there been more evidence to label sugar as a source of many of the modern world ailments. From diabetes to cancer, sugar is taking the blame for causing a wide variety of conditions and the list is growing day by day.

Needless to say, sugar is an open enemy of anyone trying to lose weight, and almost any available replacement is way better. Yes, the fruit has a form of sugar but is considered healthy because of its vitamins, fiber, and numerous natural health benefits.

3. Stop missing your breakfast

Don't miss out your breakfast

As counter-intuitive as it may seem, skipping meals, particularly breakfast will never lead to healthy, sustainable weight loss.  Why?

Being,  the first meal of the day, breakfast is supposed to literally break the 8-12 hour fast from the last time you ate in the previous night. So, 10-12 hours of the empty stomach must be compensated with something sooner and healthy.

Also, breakfast is the time to get important 400-500 calories worth of light, nutritious food that will push your metabolism, fuel all daily body functions, and keeps you up and running for success throughout the day.

Another very good reason not to miss breakfast is that you’ll have low energy throughout the day which would lead you to overeat the next time you sit on the dining table which is the root cause of all sorts of weight gain during college years.

4. Say “No” to late-night eating 

Don't eat late night in college to lose weight fast

 Nighttime is when your metabolism is really sluggish, and so foods are eaten before bed take a lot longer to process which means you might have digestion issues at night which can mess up your much-needed sleep time to affect your mind & body’s freshness the very next morning.

Ultimately, if you’re up studying into the late hours and find yourself in need of a snack, grabbing something light and easily digestible is a better choice.

Otherwise, it’s generally best to avoid eating between dinner and breakfast, at least if you’re truly concerned about weight loss.

Drinking alcohol, which is not uncommon at college parties, can contribute to overeating. Late-night eating is generally a component of the college experience.

According to a study in the 2008 issue of Eating Behaviors found that late-night eating unhealthful food occurs more often on drinking nights than on non-drinking nights. Over time, this would eventually lead to weight gain.

5. Shun Binge Drinking

Say no to late night binge drinking to lose weight in college

Binge drinking is very normal for many young people in college, but if fitness is your primary concern, then your binge drinking should happen very rarely, if at all.

 You need to always keep in mind that alcohol is loaded (especially of beer and fruity drinks) with empty calories which can easily give you pounds of extra fats without contributing actual nutrition.

6. Watch out for your Soda Intake

watch out for soda drinks in college to lose weight

Those decisions about what to grab when you’re thirsty can be the key to your weight loss, or the cause of your weight gain problems. This is especially true when you consider all of the times in class, at work, and during social events that you’re grabbing a drink.

When you consider that a can of basic soda is typically 140 or more calories, and an equal amount of green tea or water is zero calories, it’s easy to see how powerful your beverage decisions can be for your weight maintenance efforts.

Even if you substitute just a couple of your high-calorie drinks, like fully-loaded cappuccinos and deceptively sugary juices, for healthier ones like water or tea, the benefits are pretty remarkable.

So, be aware of trendy drinks and juices that try to come off as healthy while containing hundreds of calories and lots of sugar. Some will even throw around words like “natural” or “fat-free” to hide the massive amounts of sugary content in the bottle.

7. Choose your Coffee Black over Starbucks’

chose black coffee over Starbucks to lose weight in college

Drinking your own coffee black is the best way to avoid those extra calories that can contribute to your weight gain. 

Why? because a plain cup of black coffee contains only 2 calories while the one you bought from Starbucks can have up to whopping 250 plus calories.  So, the difference is very clear

Moreover, the potent caffeine levels in coffee are enough to stimulate thermogenesis which is a natural metabolism booster that can help to burn those extra pounds of fats, according to recent research evidence.

That’s why, if you read the ingredient list of a lot of supplements carefully, you would find Caffeine as it is a standard fat burning ingredient.

So, preferring your own coffee over that of Starbucks would many favors; you would save money, you would avoid those weight-gaining extra calories and you would have a hand-made quality fat burner at your disposal to help you shed those extra pounds of fat on your belly.

8. Start loving Green Tea

love green tea to lose weight in college

If you’ve heard that green tea was one of the healthiest things you can put in your body, you’ve heard correctly. The following are some of the best health and fitness benefits associated with green tea.

