10 Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15
(and Other Fall
By Steve Edwards
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
Back to school doesn't just affect students. It's the time of
year when everything changes. The days shorten, it cools off, we get really
busy, and the holidays are looming around the corner. As opposed to those
frivolous days of summer, your schedule is now probably booked. In short, it's
the easiest time of the year to let your health slide.
The "Freshman 15" isn't just for
freshmen. We all face these lifestyle adjustments every year. Fall is
beautiful, but it's also the toughest season to transition through. Here are 10
ways to make it to New Year's without the need to resort to a resolution.
your exercise. One of the difficult adjustments to make
during the fall is getting used to less daylight. As the days shorten, it seems
as though you've got fewer hours to schedule activities around. When you come
home from work in the dark, it hurts your psyche. And it's tough to believe
that 7:00 PM is really no different than it was during July, when you still had
two hours of daylight left. Then there's the cold factor. Even if you work out
indoors, it's so much easier to get back under your warm covers or bundle up
and sit in front of a fire or the TV than it is to force a workout. Just
remember that exercising makes you warm. It also keeps you fit and healthy and
is the best thing you can do with cold and flu season right around the corner.
Schedule your daily workout like it's part of your job, and stick to
- Schedule your sleep.
As things get busy, we tend to push projects later and
later into the evening. To fuel those longer hours we eat . . . and eat. This
is one major cause of the Freshman 15a result of the infamous
all-nighter. A recent study showed that resident doctors, who are forced to
work extremely long hours and famously forego sleep, gain an average of over 20
pounds during their residencies. As daylight changes, it's easy to make
alterations in your daily schedule, so plan for sleep just like you do for
everything else (here
are "10 Tips for Restful Sleep").
- Plan your meals. Plan your weekly meals
ahead of time so you don't resort to convenience foods. If your schedule is
insane during the week, try taking an hour or two on Sunday to shop and
strategize. Put healthy meal and snack options in your car, your office, your
backpack, or anywhere you're likely to find yourself hungry. Trust us, the
energy you get on the back end of this planning will far exceed the time it
takes to plan, especially when you consider how you'll feel if your diet is
fueled by fast food.
- Carry water
everywhere. When we're busy, we'll often forget to drink
water, especially as the weather cools off. Then, in a dehydrated state, we
often confuse thirst for hunger and eat. Avoid this by ensuring that there's
water everywhere you go. Carry a water bottle and refill it at every
opportunity. Have an extra bottle in your car, your backpack, at your desk,
etc., and behave as if you're in a race each day. Force yourself to drink a
glass of water every hour that you're working or studying.
- Be realistic about alcohol.
Another big contributor to the Freshman 15, alcohol, is
very high in calories (7 calories/gram) and very low in nutritional value.
Every drink you consume is about 200 calories of nutrition that you aren't
getting from your diet, or that you're overeating to get. And this is before we
consider the calories you need to get rid of a hangover. If you're a drinker,
you'll never be faced with more temptation than during the fall. Plan for it.
Prior to going out, consider the number of drinks you want to allow yourself
and stick to it. Another helpful tip is to carry that water bottle with you
socially as well and drink a bottle for every cocktail you have. This will help
fill you up so that you aren't drinking alcohol to quench your thirst, which
will happen at social events. And it will also keep you hydrated and minimize
the effects of your hangover. One other helpful hangover cure is to have a
Peak Recovery Formula at night after you've been drinking. These calories
before bed may be bad, but they'll minimize the damage the alcohol will do to
your body, which should lead to less overeating and more productivity the next
- Plan for parties.
Parties happenand there's not much you can do about
it. Even if you aren't social, the party will find you. Many offices are like
the Seinfeld episode wherein the characters celebrate for any excuse.
And fall comes with plenty of excuses. Beginning with Oktoberfest, you'll find
a never-ending string of perfectly good excuses that last right through the New
Year to ruin your health. Plan ahead and decide just which occasions will be
worth the indulgence. That way you'll be fully armed with reasons when your
coworkers show up in your office singing, "Get well, get well soon. . .
- Begin a
morning ritual. One of the easiest ways to live a healthy
lifestyle is to begin each day by doing something positive. During the summer,
we often let this slide because, well, we can. With long warm days to look
forward to, there always seems to be time to do something energetic. As the
days shorten, this takes more discipline. Beginning each day with something
healthy, even as
little as a 5-minute ritual, can give you a whole new
- Find a healthy
nighttime ritual. Many of us undo an entire day's
productivity in the last few hours before bed. This is particularly true when
we're busy and/or stressed because we want to unwind, which often means
cocktails and/or desserts in front of the TV. If you can find a healthier way
to unwind, you'll do yourself a world of good. And even if you can't get away
from the cocktail/dessert/TV habit, adding something at its end, instead of
just sacking out, can reverse much of the damage. Stretching in front of the TV
is one of the easiest ways to transition. Following that up with herb tea and
some relaxing reading can have you hitting the sack with a positive attitude.
If you can't get there yourself, consider something like
Booty Ballet® Master Series Pajama Time, a "workout" designed
with this in mind.
- Make a New Year's resolution. Instead of waiting until New Year's, make a resolution to get
there, starting today, with gained fitness and health. Just think about how
much better your goals can be for next year if you finish this one on a
positive note. Consider that most of us make New Year's resolutions to pretty
much undo the damage that we do to ourselves each fall. Why put yourself
through that? Instead, set yourself up, beginning right now, to have a banner
year in 2008.
- Cut yourself some
slack. You can't be perfect and, frankly, who wants to be?
You've got to live. By planning ahead with goals in mind, you'll be far more
able to relax about the holiday season and enjoy it too. So make a plan, do
your best to stick with it, but don't forget to make enjoying the season and
having a little fun part of that plan.