Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How To Stay Healthy In College

Staying healthy in college is a major concern for many people when heading away to college. While the idea of the "freshman 15" may linger in the back of your mind there are some easy habits you can implement into your daily routine to avoid having that concept as something you actively think about while away at school. While it is probably very clear to all of you that I am no nutritionist or health expert I had multiple requests to do a post of this nature and wanted to share my tid bits of wisdom on the matter with y'all. First I want to start off by saying that college is an adjustment and most people cope with that adjustment in very different ways . If you discover that you gained a bit of weight over freshman year but you had a blast doing it does it really matter what other people think? My take is that as long as you are being healthy that is what is most important, not your weight

I know talking about weight is really taboo but I figured if I were doing this post to begin with I may as well share this sort of information with you since you are probably wondering it anyway. If you, for whatever reason, feel the need to say something negative about these numbers or anything I am writing about I would rather that negativity not be shared on here. I would much rather keep this as a place where what is more important than the number on the scale is that you feel comfortable and confident with your body and who you are. And it is so important to remember that everyone's bodies are so different.  You know the phrase never judge a book by its cover? The same thing goes with weight and body image etc. A good personality, positive attitude, and being a genuinely nice person goes a lot farther than how you look in a bathing suit or the number that pops up on your scale.

*image via
So here are my facts for you. I am a little over 5 feet 7 inches tall and entered college at about 118 pounds. I have always been relatively small and I have a fast metabolism and a pretty active personality to thank for that. First semester of freshman year my weight remained pretty consistent and I think I ended the semester about how it began. I kept up my active lifestyle and worked out pretty regularly and was able to find options in our dining hall that I enjoyed and weren't overwhelmingly bad for me. Second semester of freshman year is when I put on a little weight and honestly I wasn't too concerned since in all honesty it probably made me look a little bit better and filled out. With a cold winter, little motivation to work out, and an endless supply of treats thanks to sorority life I think I ended that semester at about 126 pounds. That summer I worked at camp and I think I entered my sophomore year at around 124 pounds. I continued to workout regularly both semesters of sophomore year and had a campus meal plan meaning that most of my meals were coming from choices available at our dining hall or food court. I ended my sophomore year pretty similarly to how I started it weighing about 123 pounds. This summer I was home aside from my just-under-a-month trip to Paris and London at the beginning of the summer and was able to pick back up my old running routes at home in June but went to the gym some in July due to the heat. If I had to guess I'd say I started this semester at about the same weight somewhere between 121-123 pounds. I weighed myself yesterday and currently weigh about 121 pounds and find that to be completely fine since I eat plenty (honestly though, I eat every 2 or so hours and survive off of granola bar snacks between meals), exercise enough, and am overall perfectly fine with how I look. Working out is my favorite form of stress relief and if you know me at all in real life then you know that dessert is a part of a meal that I don't have the self control to skip (I have a major sweet tooth, thanks dad!). As for height, I don't think I've grown but I also haven't measured myself in a while so who knows.
(It is probably also important to note that your weight also fluctuates during the day so who knows how accurate my memory or measurements are since I probably weighed myself at very different times of the day).

So why did I tell you all of that? I am guessing that some of you may have been curious and also to clarify that these are tips I use when attempting to stay healthy in college and although some of these things may work for me you may choose to implement different ways to stay healthy in college. It is so important to remember too that being healthy is a lot more important than being a certain weight. I am not a dieter or skip a meal kind of person seeing as I would probably pass out from hunger but I would much rather focus on being healthy than losing weight.

only eat when you're hungry
This is the best way to help avoid stress snacking! While I know it can be tempting to buy tons of candy and ice cream since you have a pantry and freezer of your own having those snacks around would make you much more likely to eat for fun instead of eating when your body tells you it is hungry.

make working out a priority
As I mentioned earlier, working out is my favorite way to relieve the stress of a hectic day. Whether it is going on a run or going to they gym I always feel so much better afterwards and honestly can't think of a time where I have regretted working out since it helps me to refocus and reenergize!

walk to class, don't drive
I say this coming from a smaller school with a smaller sized campus. My apartment is about a mile from my classes and 1.2 miles to the gym so by walking to class I am guaranteeing that I will have some form of physical activity in my day. Yes, sometimes the weather does' cooperate or you need to drive to class but for me the walk is calming and helps me prepare for my day or de-stress on the way back.

keep a routine
I thrive on routines and getting back into the school year is difficult because I still haven't established one. Once you have established a routine where working out is included then it will become a priority. Not having time is a typical excuse for avoiding exercise or being lazy in college but just remember everyone has 24 hours and it is how you manage your time that matters. 

find a buddy
Who doesn't love doing things with friends? A workout or cooking buddy will help to keep you accountable and you'll be doing the same thing for them! 

keep healthy snacks around
If you decide to snack and only have healthy snacks around then that is what you're going to eat. I am definitely not saying you can only keep kale and bananas around but reaching for healthier options will leave you feeling more satisfied. This is also important to keep in mind when you are packing your backpack for class. Put a granola bar or other healthy snack in your backpack so you can avoid the campus snack bar and machines. 

I am still working on this one. I don't think I've gotten more than 8 hours of sleep this entire semester and most of the time I've been lingering around 6 hours which is not ideal. Get enough sleep and you will feel more energized and in turn become more likely to focus on making healthy decisions. 

actually eat breakfast
My favorite meal! I really don't understand how people can skip breakfast. If I did that my stomach would surely growl in class and there is a good chance people would be able to hear it. My go to breakfast is a whole wheat waffle with peanut butter!

choose wisely in the dining hall
The dining hall will have tons of options and some of them may not be the healthiest. Try opting for a salad every once in a while or make yourself a sandwich!

lots of water
This is a given. Choose water frequently over soda or other drinks. I always keep a water bottle with me and usually have to fill it up at least once during my span of classes during the day.

don't be obsessive, it's college, you're supposed to have fun
This is self explanatory! Eat dessert often and don't turn down dinner with friends! 

pack in the protein
This is super important for me as I wouldn't be surprised if I was hypoglycemic. Getting protein at every meal is really important to me and helps to keep me fuller longer. Try to make sure you have some source of protein on your plate for lunch and dinner!

schedule in some me time
Crucial for sanity. Remember that you are surrounded with people all the time and it is completely necessary to take a bit of that time for yourself! 

What are your best tips for staying healthy in college?


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