Green tea benefits

  • it improves brain function to enhance fat burning,
  • Its strong antioxidants have the ability to kill harmful bacteria.
  • It is listed as one of the fat-burning supplements due to its strong fat-burning properties
  • For those concerned about beauty, green tea is also the perfect drink because it contains EGCG, which gets rid of free radicals that cause aging.

9. Embrace more fibrous foods

Eat more fibrous foods to lose weight in college

Increased fiber intake can do wonders for you in terms of health and weight loss. Fiber accomplishes this in the following important ways.

  • It helps in weight loss by keeping your feeling of fullness for a longer period of time after you have taken a fiber-rich meal. 

In this way, your body does not crave food for repeated intervals of your time, which helps maintain your lower-calorie level thus directly helping to avoid over-eating to avoid weight gain at college.

  • It regulates to make the digestion process in your stomach very smooth and healthy.
  • Moreover, recent research evidence has also found that t along with its fitness advantages, it has been proved to be good for your heart to help prevent stroke and onset of cancer.

Examples of fiber-rich foods

  • beans
  • leafy green vegetables
  • prunes,
  • wheat bread,
  • and other natural foods

11. Eat only Healthy Snacks

Eat only healthy snacks to lose weight in college

 While snacks in colleges are unavoidable as others are breaking out the Little Debbie Cakes and Doritos,  but you must stick to only healthy options if you are really serious about losing weight during your stay at college.

This doesn’t mean you have to walk around with bags of broccoli and cauliflower. Healthy food is an extremely popular industry, and many of the snacks that you know and love have lower calorie variations that are much healthier.

Good examples include choosing your refrigerator yogurt over ice cream and Baked Lays Potato Chips over the regular one. 

To ensure you have healthy snacks available all the time,  this is a good idea to stash some variety of new foods and other favorites in your dorm to be used when you need them.

12. Smaller Portions – Smaller Plates

choose smaller portions in college to lose weight

Probably the most important habit in your weight loss at college efforts is the habit of eating small portions. 

In the short term, not only would you help in reducing your per day calorie consumption, but in the long run, it will also help you develop the habit of eating in smaller quantities.

Another advantage of portion control is that occasional cheat foods like pizza won’t set you back too far in your weight loss efforts.

Moreover, the advantages of smaller portions include more energy, decreased disease risk, and of course a healthier mind and body – more than just weight loss.

13. Choose healthy options in your Dining Hall

choosee healthy options in dining hall to lose weight in college

As a college student, you should never be overwhelmed by the vast variety of food options available in your dining hall.

Never forget to choose organic Poorva processed fruits and vegetables over burger fresh off the grill or whole grains and lean protein over pizza. 

This will ensure that you are getting adequate energy and nutrients while being picky about what you want to eat as the colleges in the US are never intentionally trying to put weight on you as you, yourself are the only choice-maker. 

14. Avoid skipping your regular meals

Don't miss your regular meals to lose weight in college

I accept it with doubt that long hours in classes and extracurricular activities easily lead to erratic eating schedules. But even on the most hectic days, try your best to find time to include at least 3 meals into your daily routine. 

Feeling famished due to skipped meals puts you at risk for overeating and making poor dietary choices during your next meal which defeats any efforts to keep your weight gain in control

In case you are unable to attend class and time is really problematic, don’t be shy to pack meals/healthy food from the dining hall with a handful of nuts and dried fruit as a snack to eat in class if needed. This would save you from skipping your regular meal in crunch hours.

15. Keep control over yourself when dining out 

while dining out keep control over yourself

Don’t let dining out in restaurants compromise on your health & fitness goals. For instance, always Choose grilled or steamed options over the fried menu; always swap the side of French fries for steamed vegetables or a plain baked potato.

When you are absolutely unable to avoid unhealthy food options at certain events which has a very good possibility of happening for quite a number of times in your college days,  always be aware of serving sizes and your body’s natural satiety cues. 

For instance, consume one slice of pizza, and then wait to see if you are still craving for another one before reaching for the second slice. This would save you from over-eating and potential weight gain.

16. Stop compromising your sleep – Avoid All-Nighters

Take night sleep to lose weight in college

Although the idea of staying up all night in college to either party or cram for tests has become the norm, if you are really serious about your fitness then you shouldn’t make a habit of it because researches have  I found a very credible piece of evidence suggesting that sleeplessness aggravates obesity.

