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How to Lose Weight on a Student Budget

Tips and Tricks on Keeping Fit at University Without Burning a Hole in Your Pocket!

Staying fit is difficult, especially at university where you have the freedom to eat and do whatever you want. I myself have really struggled with my weight, jumping from 95 kg to 120 kg in the first two years of University. A combination of depression, eating disorders and self indulgence have left my body plump and weak. However, I've recently experienced some success in my ever lasting mission, losing 10 percent of my body fat without changing my lifestyle too much. Here are a few tips from my own experience that are simple to follow and won't break the bank.

Diet

Credit: BBC Good Food

"Abs are made in the kitchen"

This is about 70 percent true. What you eat has the single largest influence on your body composition. Here are three simple changes you could make;

1) Make your meals really simple

Simple meals are a lot cheaper to make, and you can track exactly what you put into your body. The best ratio for meals is to have three fist size parts: one fist of carbs (rice, couscous), one fist of protein (chicken, fish) and one fist of vegetables.

2) Use smaller plates and bowls

One problem I had when I started university was that I bought huge plates and bowls. This meant that when I cooked a meal, I would fill the plate full of food, and would not stop eating until the plate was empty. If you have a smaller plate, you will put less food on the plate, so you will in turn eat smaller meals.

3) Count calories

It is a simple rule that to lose weight, you must consume less calories than you burn during the day. To do this, you should calculate how many calories your body burns during the day, and make sure you eat less than that amount. You can use this tool to calculate these values, and a free mobile app to track your food intake.

4) Meal prep

Preparing meals is very effective as it stops you from making bad food choices during the day as your meals are already ready to eat. It also saves a lot of money as you can cook in bulk ahead of time, saving you money on buying ready meals and meal deals from the store.

5) Drink water

Staying hydrated is essential to healthy weight loss, and its also free!

Exercise

Credit: THENX

Although just changing your diet can help you lose weight, adding exercise on top can help you to push yourself a bit further. It will also make you fitter and look better!

An easy way to do this is to take up running. Anyone can run as it is free and requires no extra equipment other than some running shoes. Running can be difficult at the start as it can be quite hard, and the way around this is to run as slowly as you need to in order to get as far as you can. Remember that you are only running for yourself, and should focus on your own progress. Here is a good video for running motivation.

Another approach to exercise on a budget can be through body weight exercises. If you want to build strength and muscle without splashing out on a gym membership, this would be the place to start as it requires no equipment whatsoever. The THENX youtube page has many good tutorial videos for absolute beginners to body weight exercises.

Commitment

The most important thing about losing weight is committing to your goal. Meaningful change can only be achieved through consistency and patience, as weight loss does not happen over night. Keep working and stay motivated, and you can achieve any goals you set yourself!

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