We feel a little different this summer than we did last summer. Our friends might not be able to notice, but we are a little bit more scared to check the number on the scale these days. During our freshman year, we could always find an excuse to go out and get a grilled cheese or pizza.

But now that we have returned home, it seems the carbs have followed us along home, too. But, that doesn’t mean we have to go crazy trying to diet away those extra pounds we swore we wouldn’t gain this past year. In fact, losing a few of these pounds can mean just making a few minor adjustments to our daily routines.

1. Make your morning beverages at home

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m a die-hard Starbucks and Dunkin’s fan. At school, it could be 20 degrees outside, and I’d still crave an iced coffee from the cafe in the library (that “proudly sold Starbucks coffee”). But, like it or not, folks, Starbucks drinks aren’t great for you.

I would never tell someone to give up their morning coffee or tea, but making it at home means you know exactly what goes into it, which means cutting back on some unknown (and unwanted) sugar and calories.

2. Add some whole grains to your diet

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This is a good tip because it’s really easy to switch to whole grains, and personally, I think whole grain bread is delicious. Don’t cut out bread or pasta from your diet; that’s just going to make you sad. Whole grains have a lot of health benefits: most importantly, allowing you to not feel guilty for eating that second bowl of pasta.

3. Water is your best friend

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This is probably the easiest tip that takes the least amount of effort, and yet it also seems to be tip we forget about. Water doesn’t have to be boring, and it has a lot of health benefits, including helping assist weight loss. So go pour yourself a glass of water. And then drink another one. I want that pee to be nice and clear.

4. Two words: smaller. portions.

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This is especially important for dinner, which unfortunately is often the most difficult meal to cut down on. Technically, we are supposed to have smaller portion sizes as the day goes on to help with digestion. But we all know that that rarely is the case. But practice makes perfect, and portion control will get easier with time. Need help getting started? Read this article for some great tips.

5. Limit your consumption of dairy

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Exception: milk. Even whole milk has significant health benefits. Be kind to your bones. Unfortunately, other than milk, there aren’t a lot of health benefits to our favorite dairy products like cheese or ice cream. Don’t freak out – I’m not telling you to cut out dairy completely. That would just be mean. Just remember the golden rule: everything in moderation. Your future abs (and your digestive system) will thank you.

6. Add protein to your breakfast

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Protein should be eaten with every meal, but it seems to be more difficult to fit into breakfast. Protein in the morning can help foster weight loss and help cut down snacking. Eggs are always a great go-to, but there are also great cereal brands that are coming out with high-protein options Whip up some bacon, and start the day on the sunny side (up).

7. Find smarter ways to satisfy your sweet tooth

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Take advantage of the health benefits of dark chocolate when you need some candy. Frozen fruit is sweet and healthy (not to mention so easy). If you want something with a little more substance, make your own popsicles. Check out this article for great ideas. Your sweet tooth does not have to be your downfall.

8. Love yourself and your body

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This is by far the most important. Whether you gained the full freshman 15 or you are the same weight as when you left for college almost a year ago, you are still as beautiful as ever. And you’re going to rock that new bathing suit you just bought. Because you slay no matter what that damn scale says. A good attitude and positive thinking is more effective than any diet tip.