Avoiding Weight Gain as a Student

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Avoiding Weight Gain as a Student

Did you know that 70% of college students gain weight by graduation? A study by health.com found that weight gain in college students is often caused by “late-night snacking, fattening dorm meals, and a lack of exercise.” Weight gain as a student can cause a multitude of problems, including less energy and motivation. So, especially when in college, it is important to choose the right foods and adopt an effective workout routine. Maintaining your physical health while in school is not always easy, but these tips can help.

Weight Gain Affects Your Health

Rapid weight gain can negatively affect your physical and mental health. According to cdc.gov, the long-term physical consequences include obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and heart disease.  Gaining weight can also affect your emotional well-being. As ncoa.org mentions, being unable to do the things you love due to your weight can lead to loneliness and depression. You may also face weight bias, which is discriminatory behavior that can affect your self-esteem and stress levels. 

Another element that could impact your mental health is a poor diet. Eating unhealthy foods increases your body’s inflammatory markers, which leads to a high risk of developing depression. Furthermore, because of your busy schedule and tight budget, you may often turn to readily available alternatives such as low-priced fast food. Your busy schedule may also cause erratic eating patterns, like skipping meals and eating late at night, which can cause weight gain and difficulty sleeping. An unhealthy diet can also lead to complications during your studies as you may suffer from energy lag, concentration loss, and memorization issues, according to hopkinsallchildrens.org. This may result in difficulty completing assignments and other important tasks for school. Not being able to concentrate on your classes and failing to remember details will make learning more challenging. 

Additionally, cdc.gov mentions that insufficient exercise can put you at risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Students are at risk for these harmful consequences because, according to semanticscholar.org, “24.2% of college students do not participate in moderate physical activity at all, and 41.4% do not participate in vigorous activity.” However, developing an exercise routine can minimize these risks.

weight gain student

1. Establish an Exercise Routine

Exercise is usually grouped into two categories: cardio and strength. Like running or biking, cardio improves your heart, lungs, and endurance. Cardio can also boost your mood and energy, making completing tasks easier and decreasing stress. Strength-based workouts, such as pull-ups and squats, help preserve and enhance muscle mass. Strength-building exercises can help develop strong bones and increase your metabolism to burn calories. Health.harvard.edu mentions that strength-based exercises can also improve your thinking skills by reducing insulin resistance and inflammation.

Incorporating a workout routine while you are busy with your studies can be a struggle, but some routines are more manageable. Accreditedschoolsonline.org suggests that with even four minutes to spare, you can integrate the Tabata HIIT workout. This type of workout is a good fit for people who lack time and equipment but still seek intense exercises. For a quick HIIT workout, you can sprint, do burpees, or do jumping jacks, for example. Do the exercise of your choice with maximum effort for twenty seconds and rest for ten seconds. Perform eight cycles for a total of four minutes. 

If you have thirty minutes for a routine, you can do the Know Thyself Workout. According to accreditedschoolsonline.org, this workout includes squats to press, jumping jacks, lunges to row, and step up with curl. Do fifteen repetitions of each exercise until the thirty minutes expire. Consider a full-body workout if you have an hour open in your schedule. For example, you can jog and stop every half a mile to do thirty seconds of body weight exercise, such as squats and pushups. Other options include running up and down stairs, swimming laps, or practicing yoga.

weight gain student

2. Maintain a Healthy Diet

A healthy, well-balanced diet contains vitamins B, C, and iron, which you can find in foods like whole-grain bread and cereal, eggs, nuts, and oranges. You should also eat fruit since its natural sugars give you clean energy that does not come with a crash like refined sugar. In addition, be sure to eat vegetables with a darker color, such as spinach or broccoli, because they have a higher concentration of nutrients. You should also include lean protein like beans, fish, or chicken in your meals. Lastly, your meals should consist of healthy fats like avocado or nuts because they benefit your brain and heart and reduce inflammation.

Avoid unhealthy food choices that contain high amounts of solid fats, sugars, or salt. Unhealthy foods to avoid include candy, cookies, french fries, and pizza. Even though these types of food are often readily available on school campuses, that does not mean you should eat them. Instead, your meals at dining halls should consist of carbohydrates like rice, proteins like eggs, and fat like hummus, seeds, or olive oil.

A healthy diet also includes an effective dining schedule. You should eat three balanced meals daily to give you sufficient energy and keep your metabolism active. Plan specific times for these meal times, such as breakfast at 10 am, lunch at 1 pm, and dinner at 6 pm. As davidson.edu states, the JACH study found that students’ current GPA significantly increased with the number of days they reported eating breakfast.”  Breakfast can help boost academic performance. 

weight gain student

3. Stay Healthy on a Budget

While some forms of exercise and healthy foods can be expensive, you can also make them work on a budget. Jogging outside costs nothing, as do home workouts like yoga or equipment-free HIIT routines. You can also try obefitness.com, where you view videos of different workouts or join live classes alongside others.

In terms of food, cook more at home. For example, you can make pasta with veggie noodles or add chopped vegetables to your rice. Consider doubling the recipe and freezing the leftovers to have a healthy meal readily available on extra busy days. You can also purchase frozen or canned fruits and vegetables to save money.  Just remember to avoid the ones with added sugar, salt, or preservatives if possible. Lastly, look for coupons using tools like joinhoney.com or ibotta.com to help you save money on ingredients making it easier to avoid gaining weight.


Weight gain as a student can lead to numerous problems with your health that may derail your academic journey. However, developing a workout routine and maintaining a healthy diet can help you avoid gaining weight. The expert educators at WorldWise Tutoring can help you make healthy choices that will improve your learning capacity. Our scope of services does not end at homework help. We are here for all your learning needs!


Written by Xavien Timoll

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