Ongoing sleeplessness can

  1. Diminish the body’s metabolism and disturb hormone levels
  2. Reduce the body’s ability to process glucose (i.e., sugar) in the blood
  3. Lower leptin levels i.e. levels of a hormone that makes you feel full, which leads to a false sense of appetite
  4. Sleep deprivation is also linked to increased cortisol levels (i.e., levels of a stress hormone) and increased ghrelin levels (i.e., levels of a hunger hormone), which are also factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Research evidence: Link between sleep and weight gain in college students?

research evidence of sleeplessness

The demands of college can often leave you feeling drained and more commonly, sleep-deprived.

According to a study that was written by researchers from the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago and published in a 2007 issue of Sleep Medicine Reviews found that

“sleep loss may play a role in increased obesity. The negative effects of sleep deprivation may actually increase the number of people’s food intake periods and increase their potential intakes of high-energy dense foods, such as fast food and soft drinks, which are easily accessible on campus”

So it is clear that having a healthy sleep regimen is an important part of college weight loss management.

17. Never allow stress to overpower you

never allow stress to overpower you

Heavy class loads and studying can certainly contribute to stressful times, which could influence weight gain. This has been verified by recent research studies as well.

A study in a 2013 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found out that students who had healthy eating behaviors but felt a high-stress level expressed a higher body fat gain than students who had similar healthy eating behaviors but lower feelings of stress.

Time management is a  crucial factor in reducing stress.  Always prioritize your studies and never try to skip regular classes because tomorrow it will build an academic burden for you. Stay in frequent contact with your professors and academic advisers. 

They can help you a lot in reducing your academic-related pressures with their study and planning advice. And last but not least,  some meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can help to quickly minimize the increasing stress on your body and mind.

18. Never underestimate the Basics

In this world of smartphones, there are a plethora of free apps that can help you keep track of calories you eat and the types of food you are eating, which will help you stick to your weight loss plan.

So join the school gym. Try intramural sports to stay active and to meet new people, some of whom may also be looking to lose weight. Consume energy-dense foods such as fruits and whole grains to induce satiety and provide lasting energy. 

Many colleges have Registered Dietitians at your disposal to help you in your weight loss journey at college, so make the best use of them.

These all healthy eating & drinking habits if adhered to religiously are enough to help you lose weight in college without exercising and you don’t need to spend your time at the gym to shed those extra layers of fat.

B) Best workout/exercise tips to lose weight in college

workouts/exercising tips to lose weight in college

While healthy eating is important for your weight loss efforts in college, without adequate time for workouts, you are not going to get long-term results of your efforts.

The following are some of the best workouts tips to lose weight in college. Follow them religiously and thank me later.

1. Make Your Dorm your Gym

make your dorm your gym to lose weight in college

It’s understandable that you can’t completely customize your dorm room into your dream gym due to size and roommate restrictions, but they say that ” Where there’s a will there’s a way”. 

There are of course some little nifty ways that can make your dorm very much compatible with your college gym.

For starters, bodyweight workouts should be a serious choice and include planks, pushups, dips, and squats, all of which can be done in your dorm room.

Other examples of fitness gear that can be used with a small amount of space are Pushups, kettlebells, dumbbells.

2. Always start small – initially, a few times a week is enough. 

start small to do exercise and lose weight in college

This is college — you have enough other things on your mind to do. According to the experts, the minimum amount of exercise you should aim for is 15 to 30 minutes, three days a week. 

One-hour workouts four to five days a week is ideal for lots of people, Kneeland says, — but that will vary depending on the person and their activity level — so feel free to start small so you don’t burn out.

3. Even only 10 or 15 minutes of a super-intense workout, like HIIT/cardio, is good to start

10-15 minutes of cardio is enough

It is that simple: the less time you have to work out, the higher intensity workout you should do, which means really working your body hard, getting sweaty, and out of breath.

Here’s a good example of a quick cardio workout and a quick (but challenging) bodyweight workout.

4. If you’re serious about your fitness, then don’t consider gym fees as a waste of your money. 

Gym fees are not bad

Colleges generally have one of the best and biggest gyms, so make the most of it and never worry about the little fee you pay for your gym because nothing in the world is free, and the same is the case with your fitness in college.

5. Take a physical education class for credit and get an easy A+ for your workout.

take a physical education class

6. Good news!  your important class readings can be done while you’re going easy on your treadmill. 

reading while running on treadmill can save time

7. Master lots of bodyweight exercises if you haven’t already.

learn a lot of bodyweight exercises to lose weight in college

Bodyweight exercise uses your own weight for resistance — so there’s no equipment needed. This is very important in college because you will not always find yourself being able to check-in the gym owing to your other college commitment. 

