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University and how to cope!

Hi everyone!

So I have literally just 5 minutes ago been accepted to university - very happy! I'll be going in September and can't wait.

However... I am worried about it! I intend to have lost a lot of weight by then, however I am sure I will still have lots to lose.

I will obviously be on a budget, so does anyone know of any good, cheap, low calorie foods?

Also, so scared of all of the nights out and drinking and how I will cope! I know it should be easy to say no, or to have sober nights, but I am sure everyone realises that it isn't that simple, and I don't want to become known as the boring one!

This is a huge motivation for me now - want to be able to go to uni slim and confident, wearing nice clothes and able to wear the multiple fancy dress clothes that I am sure I will have to!

Are there any uni students/freshers or just anyone who has any ideas of how to cope at uni?


Sarah x
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Hey Sarah, firstly, congratulations! Where/what will you be doing?
I'm going to uni this September too, and trying to lose some weight. I'm using foodfocus.co.uk cos it's free and you can log food and exercise and it'll tell you how many calories you need to eat to lose however much you want which I find reeeally useful as I'm just eating less portions of normalish things!

As for when you're at uni - when I went before I lost a load of weight. Being around everyone else can be a positive thing, especially if you get everyone up for healthy eating! Also, theres loads of walking/can join the gym etc which makes up for boozy nights out. Get everyone together to make big batches of food before you go out and stuff and you can keep it healthy and still keep everything fun =)
Hope that helped a little bit...I think I might have just rambled!x
No that is brill, thanks!

I am using Foodfocus at the moment - I love it! It is really helping. I just find at the moment, I see SO many skinny girls - when I went to visit my cousin at uni, the 6 girls in her halls must have all been a size 8 - I would have hated to live there! The kitchen was littered with take out and pizza boxes and I just hope the people I live with aren't going to be like that!

I am going to Plymouth to do primary teaching. What are you going to do?
Hi Sarah,

My biggest advice to you would be to join a sports club at your University atheletic union. Its really easy to lounge around all day chilling out with your friends and doing very little exercise apart from dancing at the union and walking around the shops!

Don't worry if you don't do a sport at the moment - university is a great opportunity to start a sport without any experience. Many people take up a new sport when they start Uni - its also a great way to meet friends.

I joined my university hockey club - I can sometimes end up training twice a week and playing matches twice a week! So lots of good exercise!

Good luck at University!
Ah I know what you mean, I was reasonably lucky to live with quite normal girls. All slimmer than me, but prone to gaining a bit of weight if the take outs got too regular which was helpful!
Primary teaching sounds fun, I'm going to Leicester to do nursing =) x
I went to uni a few years ago now, but had the same problem. ALL my housemates and friends were thin so felt awful most of the time! However, I did join the gym and met loads of other people and would do aerobics etc it was great fun and got me fitter...as for the food, it is really hard. The best advice I can give is to be organised. Make a menu for the week and STICK to it...mince is cheap and so is turkey so lots of stir frys and spag bol etc...you can also make beef burgers which are sooo much better for you....once you put your mind to it, it wont be that hard...

Good luck and enjoy the course. (I want to go in to Primary school teaching too - at the moment am a TA at a local school)

Im currently at uni, and have lost the bulk of my weight whilst at uni during term times.
I wont lie it is hard, but once you achieve your goals the self satisfaction is second to none. I have friends of mine now asking me how to lose weight and they feel the pounds piling on whilst being at uni. Admitedly I dont go out on student nights, but you dont have to go out and drink to have fun and fit in. There will be lots of clubs and societies you can join whilst at uni, to keep the exercise up, and i agree with hchappyh if you make a menu and stick to it as much as you can you should be fine with the food.

It maybe tempting to have take-a-ways (i live on a road full of them so temptation is always around), but i always think about the end result. Uni is 3/4 years of your life, but what makes things more important for me, if my health is what defines how long ill live for in life. x
I'm also at uni now and I'm the flip side of the coin to rugbykirsty87 - I came to uni and gained a whole load of weight. I'm now trying to get back to where I started 5 long years ago. BUT I have friends who've all managed to lose weight when they've been here, mostly through diet and exercise. Two of the biggest successes lost around 4 stones over a year and they're both maintaining it now.

I'd advise you (note: I'm advising what I've learned from them, not how to gain weight like I did!)
1) not to eat bulk loads of carbs - yes, they're essential, so I'm not saying cut them out completely, but it's easy to eat too much pasta/rice/potatoes/bread/noodles (the list goes on...) because they're cheap

2) eat plenty of vegetables (at the end of my first year they were offering vitamin supplements because everyone was so deficient due to eating crap all year) - vegetables are cheap and healthy, so it's a win-win. If I were you I'd find a good, local fruit and veg market because they'll have a great selection, all fresh, and it'll be cheap

3) you will go out for a drink with your friends (especially during the first few weeks as you all get to know each other - much easier when alcohol is involved!) so don't beat yourself up about it. Stay away from alcopops as they're FULL of sugar - my friends would drink a spirit and mixer (vodka/rum with diet coke/orange juice) - I think one standard shot of vodka contains about 60 calories (1 WW point) so it's not the end of the world if you have a drink once in a while - maybe designate a day or two you know you're going to go out and compesate for it elsewhere, eg

4) by going to the gym! I know others have mentionned it but it really is a good way to stay in shape - you'll probably have a university gym which will be cheaper than any chain in the area. As the others also pointed out, join a club - my university is a bit hardcore on sports so I didn't join the university clubs, but the college ones (smaller and friendlier) - you'll meet up a couple of times a week, get some exercise in and have a laugh along the way.

