The Graduate 20…learning to move up in life, and not up in the scale

Most every student will know about the Freshman 15…the 15 pounds that have been said to be gained at the start of your start of college life. These 15 pounds are inadvertently easy to gain, and quite hard to lose, if you are unsure of what you are doing, or better yet, unaware of it.

So you move to school. Voila! There are probably at least two cafeterias catering to your every need, then there are snack stations, candy stations, and plenty of fast food and delivery stores! How are you going to pull an all-nighter without that loaded pizza and potato skins? Well, it’s hard to avoid the 15, but what about the 20?

The “Graduate 20” is the weight you gain when you GRADUATE! Yes, so you have made it through college. Congrats! That’s an amazing feat. But now you have started to work full-time. You may not have homework, but you are sure working a lot, and it may be boring, or exciting, but you are usually shot by 5pm and who wants to hit the gym then? If you are living out of your parent’s house by now, you also have to do the dishes and laundry and go food shopping…all chores you have to do after work or on weekends. So where does this lead you? No time. No time for the gym, no time for cooking, no time for your health.

If you want to avoid the graduate 20, here are some health E-Tips you can follow:

1. Be aware! Be aware of the time you have to get things done and try not to mope around. Make a schedule and stick to it!

2. Get active. You need to get active to get your metabolism going. You don’t HAVE to hit the gym. This can be anything. Go snowboarding, go for a run, walk outside, or play some paintball. Take up another activity with your friend like racquetball. If you are able to hit the gym, make it a priority like you do with work. Say to yourself you aren’t working for 8 hours today, you are working 9.5. An extra hour at the gym, and 30 minutes to get there. This will train your brain to know…you aren’t done, and you’re not ready to relax. If you work a later shift, like 9am, you can definitely go to the gym at 7 or 7:30 and go to work from there. Most gyms have showers to get ready. Make sure to pack your bag at night to help you get up and go!

3. Plan! Plan your meals. Make healthy dinners so you can make extra and pack it for two meals during the day. I always recommend eating several times throughout the day. I eat my first meal at home, three equal size meals at work, another after work, and then my final meal usually after the gym, which is dinner. Try eating every 2-3 hours and definitely within the first hour you wake up. Again, don’t think large breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and 3 small snacks. These meals should all be about the same size, and on the smaller side. You won’t ever be full, or hungry. Just satisfied all day.

4. Watch what you eat. Most “diet” foods are not what they claim. The ONLY way to lose weight is to eat foods your body can process quickly (hence, speed up your metabolism). If your body doesn’t know what to do with what it has in it (what’s Yellow #6 and Disodium phosphate?) then it can’t metabolize it efficiently. Stick to this motto and don’t worry about counting calories…”If you can’t Pick it, Grow it, or Kill it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.” Yes- this means wheat pasta is even a no-no. However, you can find some breads that are made with sprouted grains and water that’s not so bad. One recommendation is “Ezekiel Bread” found in the freezer section of most big stores.

5. Water. H20 is your friend. Try drinking about a gallon a day for those who are active, and at the very least, 1/2 gallon for those who are not. A gallon is just about 4 liter water bottles (you know the big tall ones. Bring one to work and leave it there. You probably have a water bubbler at work. Try to fill it twice at work, and twice after work.

6. Your work fridge can help you! On Mondays, bring in large size containers of things you can keep in your work fridge and at your desk to help you keep up with your meals. At my desk you will find rice cakes and almond butter all the time. I also have a bag of plain oatmeal and crushed walnuts. I bring a tub of Greek yogurt every week and scoop out what I need during the day into a plastic bowl. Keep fruit around too. I always have some protein at my desk too. I can get by with water, but you can use some fat-free milk and stir it up.

7. Vitamins needed to be taken unless your doctor says otherwise. You need a lot of nutrients and vitamins to get your body what it needs, especially if you are working out, you are depleting so many of them. No wonder you are so tired!

8. Alcohol can be detrimental to your progress. You were waiting for this I am sure. But don’t be too worried, you can usually have some wine and still be OK. Only drink a few glasses a week, preferably red.

9. Finally – the 90% rule. Make sure you aren’t too strict. You will burn yourself out. Try to stick to clean eating 90% of the time and you will do great! Don’t forget to have 2 or 3 cheat meals a week…This is not 2 or 3 cheat DAYS, but meals only. I save mine for Friday and Saturday nights, and sometimes Sunday dinner with my Italian family. If I don’t feel like having the pasta, I will make spaghetti squash – a great veggie substitute for pasta. You can find some great recipes online on how to cook it.

Hope this will help you keep that extra 20 pounds off!

Best wishes and health,


7 Responses to “The Graduate 20…learning to move up in life, and not up in the scale”
  1. spencertucci says:

    Ok so for coffee… sugar always instead of splenda?

  2. Dr. Knock Boots says:

    Fantastic article! My only qualm is the alcohol part. As a recent grad, alcohol is still a big part of my life. If you do feel the need to drink more, like me, then stick to low calorie stuff instead of beer. The way I do it now is just drink tequila straight and suck on a few limes. If you spend $25+ on the bottle, it will even taste good! Remember, the real goal here is to get drunk and skinny, so if you can incorporate drinking into your exercise, then you are on the right track. Keep it up people!

  3. Ciana Abdollahian says:

    One other thing that’s helped me is knowing what my RMR is. Once I figured out the approximate number of calories I needed to maintain my current weight, I realized that I was overeating. Teaching myself portion control was the biggest challenge!

  4. Susan says:

    Sounds great !! Any suggestions on which web sites offer the best recipes?

  5. So inspirational 🙂

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