When I returned from nine months of eating pasta, pizza, gelato and cannolis on the daily, I wound up donating nearly all my shorts and pants, because they wouldn't fit over my butt.
Shocker. 'Freshman fifteen?' More like 'Florence fifty.'
While I was away, I wasn't happy with my appearance (who ever really is?), but I was not going to sacrifice the tantalizing European cuisine. I told myself I would enjoy the food while I could and return to a healthy exercise and eating plan when States-bound.
I researched diets on Pinterest and wrote out strict workout schedules to help me drop some of the weight I inevitably gained. VS Model Bod, here I come was my mentality.
I've been home for just over a month now, and I have miraculously lost 15 pounds within that short time frame. However, it didn't happen the way I anticipated it to. I didn't pay any attention to the diets or workout routines I picked.
Instead, I found my own diet: trying not to eat anything that comes out of a plastic bag in addition to exercising when I can.
I'd call this diet "The Realistic College Summer Diet."
Eating food that doesn't come out of a plastic bag (a habit I picked up in Italy due to their presence of munchies at the smaller grocery stores) is not as hard as one might think. It involves indulging in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables which replaces Cheezits, Lays and Goldfish. Avoiding preservatives has become a priority, and the results have me feeling much better about myself and my diet.
I also haven't been eating as much red meat. I gravitate more towards fish, chicken, pork, beans and nuts to get my protein fix. In addition, I stray away from the sodas and juices, sticking mainly to water, tea and coffee.
As for the exercise, it really comes down to timing.
I work eight hours per day five days a week. Sometimes I don't have the energy at the end of the day to work out, and sometimes the weather just doesn't cooperate. If you miss a day, don't stress out. Yes, you should always try to find time to exercise throughout the day, but obsessing over a tight workout schedule isn't going to make you any more fit.
Most people have their own views on how to be a healthy eater or maintaining a 'balanced diet.' Some work better for others. But if you're looking to try a new style of eating this summer, try this one. It's very easy to follow, and you don't have to think much about it.
Your local farmers' market will be your new go-to. It's nearly impossible to stay away from some sweets, so don't be too hard on yourself. An ice cream cone, a Sex on the Beach or a chocolate bar once in awhile isn't going to kill you.
Try eating as fresh as you can and keeping a positive attitude. You'd be surprised how far it'll get you.
Here are some food ideas to get you started:
Salads: there's a plethora of combinations with vegetables, cheeses, protein, dressings, etc.
Snacks: carrots, dried fruit, nuts, celery with peanut butter, baked apples with cinnamon.
Yogurt parfaits: fresh fruit, granola, Greek yogurt, honey.
Toast: avocado on toasted bread from the farmers' market with a sunny side egg on top? A layer of peanut butter topped with sliced bananas and raisins on toast? Hellz yes!
Smoothies: what's in your green machine?
Dinners: roasted vegetables with garlic, rice or couscous and grilled salmon.