If you’re a college freshman and you’ve recently moved to a dorm, condo, or apartment near your university, the initial independence may be thrilling; but soon enough, you’ll realize that it’s not all peaches and cream. You’ll need to start planning for things that you used to take for granted before you left home, like what you’ll be eating for dinner.

The usual recourse is to eat out, oftentimes at a fast food restaurant. This is exactly what causes weight gain in the beginning of the semester. Although the putting on pounds so quickly may seem daunting, a new study featured on MedicalNewsToday.com suggests that a brief intervention may help you get back to your healthy weight.

Matt Martens, an associate professor of counseling psychology, and his colleagues from the University of Missouri worked with college participants who were asked to complete a ten-minute survey about their lifestyle. A clinician then discussed their answers with them for around 25 to 30 minutes, giving suggestions on healthier regimens. The results showed that an intervention that only lasted 30 minutes had great impact on the participants, who started engaged more in good diet and regular exercise.

Martens explains, "The whole point of all these studies on exercise, interventions and lifestyle decisions is to keep people from getting sick. In the end, it comes down to individuals making good lifestyle decisions, but sometimes it's important for healthcare providers to bring certain decisions that do not contribute to a healthy lifestyle to the attention of the patient."

If you’re living on your own and on a budget, try planning your meals for the next seven days. You can make an initial run to a nearby grocery or market to check out prices so that you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be spending for your daily menu. Moreover, make use of your school’s perimeter to put in a few jogging laps ever morning or evening. The plus side this is that you won’t even need to pay for any gym memberships.

The key to a wholesome lifestyle--even if you don’t have your mom to supervise you--is discipline. Just keep to your health routine, and not only will you have that just-right waistline, but you’ll also be more physically and mentally active as you go through your academics.

(Photo by Wimena Kane via Flickr Creative Commons)

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