Healthy College Lifestyle
Through the majority of college, some students struggle to form a healthy lifestyle and avoid gaining the infamous “freshman 15.” All over the media you’ll find resources with titles like “Top Healthy Snacks,” “Best Weight Loss Foods,” or “Quick Ways to Shred the Flab.” The list just goes on. You name it, there is an article about how to thin, trim, and slim down. The majority of the time students begin these diets or fitness goals with the “mind-over-matter” mentality. However, most of them soon revert to their favorite fast-food meals or start to crave late night ice cream. Then there they are; all their plans and goals down the drain or back to square one. This is a typical pattern not only among college students, but many adults as well. The trap most people fall into is that they strive to change their diets and increase their exercise to such a sudden and drastic extent that their bodies struggle to cope. This causes negative side effects such as fatigue, cravings, irritability, and the loss of drive to stick with the changes. That is why it is important to learn how to obtain and maintain a realistic, healthy, and balanced lifestyle gradually.
In the first year of college, you will hear the words “Freshman 15” continuously. It is important to not be so worried about weight that you overcompensate to an unhealthy extent in order to escape the extra pounds. This is where having a balanced lifestyle comes into play.
H2O: Drink it- This is a health tip often overlooked, but it should be at the top of your importance list. According to The Institute of Medicine’s website, it is recommended that men drink around 3 liters (about 13 cups) a day. The recommend adequate water intake for women is around 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). Any substance that accounts for 60% of your body weight is bound to be important. Without enough water in your system, you will begin to suffer from dehydration, headaches, fatigue, and other issues. Drinking water is not only a necessity, but also makes you feel healthier.
Add Some Color to Your Plate– Did you know that having a colorful diet is a great tip for healthy eating? The more colorful your plate typically means the more healthy variations of foods it contains. One of my favorite things about fruits are the variety of colors they come in. Go into each day with the goal of eating at least 2 or 3 different fruits. Whether that is one per meal or two in the morning and one as a snack, find ways to incorporate more fruits into your diet. Personally, sometimes buying fruit that I know will spoil within a few weeks is motivation to eat it before it goes bad. Sounds crazy, but I do whatever works to get an adequate amount of fruit into my diet.
Depending on your appetite, vegetables may be your favorite or your least preferred type of food. Regardless, they are an important part to every diet. You don’t have to live off leaves and grass to stay healthy, but it is important not to avoid these foods because they are rich in vitamins and a great source of fiber. No, you no longer have your mom serving you daily vegetables, and yes, the dining hall is full of other tempting options; but do your body a favor and give it some daily vegetables. Anything from a colorful salad full of spinach, tomatoes, and carrots to a bowl full of raw veggies including cucumbers and broccoli will do the trick.
You Do Not Have to Run a Marathon- Staying physically fit is not about running 26.2 miles every day or even every week. It is about giving your body 30-40 minutes of physical activity a day. That can be walking around campus, playing sports with friends, utilizing your campus’s recreational center, or even doing pushups and sit-ups in your room. Whatever you do, just be moving for 30-40 minutes a day. Motivating yourself to exercise for at least a maintainable time per day is a step in the right direction for keeping those unwanted pounds from sticking. Even doing 50 pushups or sit-ups in your room in the morning is a great habit to begin. Following workout videos in your apartment or dorm room is an easy fix for working in some exercise on a rainy day or when you just do not feel like going to the gym. There are tons of ideas and ways to stay fit using things you already have at your house. The key is finding what you enjoy the most and using it to help you stay healthy. Remember the key is to make healthy eating and exercise a lifestyle, not just a crash diet only meant to lose or keep away the unwanted freshman 15.