We recently did a post on how to LOSE weight in the dining hall of your college or university, but it is just as easy to gain weight if you start eating unhealthy foods and skip out on the exercise. So unless you want to be that guy or gal with the beer gut and flabby arms, listen up! We will go into detail on how you start gaining weight in the dining hall and how to avoid making that mistake in the first place. Some simple changes and adaptations to your current lifestyle is all it takes to make a positive change.
One great way to immediately start gaining weight is to exponentially increase your carbohydrate intake. While there is a myth out there that fat makes you fat, it’s actually carbohydrates (sugars) that get converted into stored body fat if too many are taken in over a long period of time without working them off. A great way to know if you are taking in too many carbs is too look at the graphic below. These are the guidelines that you should follow if you’re serious about the paleo lifestyle or even just looking to avoid putting on extra pounds this semester.
The graph shows you that in order to be in the “fat burning range” you need to keep your carbohydrate count down to between 50-100 grams per day. Now, if that seems low, you may want to hover around 100 and experiment for yourself. It’s all about seeing what works for you.
Note: If you are an athlete and/or participate in rigorous daily physical activity, I would highly suggest taking in more than the 50-100 suggested grams per day. As an athlete you need carbohydrates to replace empty glycogen stores after a long day of activity in order to have enough energy for the next day. But, be weary that you should only follow this guideline if you are an athlete (not just someone who hits the treadmill 3 or 4 time a week.
Adding on the note above. If you decide you do need to up your carb intake, go for whole carbohydrate sources like fruits and veggies which not only supply you with the nutrients you need, but give you a natural energy boost your body needs to function. Skip the cereal bar and pop tarts and hit the fruit stand! That’s what I always say.
Be a Couch Potato
Seriously. Try not working out for a month and see where you get. While a rest period like this is great if you’ve been hitting the gym for months in a row without end, I wouldn’t suggest skipping out on gym time. With primal fitness it’s not difficult to find 7-60 minutes 2-3 times a week to go to the gym. And if it is, your lifestyle may be too stressful and should be reexamined anyway!
Sitting on the couch for hours and hours on end is not only boring, it’s bad for you! Long periods of sitting tighten up your hip flexors and other muscles and in order to loosen them up you gotta get up and active! Grab a friend (or better yet, 2 or 3) and hit the gym to lift heavy things. This can be fun and beneficial all at the same time. If you are looking to build lean muscle and look ripped, start to eat healthy and hit the gym! It’s called building muscle because you actually have build it; that means getting down and dirty in the gym breakin’ a sweat! Three times a week lifting heavy weights for 40-60 minutes would be optimal for someone looking to really get ripped, but also don’t forget staying active the other 4 days of the week. Bike, swim, run, dance, walk, surf, ski, whatever! Something that gets you moving at a good pace that is also fun!
Stress Yourself Out to the MAX!
A little stress is good for you actually. You need to have stress in your life. However, when stress becomes overwhelming and starts affecting your mood and daily attitudes, it can cause serious harm to your body (and your belly!). Stress can affect your attitude toward food and cause you to overeat. While overeating salad is better than overeating McDonalds, it’s still overeating, and can cause you to gain weight. So eat when you’re hungry and don’t eat just because it’s “time to.”
Then there’s the science behind stress and how it influences weight gain. It is possible for cortisol to directly effect fat storage and weight gain in people of a high stress level. The stress hormone cortisol is a major player in this process. When there is high stress in an individual and therefore a high amount of cortisol in the blood stream, fat stores and excess fat will start to be relocated and deposited into the abdominal area (where a lot of people store a LOT of body fat). Without getting this excess fat store taken care of or looked at by a health professional, obesity is a definite possibility in your future.
So, basically follow Primal Law #6 and PLAY! Get out there and laugh as much as possible and reduce the amount of stress from school, work, working out, and all the other causes in your life.
Have you gained or lost weight after going to school? Leave a comment below.