Hope you have an amazing time at uni and don't let work get in the way of having fun :)
i read in a report that, this is not exact but i definitely read something along the lines, that uni students gain about 1 stone the first year they live out because most of them go for processed foods.

in my case it didnt change, ashamed to say my mum cooked home food for me and i took it with me lol...and my eating fast food was always there, home or at uni.

and yeah i know about skinny girls, i find it unbelievable how i see skinny girls eat, they eat so much (the ones i know), and they dont gain weight. and they stay so small. there is alot of pressure at uni if you are a social out going sort of person, on some nights you see all these girls getting dressed up and dolled up looking very good...but me personally, i dont go out to clubs to find girls, i dont drink, my social life is a bit different to that.

if i were you i would certainly get membership to a gym, because trust me i know its easy to slip at uni, the diet at uni is awful...and you will be tempted by the junk food...

but yes i would recomend gym, my cousin sister just said to me she had a mate who was quite 'fat' and after going gym reguarly shes 'gone skinny'...ive never met the girl she is talking about, but i took her word for it.

remember anything which makes you sweat is good for your weightloss.
well good luck with it sarah, i'm a student now again and have put on loads of weight over the last 2 years:( hope its different for you - think most of it is to do with no regular routine oh and the eating and drinking out!!

before i was in college i did have this great hot-pot sort of dinner all the time which was gorgeous, cheap and healthy so i think ticks all the right boxes.

soften onions, garlic and mushrooms in the bottom of a pan, add stock, rice, tin of chick peas or kidney beans (wash them first) and then something else like tin of salmon or whatever you fancy. this will do 2 dinners at least and will leave you full too. although its not everyones cup of tea.

i'd experiment but them tins of chick peas are great!!

college usually have loads of clubs and societies too and you'll probaby go mad joining loads - i'd join maybe one or two and stick with them to start - doesn't have to be health related at all, camping and stuff like that is great fun and leads to other outdoor activites like kayaking etc and most of all have fun!!
Join the clubs and as breadbin says it doesn't have to be all the healthy ones...social clubs are great and and other actvities come from them...Once you'ver found your feet and settled in, get to that gym - you'll love it, it will give you loads of energy, you'll be able to study better, yes study, uni is also about studying, not just other social life - (I did meet my OH at uni over 10yrs ago now though!) but you will also be able to play harder too.

The most important things is too have fun. I loved my uni days despite my weight....get out there and enjoy!
I am really looking forward to it! Thanks for all of your replies.

I think I am OK with main dinners.... its more the snacking that is an issue. I know what is healthy and not healthy for dinners... I wouldn't be buying takeaways, and would prob not have pizzas etc. I have lived away from home before and was very responsible about food. However, snacking is a whole different story! But I'm assuming my budget is going to be so small that I won't be able to snack!!

I will deffo be going to the gym, and will look for clubs to join. My main worry is the alcohol... I think I need to get some practice in for enjoying myself just as much but being sober! I think it is so sad that I need a few drinks to be able to let go and have fun, but maybe when I am slimmer and more confident (hopefully by the time I get to uni!!) then I will be able to dance the night away whilst drinking water!
xsarahx, I know I've been out of the uni scene for a while now, but I'm sure certainly nowadays people won't expect to you drink.. You can have perhaps a shot of something, vodka or whatever and mix it with diet soda, or whatever takes your fancy. That way you are still having a drink, not getting wildly drunk, relaxing and letting your hair down and at the same time, not overdoing it calorie/diet wise..

Good luck and I'm sure you'll be fine, you're so positive and motivated.


Just Peachy

Slowly But Surely
Congratulations :) There's always ways of doing it though, don't worry.

For the drinking, I just go for spirit with tonic or diet mixer. You don't feel deprived or the calories! You can go out, enjoy yourself and be a proper fresher.

As for food, I was always a fan of dried chick peas, lentils, kidney beans etc. If you buy them dry and cook them yourself, they are ridiculously cheap, healthy, and full of protein. Even if you want to be lazy, you can get thin crust pizzas that are reasonable in terms of price and calories. Small changes sometimes make big differences!

As for the gym, I never bothered. Just walked everywhere and if you're brave enough, go for a run!

Hope you manage :)


Silver Member
For the alcohol:

Before you go out drink a large diet coke - this will slow down your drinking once you are out.

Try to avoid drinking in rounds. Being a student you can use the "I'm broke" to explain why you want to get your own in. That way you can drink at your own pace rather than the pace of the fastest drinker and you could make every 3rd drink a soft drink. This has two advantages: you will get less drunk so your willpower may be stronger on that walk home past the takeaway AND it reduces the total of empty calories over the evening.

Research the cals in your drinks (try: Calories in Alcohol
You will be shocked at the different amounts in different lagers and ciders.

But most of all enjoy yourself - you'll have the time of your life.


technologically ignorant

The real stress point could be teaching practice. This is very tiring and very stressful and I found it harder for eating sensibly than the rest of Uni (not that I ate sensibly then either but I did at least cook rather than live on take-away). When on teaching practice always eat a good, filling breakfast and make sure not to skip lunch. It is far too easy to get to the end of the day, find you haven't eaten and then stuff your face.

On booze - I recall that people often ended up drinking pints of milk rather than alcohol towards the end of term because they ran out of money so I don't think it really matters what you drink.
Uni is about enjoying yourself, so don't get too hung up on calories etc. Just be as sensible as possible when you can and make the healthiest choice when you can. The rest, enjoy. It's uni.