Avoid the dreaded freshman 15
Everyone says to watch out for the “freshman 15,” the number of pounds you’re supposed to gain during the first year of college. However, during my freshmen year of college, I lost 10 pounds.
Mind you, I’ve always been a healthy size for my 5-foot-3-inch-tall self although I could always benefit from an extra mile around the track or a few more sit-ups. And by “a few more,” I mean doing any formal exercise at all. Working out has never been a true part of my daily routine, but I was able to keep trim by the food I ate and the amount of walking and salsa dancing I did in high school. Lucky for me my two best friends were from Cuba and Peru, and our version of a fun Saturday night was going to a salsa club and dancing until our feet hurt.
During the last few years of high school, I was slowing making the transition from being mindful of the food I consumed to eating mostly organic to going full-on pescetarian. I say “pescatarian” instead of “vegetarian” because I did eat the occasional tuna sandwich.
When I came to Texas State and moved into my dorm, I was given a meal plan with money I could only use at campus dinning halls. Most students loved this idea. They had freedom to buy all the food they wanted to without Mommy or Daddy telling them to not eat pizza for every meal or to cut back on the ice cream from Jones.
For me, however, life with meal trades was not as grand. Every meal offered in the dinning halls seemed to include meat. Meat, meat, meat. There was almost no escaping it. So during my first year of college I survived on a diet of salads, veggie wraps, pasta and the occasional cheese pizza (when there wasn’t an ungodly amount of grease on top that a napkin couldn’t absorb).
This diet was paired with copious amounts of coffee (my one and only addiction) and walking everywhere a thousand miles a day (because I did not have a car and the Texas State campus stretches across 486 acres on a hill). As a result, I trimmed down as I watched some of my fellow classmates expand - to put it nicely.
I don’t relay this story to sound mean or stuck-up. I say it to make the point that limiting yourself to certain foods and being physically active, despite the environment you may be placed in, will keep you fit.
Moral of the story: just because you may be a college freshman does not mean you have to gain the customary “freshman 15.”
To close out this post, I’d like to include some helpful tips and tricks I’ve learned to put you on the path to eating right.
- Drink water
I don’t know how many times my mom has called me to remind me of this. Drinking water not only helps you stay hydrated but also aids you in retaining less water weight from salty foods. If you don’t want to feel bloated after your hamburger and salty fries, then drink more water.
Adding lemon and cucumber to water is also a refreshing way to hydrate. Lemon helps stimulate the digestive tract and has natural antioxidants that boost the immune system. Cucumbers help fight inflammation, which is why we put them on our eyes at the spa to de-puff. They also contain antioxidant properties and support digestive health. Also, cucumber and lemon water just tastes really good. Skip the soda and drink water!
- If you can’t drink water, drink coffee!
Caffeine is a natural stimulant. As such, coffee is a natural metabolism booster, which increases fat burning. Caffeine can also improve brain function, mood and energy level. Don’t take this advice and think, “Great! Now I have an excuse to go order a Trenta double chocolate chip extra whip Frappuccino at Starbucks.” No. That is not coffee. That’s a sugary, fattening nightmare, which may or may not induce diabetes. I suggest drinking organic, fair trade, locally roasted coffee if you can. Drink it black or add a little milk (almond or cow) for flavor. You’re in college now. Coffee will soon be a life source.
- Everything in moderation
This is a good tip for life in general, but it also applies well when talking about food. In reality, you could eat anything as long as it is in moderation. Don’t think that eating healthy means quinoa and kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Although, if cooked well, quinoa and kale can be really delicious.) You can have your chocolate cake and eat it too as long as it’s in moderation. Don’t go crazy. Eat one slice. Once in a while, order a side of fries with your salad.
But know how to eat in small portions. Human stomachs are the size of our fists, so eating a burger the size of your face probably isn’t a good idea. Eating small meals every few hours will stave off your hunger and keep up your metabolism, which will give you energy and make you feel happy.
Eating clean is also important. Moderate the amount of fast food as well as processed and artificial food you eat. If it doesn’t expire until 2017 or is bright red in color, it probably wasn’t fresh in this lifetime and won’t help you feel refreshed after you eat it. Find fresh alternatives: carrots instead of chips, oranges instead of candy. Once you begin replacing artificial things with healthier foods, your body will feel the difference and thank you for it.
Stay healthy and happy!
Follow Nicole Barrios on Twitter @NBBarrios
Welcome to How to Healthy
Everyone eats. Everyone needs food to survive. Everyone likes good food. But is your “good” food good for you?
Sure, you may be eating food you think is great. Food that tastes good, smells good, food you crave when you’re starving in your 12:30 p.m. lecture wishing you hadn’t scheduled back-to-back classes and made time for lunch. But just because food tastes good doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
As college students, we’re all too familiar with those cheap junk food urges, late night cravings and pizza binges. However, as growing adults we need to start paying more attention to how we treat our bodies and the environment around us.
By this point I know what you’re thinking, “Who’s this hippy girl preaching to me about so-called ‘healthy living?’” Yes, I believe in eating organically and locally. Yes, I’m a vegetarian. Yes, I try to use natural remedies and household solutions as much as possible. And yes, I’m from Austin. Yet, I’m also your average college student living on an extremely tight budget trying to be healthy while making the most of my money.
I want to provide insight and advice for college students like myself looking to live naturally and eat healthy. The goal of this blog is to be a fun resource for wholesome recipes, natural and cost-effective household remedies and useful insight into living a nutritious life as a college student.
This is my last semester as an undergrad at Texas State. I’ve survived all four years as a vegetarian eating local and organic food any chance I can get. I did it, so you can too. I know this lifestyle isn’t for everyone and there will always be those nights where I put aside my conscience and eat a greasy cheese pizza with a root beer soda. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up every junk food you love. Everything in moderation. And honestly, after a few nights of salty junk food or sweets, my body can tell a difference. I start to break out. I feel tired and bloated and just plain gross. It’s at that point that my body reminds me why I love eating nutritiously to begin with—because you will feel so much better! Once you stop eating junk food, limit the amount of chemicals used in your home and start being aware of the little things that aren’t good for you, then you’ll realize how much better it feels to live a healthy life.
So welcome to my blog. I’m glad you stopped by! I hope to share some insight and help make your life a little better by the things you’ll learn here.
Stay healthy and happy!