How to Avoid Back-to-School Weight Gain
With the start of a new school season approaching, many families will soon have to trade light, healthy summer eating for on-the-go meals. Sporting events, meetings, and an abundance of other before- and after-school activities may require eating on the run. It’s a lifestyle pattern that can lead to weight creep.
The transitional weight gain that happens between the end of summer and early fall is especially common in students who head off to college. But the “freshmen 15” can happen to just about anyone this time of year due to a variety of different factors:
- Less physical activity leads to lower muscle mass
- Consumption of high-calorie foods found in many cafeterias, dining halls and fast food restaurants
- Increase in alcohol consumption
Whatever the reason, there are ways to avoid putting on the pounds no matter how busy your schedule and how crazy your routine. By making some simple lifestyle changes, you and your family can nix back-to-school weight gain and maybe even shed a few pounds.
Structure Eating Habits
It’s not always easy to eat on a normal schedule during the school year, but do the best you can. Skipping dinner and eating close to bedtime after activities are done for the day can lead to overeating so it’s important to regulate your total calorie intake throughout the day for minimal weight gain. If you must be on the run, try to grab a healthy meal before activities kick in.
If something requires you or your student to be out the door early, again, refrain from skipping breakfast by preparing something the night before. This way, you will be able to grab it as you go.
Avoid Peer Pressure
Just because everyone is eating pizza for lunch in the cafeteria (or, in the case of college students, hitting the local pub after classes) doesn’t mean your student has to. School is filled with all kinds of peer pressure so teach your child to be strong by looking for healthier options to help them avoid weight gain. And, practice the same for yourself.
There’s no better way to stay healthy than by knowing exactly what you are putting in your body. By cooking for your family and packing school lunches or grab-and-go meals, you can control what you and family members are eating. Try to keep sweet and sugary drinks to a minimum for everyone. And when it comes to alcohol, select light beers or wine instead of fruity cocktails.
Check the Scale Often
Don’t let those pounds sneak up on you or your student. Although stepping on the scale multiple times daily isn’t especially healthy for mind or body, doing a weight check once a day or once every couple days will show if the scale is tipping in the wrong direction. If your weight or that of your student isn’t where you’d like it to be, plan to be a bit more careful calorie consumption.
Take Advantage of the Gym
Many schools offer access to their gyms throughout the year for students, and most colleges do so for students at little or no cost. Encourage your child to make the most out of the perks that come with being a student.
Strength training is a great way for all family members to power up their metabolism. Lifting weights several times a week can help boost metabolism to retain and build muscle mass. By practicing and promoting a healthy lifestyle, both you and your student can keep unwanted pounds off and overall health on the right track this busy school season.
The staff at Lee Bariatrics, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice, is committed to helping students and parents alike find their healthy weight. Call us today to learn about strategies for avoiding back-to-school weight creep at 1-888-715-4330.
The above is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the medical guidance from and discussion with your physician.