4 Tips For A Healthier You In College

Everyone talks about the Freshman Fifteen, so much that you get paranoid about it. But that’s not a healthy way to think about eating either.

Your freshman year isn’t going to be a trap of fatty foods, sitting on your butt, and gaining weight. At least, it doesn’t have to be…

For me, my freshman year is when I started to work out for the first time ever. I used to play basketball when I was young, did cross country for a year in middle school, and tried to hike the trails at the local parks. I was not good at it. I hated it. Being sweaty, hurting, being unable to breathe were all just unpleasant parts of life that I didn’t want anything to do with. I would much rather be reading a book, playing video games, or spending time with my friends.

The issue with this is that I also love eating, especially sweets. I have never been a picky eater and tend to consume chocolate daily. Of course, I was concerned when I started thinking about college and the looming threat of the Freshman Fifteen. Instead of gaining weight, though, I’ve lost it. I’ve continually gone to the gym, learned about nutrition, and worked on gaining muscle. I still eat chocolate and love to bake, even more so than when I was in high school. Yet I learned how to balance. It’s all a matter of balance.

Here are my tips to keep you balanced in that first year (and hopefully they’ll carry on after that):

  1. Try out the Gym  I know it sounds scary. I was really intimidated when I first went and I hear a lot of girls talk about being embarrassed or nervous. But most schools include a gym fee in your tuition and fees, so you might as well use it. Consider the fact that you’re paying for it and you want to get your money out of it. If that doesn’t motivate you, grab a friend. I only went when I could find someone to go with me at first. They also offered classes such as “Hip Hop Dance” and “Crunch Class” that were appealing to a variety of people, so we went together.
  2. Make a Routine  Spare time between class? Don’t know what to do at night? Go to the gym. Set aside time for it each week. If not the gym, then do things outside that are active. There are lots of campuses with great places to run, hike, bike ride, roller-skate, or anything. Any way you can get out and be active give it a try. If you make it social then you can have a “thing” with someone that you do each week. It’ll help strength your friendship and those calf muscles.
  3. Look at Nutrition Labels   They’re weird and in tiny print on the sides or bottoms of boxes. Most companies just put them because they have to, but you should take advantage of them. Check out what a serving is. If one of those granola bars is 3 servings, there’s something wrong there. The most important aspects to look at are not only calories, but serving size, sodium, sugars and fat content. Be sure to keep an eye out for those good nutrients too (like vitamin C, fiber, protein, calcium and iron).
  4. Learn More   You are in college, that’s what it’s there for. Take advantage of those liberal arts requirements. I took Women’s Health for my science, where I learned about reproductive health, nutrition, and diseases. There are nutrition classes and strength training classes that might count for credit. You can always take classes at the gym as well. Learn yoga, kickboxing, Zumba, water aerobics, racquetball, or whatever else sparks your interest.

The main point is to be healthy and keep going.

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Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich is a senior creative writing major at DePaul University. She is minoring in journalism and aspires to be the next big food writer. Her love of writing propels all she does from her food blog to online magazine articles. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably baking. She has a ferocious sweet tooth and adores cupcakes of all shapes and sizes.

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