So don’t forget to check out some of the bodyweight movements for more technique and instructions.

8. Keep a yoga mat or a jump rope in your room.

keep a yoga mat in your room to lose weight in college

As discussed above, make your dorm your gym room and keep important fitness accessories like a yoga mat or a jump rope in your room. A yoga mat can help you go out and do stretching or pulling anywhere in the college premises and the same is the case with a jump rope. 

9. Invest some of your pocket money in a kettlebell or set of dumbbells so you can always lift at home.

buy a set of kettlebells to lose weight in college

10. Use the stairs in your dorm or around campus for a good workout.

use stairs in your room to workout in college

Running up a flight of stairs is a super easy and effective cardio workout. Just don’t do it during the between-class rush or you might get trampled/annoy a lot of people.

11. Use fitness apps to your advantage and go step by step

use fitness apps in mobile to lose weight in college

Keeping important and useful apps on your iPhone might be your best bet as far as fitness guidance is concerned. They are a lot of easy to follow apps available to make the most out your fitness routine

12. Or follow along with an instructional video on YouTube

use youtube videos to learn workouts

If you don’t have any of the fitness apps on your iPhone, I am sure you would surely have youtube. Just search and open a good fitness video and start doing the way youtube video is telling you.

13. If you’re running short on time, try your best to not miss a workout, rather you can do a super-quick one.

a short workouts can help instead of a long one in college

14. Keep raising your bar with fitness workouts.

keep improving your workouts in college

Just make sure to keep challenging yourself with your workouts and never sit back. When you feel that your workout is becoming easier that means you are building strength and endurance and you’re on the right track but keeping it challenging is how you make progress. 

 In short, Always try to run a little faster or longer than usual, or do a few more reps of bodyweight exercises until your inner self says ‘No”

15. Find a partner who will keep a check on your progress… and make workouts more fun.

a fitness training partner can help lose weight in college

“College is all about socializing right and soon you will figure out that you’re motivated enough to go alone before you find a friend who shares the same fitness problems like you and from that onward you both start going together as a check on each other.

 I promise soon there would be a competition between you and your friend in terms of fitness.

16. Living Off-Campus can make a difference

living off campus can help lose weight in college

Understandably, living off-campus can save you from most of the problems I discussed above, especially that concern with your daily lifestyle habits.

In college, you have the freedom to eat what you want to eat, sleep when you want to sleep and do what you want to do, which is at the cost of your healthy lifestyle

In contrast, at home, you are not pushed towards bad lifestyle habits like eating aimlessly like animals, party all night with your friends sacrificing your sleep and gushing bottles of wine over bottles. All these ultimately contribute to your weight gain at college

To sum it up: How to easily lose weight in college?

How to easily lose weight in college?

The diet of the average college student is geared primarily toward being convenient and cheap. Not much consideration goes to the nutritional needs of an active youth under considerable mental strain.

Everywhere you look, you’ll find sugary, fattening food options

For example, in a college,  a cheap unhealthy noodle costing you merely 0.19$ is a common staple. Therefore, if you are really concerned about your fitness, then living off-campus might be a blessing

If you want to know more about weight loss tips, you can go over here and here.


Q1: How can I lose weight as a student?

Answer: You can lose weight as a student if you just follow these dieting and exercising tips religiously.

1. Avoid bad carbs
2. Avoid skipping meals especially breakfast
3. Avoid eating late at night
4. limit your soda intake
5. stop binge drinking
6. prefer green tea
7. increase your fiber intake
8. Eat only healthy snacks
9. Get proper sleep
10. Make daily exercises your habit
11. Take your workout like a class but never stress out
12. Take a physical education class for credit
13. Master bodyweight exercises so that you don’t have to go to the gym
14. Find a friend that can inspire you for your fitness goals
15. Try living off your campus, if possible

Q2: How I can lose weight without going to the gym?

Answer: Losing weight without going to the gym is not impossible. Just follow these important tips to lose weight in college without gym. Try these tips.

1. Master lots of bodyweight exercises.
2. Invest some of your pocket money in a kettlebell or set of dumbbells so you can always lift at home.
3. Use the stairs in your dorm or around campus for a good workout.
4. Use fitness apps to your advantage and get step by step instructions to do a proper workout
5. Or follow along with an instructional video on YouTube

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