How To Prevent Weight Gain In A Hostel?
You know you live in a hostel when you try to find ways to make hostel food interesting. Anyone who has ever lived in a hostel or is enduring hostel life knows what I am talking about. Runny dal, bland veggies and dry rotis. Hostel food is rarely something to call home about.
Since l hated my hostel food, after putting up with it for the first few months, I started depending on junk food to keep my stomach happy. And that’s when I put on weight. It didn’t show up on my body instantly but on my next trip home, my friends were astonished by the weight I had gained.
I certainly didn’t want all that extra weight on me! I decided to diet, but as a bakery student that was definitely a challenge. I knew I would not be able to resist tasting all the yummy baked goods that I made. What I could do was reduce my consumption of unhealthy fat and sugar; which was adding to my calorie intake. I like to write things down and I am obsessed with list making. And that was the first step to losing the extra kilos.
Know what you’re eating, write it down
Before I actually started dieting, I made a list of food I was eating on a daily basis and it was a lot more than I realized! Apart from the all the cakes, and cookies I was tasting, I was also eating my regular meals and indulging in midnight snacks like nutella and maggi. I decided to cut down on the unnecessary intake.
I used to start the day with a glass of milk and whatever breakfast was served to us in the mess. Most of the food they served was so deep fried that you could actually drown in the oil. I decided that spending a little extra on breakfast substitutes was a must.
Lunch and Dinner
For lunch and dinner, they served veggies, a curry or dal and rice. I decided to cut down on the rice and focus on having more dal and vegetables. Instead of gobbling up what we made in our classes, I distributed it all to other hostelers before temptation could strike. I realized that I was munching on chocolates too often. I forced myself to cut down., I also realized that I hadn’t eaten a fruit since ages.
Because of sheer boredom and frustration with unfinished assignments, most of us including me resorted to eating. My midnight snacks consisted of either nutella on bread or maggi. When I wrote down what I was eating, I realized how pointless that kind of eating was. I didn’t need it, nor did I crave it; I was just bored!
Plan your meals
Menus are usually fixed in a hostel mess. I wrote a meal plan to keep track of what I could eat in a day. I tried to incorporate as many healthy meals as I could without spending extra. I ate mess breakfast on Mondays because they served idlis. The college canteen served low calories pastas on certain days. I incorporated that in my meal plan. Eating muesli for breakfast had helped me lose weight earlier, so I decided that breakfast from now on will consist of milk and muesli. For lunch I ate whatever was served, reducing the quantity of the rice I ate. I started eating an apple half an hour prior to dinner. Dinner consisted of dal and the vegetables that was served.
Planning is easy once you know what you ought to eat. Once your plan is ready, it’s time to stock up. I made a list of things I needed to buy and rushed to the supermarket. Now I was excited!
I bought muesli, apples, low calorie soup packets, low calorie snacks like khakra, and, pre-packaged theplas. As a hostelite, you might not have a huge budget and spending on low calories snacks might feel like a pocket pinch. But there are a lot of affordable options out there and all you have to do is explore. Starting with fruits is a good idea. Bananas, apples, strawberries, pineapples, and guavas are nutritious meal options and a good (although not as exciting at first) substitute for maggi, nutella, breads, kurkure, and fivestars.
Once I got into the habit of buying low calories snacks, spending on them became a habit. Instead of spending fifteen rupees on my favorite Vada pao, I spent ten rupees on a packet of roasted chana. A little more filling and as tasty. And if you’re up for it buy 100 gms of tomatoes, onions, cucumber and lemons, chop up and make yourself a healthy snack. It will be worth it.
Eat on time
I have always been a stickler for eating on time, simply because I get acidity when I don’t. I know it’s difficult to have a fixed time to eat between hectic classes and endless assignments. Often you end up eating your meals in front of your laptop as you finish the project that absolutely has to be submitted the next day.
You tend to eat more when you don’t have a fixed time for your meal. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important that you take out time to eat. This will help you focus on your meal and you will be aware of what you’re eating. So the next time you eat, don’t be in a rush to finish. Take your time and relish your meal.
Don’t skip breakfast
I know it’s hard. You were up half the night, finishing assignments and you need that extra half an hour to sleep. Well, what if I tell you that you will be fresher and much more alert if you do get up and eat something before you head off to your class?
Yes, your mom and grandma are right. Skipping breakfast is not healthy and it won’t help in your weight losing quest. The last meal you ate was 7-8 hours ago and your stomach needs food! When you skip breakfast you tend to eat more because your stomach misses food. The word itself says that you need to eat in the morning- break your fast.
Hostel life can get quite sedentary and adding an exercise routine is a good idea. Exercising does not necessarily mean going to do gym. I count any physical activity that makes your heart race and gets you sweating as exercise. You can dance, swim, jog, zumba, walk, run up and down stairs; anything you fancy as long you’re active for more than 20 minutes. I used to go for brisk walks on most evenings. It was sweaty and yet so much fun.
I think the easiest thing I did when I was trying to lose weight was call mom! She gave me a pep talk, she comforted me and she couriered some preserve able homemade snacks that were both tasty and healthy. She makes yummy oil free Theplas, so she sent me two huge packets. I had a hard time hiding those packets from my hungry hostel friends. She also sent me some other snacks that I could not find near my hostel. Yes, moms are the best. They know exactly what you need. Call home for food. Or just for comfort. Losing weight is so much easier when you have a loved one supporting you.