Why, why, WHY, does everyone gain weight in college? WHY?! And I mean everyone. Even the skinniest of bi#$@es can't avoid it. Even I can't avoid it, speaking experientially.
Is it because of the drinking?
Is it because of the stress of classes and extracurriculars?
Is it because we're suddenly surrounded by people with different eating habits?
Is it because our schedules are unpredictable, so we just eat all day instead of having actual meals?
Is it because there are no "family dinners," which have been proven to aid in weight loss and healthy eating habits?
Is it because we're suddenly on our own and don't know how to cook and what to eat?
Is it because the only way colleges can get students to attend events is if there's "free food!"?
Is it a lack of education?
Is it a lack of motivation?
Is it a lack of money?
WHAT IS IT?
Well, let's be real. The reasons are probably different for everyone, and it's most likely a combination rather than just one thing.
I've deduced that (thesis alert) the reason everyone gains weight in college is because a wide variety of health-negative factors are concentrated in college life.
And this, my friends, is why I have this blog, as I am in college and have found myself repeatedly barraged with pressure to do unhealthy things. Let's figure out some simple ways to stay healthy in college:
- Carry healthy snacks with you at all times. Huh, what? What's that you say? But my backback is already full of hidden six-packs and laptops and textbooks! Well CLEAR OUT SOME SPACE because this is important, folks. When you go to those events (don't avoid the events just because there will be tables of junk food...), pull out an apple or a Kind bar and munch away. Just distracting your mouth will be enough, and focus on talking to people away from the snack tables instead of just gorging yourself. Some of my favorite snacks to carry: Kind bars (delicious), apples, clementines, Trail Mix, carrots, or Mary's Gone crackers (just made of nuts and seeds. Also delicious).
- Eat meals. Real meals. Three a day, or whatever works for you. I usually eat four a day, but that's because the time between lunch and dinner is really long (I mean, seriously? 6 hours?). Breakfast is super important, guys. It'll kickstart your metabolism and give you energy for the rest of the day. And no, coffee doesn't count as breakfast. Try to get some healthy fats, whole grains, and fruits/veggies at every meal. It doesn't have to be gourmet, people. A peanut butter sandwich and an apple will pretty much do it for you, and it'll keep you full for HOURS.
- Ignore everyone else. Seriously, this is the best tip for most things in life. When your roommate pulls out a bar of chocolate-covered bacon (true story)... turn the other cheek. When your best friend orders a full pizza at 2 a.m., go to bed. Leave the room. When your (definitely sober) friends are all, "DUDE LET'S HIT UP JIMMY JOHN'S. LET'S DO IT" at 4 in the morning, suggest an alternative or GTFO of there. This is the one time when it's okay (in my opinion) to be rude. Just. Leave. Because you know if you're sitting there obsessing, you'll end up having a slice (or ten) and lose all confidence in your ability to remain health-conscious. But if you leave, you can listen to music or meditate or journal, and MAN will you feel better in the morning.
- Drink... in moderation. Okay, let's just get it out in the open: college kids like to drink. What?! You don't say! Good grief, all my beliefs have just been shattered! No. It's true. It's very, very true. But here's the thing: the most fun part of drinking (Mom and Dad... this is NOT from experience...) is not the actual "being drunk" part. It's the "pretending to be drunk and laughing at everyone else stumbling around" part. No, seriously. So I'm not saying you have to sit alone in your room and avoid parties because OH NO, ALCOHOL WILL BE THERE! ALCOHOL HAS CALORIES! No, no, no. Live your lives, people. But try this next time you go to a party... Have a drink. One drink. Sip it. Nurse it. TASTE it, for goodness' sake. You can still dance around like an idiot. You can still hug and kiss all your acquaintances like you're best friends. You can still have bathroom heart-to-hearts with your best friends. But the difference is... you'll remember it all, and you won't feel like you're exiting a coma when you wake up the next morning.
- Get off your tush. I know, this is really general and slightly cliche, but hear me out: you don't absolutely have to "work out" every day (or even at all) to be "healthy." Health is a grand sum of all the activity you do and all the foods you put into your body. So, if you take the stairs (even a floor or two before getting on the elevator), walk instead of riding the bus, stand at the counter instead of sitting with your laptop, tap your feet during class... I'm serious, guys. These things add up. You could avoid that horrible "wake up at 6 a.m. to run" thing by just remaining a little more active throughout the day. You'll feel better, too.
So, hear me out: I'm not a professional. I'm not perfect (oh lawd, I'm not). These are things I have to think about all the time, and to be honest, I fail almost daily (mostly because of dark chocolate. Thanks a lot, dark chocolate).
Just be mindful, okay? College is a great time to be all "YOLO! Let's do whatever we want with no consequences! Let's throw caution to the wind and just LIVE!" but do keep in mind, you'll have to face the effects of those decisions at some point.
So the word of the day is... moderation, moderation, moderation.
Live your lives, people, but do it with a little bit of mindfulness.