How To Stay Healthy In College

How To Stay Healthy In College

Hey world, it is completely possible to avoid the freshman 15!
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Years ago when I was in high school, I struggled with living a healthy lifestyle. I was quite active, considering I was on the dance team at my high school and took ballet and hip hop out of school. Even though I was often exercising, I was eating awfully. I was eating pizza for dinner regularly and drinking soda to keep me awake through my late night dance classes. Although I was never considered "fat" and people would call me crazy for wanting to lose weight, I just wasn't comfortable in my own skin. As the years went on, I found small life style changes that completely changed my body and the way I live. I started working out, eating healthier, and being more positive about myself. As a sophomore in college, I can say it is strenuous to balance studying, fun, and working out but it is possible. Here are 5 small tips to help you stay on track with your health.

1. Drink up!

Water has plenty of benefits and keeps you hydrated. It is your best friend if you're trying to lose weight. It replaces your sugary, high calorie lattes and sodas for zero calories, fat, and carbs. We often mistake hunger for dehydration, drinking a glass of water will re-hydrate you and make you forget about that cupcake you grabbed to snack on. Drinking water can clear your skin and benefit your digestive system. It flushes out toxins and helps you digest food properly. If you can't stand the taste of plain water, you could try infused water. Add a couple lemons, cucumbers, or strawberries to your water bottle. (yum!)

2. Eat as clean as possible.

Dining halls can be a pain when your looking for healthy choices. For breakfast try to limit the bagels, lean towards the fruit bar or the yogurt bar and fill your bowl up. For lunch and dinner always look for protein, fresh veggies like broccoli and lean meats like chicken will keep you fuller for longer. Try to avoid late night eating in your dorm, those Doritos are doing more harm than good. Eating three small meals a day with snacks in between will keep you full without starving. (I steal the apples and bananas from my dining hall, perfect snack.)

3. Exercise.

For a person who likes being healthy, I hate exercising. Treadmills, ellipticals, and weights can get boring easily. I always suggest taking the stairs, you're burning calories while walking to class and giving your legs a pump at the same time. Even though I hate working out I still do it, having a good playlist can help boost your mood and motivation (as can new workout clothes). I recommend doing thirty minutes of cardio and some weight training three times a week to keep your body challenged and in shape. Working out can help you stay on track with eating right too because do you really want to spoil your hard work in the gym for a stale dining hall cookie? I didn't think so.

4. SLEEP!

Sleep is so important to our bodies and minds. The average adult needs between 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to function properly. To sleep better at night, maintain a consistent daily schedule. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time everyday. Try to avoid napping during the day as this could keep you up at night. Reducing your caffeine and food intake three hours before bed will help you fall asleep quicker. Sleeping in a dark and quiet room will also trick your body into sleep mode, so try to send your goodnight texts a little earlier. (Sorry, mom.)

5. Be positive.

Being happy and believing in yourself will make you want to be a better person. To change your habits into a healthy lifestyle you need to change your priorities. It's not easy and it doesn't happen overnight but it is doable. Start everyday off on a positive note to better yourself. Following these tips and making one small change a month will help you be a better you in no time.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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An Open Letter To Every Girl With A Big Heart, Except When It Comes To Herself

Because it's so much easier to love everyone around you before yourself.
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They say the key is that you have to "love yourself before you can love anyone else," or before "anyone can love you."

For those who deal with mass amounts of anxiety, or have many insecurities, that can be an extremely hard task. It seems much easier to tell your friend who is doubting herself that she looks great in that top than to look in the mirror and feel the same about yourself. It is much easier to tell your significant other that everything is going to be OK than to believe it will be when something goes wrong in your life. It becomes easier to create excuses for the ones around you than for yourself, and this is because you have such a big heart. You want those that you love to be happy and worry-free, yet you spend nights thinking about everything you have on your plate, about what you did wrong that day, fearing if someone in your life is mad at you, believing that you will never be good enough yet convincing everyone else that they are.

You are the girl with the biggest heart, yet you can't love yourself the way you care for everyone else in your life. There are many reasons that you should love yourself, though, and that's something that everyone around you is willing to tell you.

You're thoughtful.

