While spring break is supposed to be a relaxing time, free of classes and studying, for many college students, it means rethinking your body image and wondering if you are bikini ready. I’ve checked in with CL’s Editor in Chief/CEO, Shelly Marie Redmond, MS, RD, LDN-Registered Dietitian, and Brianna Larson, BS, ACSM/HFS. They provide classy co-eds with advice on looking good for spring break while doing it the healthy way.
College Lifestyles: What do you suggest students should do in preparation for spring break if they are looking to shed a couple pounds?
Shelly Marie Redmond: Since many of us don’t have a say in what is served to us (dining hall), the most useful tip is to cut down on portions and replace with high fiber vegetables. Literally, cut in half what you place on your plate. If you have two scoops of spaghetti, cut down to one scoop and fill in the empty space with any vegetable/salad available in the dining hall. The second tip is to carry water with you at all times. Snack on protein – carry around Greek yogurt cups or have in your refrigerator and eat those if you get a hunger craving.
CL: What do you believe is one of the biggest food mistakes students make in trying to lose weight for spring break?
SR: Skipping meals. Many of us think if I skip breakfast, I will cut down on calories, but the truth is you will be starving at lunch (or before) and overeat without realizing it.
CL: What do you think is the healthiest way to lose weight in a short amount of time?
SR: Portion control. Sounds silly, but it is true. A regular bagel equals three bread servings. Cut that in half and you are set!
CL: Why is it so unhealthy to go on a crash diet or starve yourself?
SR: Simply, you cannot stay on these diets or this ‘skip meal’ pattern forever. When you ‘go back’ to eating regular, you will gain any weight loss back and become discouraged.
CL: How can students eat healthy while away on spring break?
SR: While it is difficult to plan ahead when traveling with friends, have a goal to make one grocery trip when you arrive to your destination. Fill the refrigerator with Greek yogurt and one of your favorite fruit (be it apple, oranges, banana, etc). Aim to have the yogurt and fruit daily (ideally for breakfast). In packing, throw in your suitcase a box of Kashi or Luna bars. Have these as a snack or while getting ready to go out on the town.
For more helpful tips on eating healthy this spring, check out intern, Meg Dowell’s guide on starting a spring nutrition plan.
CL: What kind of exercise plan do you recommend students do to shed weight in a small amount of time?
Brianna Larson: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is my go-to exercise program when you need to maximize your workout in a minimum amount of time. HIIT sessions consist of a warm up period of exercise, followed by six to ten cycles of high intensity exercise, separated by medium intensity exercise, and ending with a period of cool down exercise. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The medium exercise should be about half of the intensity of your maximum intensity. The beauty of HIIT is the entire session lasts at most fifteen minutes and not more than twenty. The original protocol of HIIT is set at a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery periods, for example, 30–40 seconds of hard sprinting alternated with 15–20 seconds of jogging or walking. You can perform HIIT in your dorm room, bedroom, at the park and with absolutely no equipment. This excuse-free, express route to fitness is the best for those who want results!
CL: How can students stay active while away on spring break?
BL: Engage in exciting and active things. It’s not fun to be tied down to the gym on your break, however if you attend a Zumba class or bootcamp class, you get the best of both worlds. Keep your body slim and wallet plump, by inquiring about a student discount at local gyms. If you are away on vacation, book a hike or explore the city with friends. Walking is an excellent way to burn calories and enjoy the sights and sounds of fun new places, and not to mention the resistance training you’ll get from toting the heavy bags from shopping!
Try CL’s 30 day workout plan by intern, Kathleen Hansen, so you can look fabulous and feel confident in your bathing suit. Whether you’re going away for spring break or just relaxing at home, Meg Dowell’s article on starting a spring workout plan can help you get fit and healthy this spring.