Before doing anything, you always consider how it is going to affect those around you. You don't want to do anything that could hurt someone, or something that could make someone mad at you. It does not take much to make you happy, just seeing others happy does the job, and it is that simple. Because of this, you remember the little things. Meaningful dates, small details, and asking someone how their day was is important to you, and it makes those around you feel important too. You simply just want the people that you care about to be happy, and that is an amazing trait.

You're appreciative.

You don't need a big, fancy, and expensive date night to make you happy. Whether it's a picnic on the beach or a night in watching a movie, you're happy to just be with the person that you love. You appreciate every "good morning" text, and it truly does mean something when someone asks how you are. You tend to appreciate the person that you're with more than the things that they provide and for that, your sincerity will never go unnoticed.

You have a lot of love in your heart.

Every "I love you" has meant something, just as you remember the smallest moments that have meant the most to you. You remember the look in your significant other's eyes when they told you that for the first time. You remember the smile on your best friend's face when you told them that everything was going to be OK and that you would always be there. You remember the swell of happiness your parents felt when you decided to surprise them with a trip home one day, and you thrive off of all of that love.

You don't give up on the people you love, even if they have given you a reason to.

It is a foreign idea to just drop someone from your life, even if they betrayed you. You try to look at their mistake from every stance, not wanting to provide an excuse for them, but to give them another chance. Not everyone deserves it, and that is something that you learn along the way, but you feel good in the sense that you gave them a chance even if no one else would.

It's OK to not love yourself all the time. It's normal, and natural to stand in the mirror and think about everything wrong. And it's OK to love other people, even when you can't feel the same about yourself. But your big heart is why you should love yourself. There are so many reasons that you are a beautiful person, and the people that you spend all your time caring about feel that you have so much more to offer the world, and yourself.

So, next time you think about what you don't like about yourself, remember what makes you special –– the size of your heart and all of the love in it, and then share that love with yourself.

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Quarter's End

Reflection of winter quarter.

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As I walked through UW's quad today, finally liberated of the past impending finals stress, I felt like the college students propagated in films. Book in one hand, hydroflask in the other, I sat on a bench for several hours intently people watching, as clusters formed in large numbers sprawled on the green, waving blades of grass. The laughter poured ceaselessly in an echo chamber of joy, frisbees soaring in the sky and dogs basking in the radiant sun. While at my arrival sparse shade descended upon the cherry blossom trees, flower buds nearing bloom, and as time continued on, the darkness precipitated greater departures.

Several months ago it would have been slightly less pleasant in the same spot, decayed leaves fallen on the ground and chill air warding off the masses. I would have finished my first quarter of college, still completely unfamiliar of my surroundings and fearing the loss of precious time with little progression. I consider those months now to be a fundamental adjustment period to the daunting entity that is college.

With this last winter I have made new memories that have steadily taken the form of a string of polaroids on my wall, products of the experiences I had never encountered prior. The morning of my first snow I opened the curtain of my window to a bed of powdered white on the floor, emergent snowmen, some of which already defaced, meticulously crafted. My excitement for delayed midterms and endless snowball fights slowly dwindled as my overly ecstatic Californian self soon realized that schoolwork accumulated and snow was inherently capable of extreme wetness.

I attended classes that truly stretched my mental sanity in one way or another, struggling through the dynamic processes of electrochemistry and the defining humanism of communications. I grappled comprehending such a range of knowledge, but now have gained perspective of the intersection of the humanities and sciences.

Among the many encounters I have had with heightened emotions, some far too demanding and concentrated, I can genuinely say now with some inner contentment that college is something extraordinary in its makings. There is not a single second of the day that I associate with empty vacancy, as every fleeting moment serves some purpose to me. The few occasions I was able to just laze in my dorm room alone, reenergizing myself for the next task at hand, I exhaled and reflected on how much life could just go on.

With already two quarters completed now, I am going to make a more conscious effort to appreciate all that is college. A simple precursory glance today at a space of UW students jointly relieving themselves in the quad was everything I could have asked for in a school. It was a beautiful jagged agglomeration of the diverse feelings and experiences that take shape on campus, and my only hope is that these four years happen with immense deliberation.

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