Between all of the late night study sessions, dorm room parties, and lunches on the go, the college life doesn’t quite offer opportunities for healthy living- unless you’re an athlete or health studies major. This time of year, the time before finals, can be especially hazardous to your health when you cram your stomach with as much junk as you cram into your brain. Black coffee, sugary sweets, salty snacks, and even an ice cold beer (or two, or three) might be your daily cuisine as you not only process information for that test, but also process an overload of calories. Who has time for a trip to the salad bar when you have a test in the morning? Plus, sitting in the study lab for hours, being stagnant and immobile, doesn’t help your body any more than it helps your brain. To make it all worse, the pajama sweats that you practically live in have seemed to have shrunk. Odd, because you haven’t done your laundry in weeks! This way of living can only mean one thing- you’re becoming a victim to the Freshman 15.
The Freshman 15. Blah. Yes, that’s how it makes you feel. You already feel like you’ve gained weight because of all the text books you’re lugging around, but now, the weight is for real. You go home for the holidays and can’t fit any of your sexy summer clothes. And it’s only your first year! Does the weight just multiply every year? How could this happen to you? Why did your body turn on you?
You know the answer to that. No need to fill in the bubble for that one. You’re smart; you’re in college after all. It may seem that sacrificing your health for your grades may be the only way to pass the class, but no, you can still focus on your health AND your GPA. Eating healthier may even help you study and ace that exam. Need proof? While you’re researching for your paper, do some extra research about healthy eating in relation to test scores….Or, if you’re short on time, just try it out and you’ll see, the proof is in the pudding, I mean, the low-fat plain yogurt with granola and fresh fruit.
You don’t have to be a freshman to be worried about the 15. This can happen to anyone at any time of your life! Try these tips to forget about it!
- Eat brain food. If you want to remember what you’re studying, try eating blue fruits and vegetables. Studies show that blue foods can help increase your memory function. If you don’t have access to anything blue, or purple, pretty much any color of the rainbow is better than junk food. Make the switch and you’re not only feeding your body, but also your brain.
- Take an exercise break. If you’re boggled over that problem, don’t stress yourself out even more. Take a break and move your body! Personally, I like to turn on a favorite song and just dance my pants off, but you might just need to do some stretches or take a quick walk. You’ll come back to your work with your body and your brain feeling refreshed. With enough of these during the day, you’ll get your daily exercise in and burn off those calories.
- Don’t drink and study. There might be a phat party this weekend, but if you’ve got a test on Monday, don’t drink. Excessive drinking not only cuts into your study time, it also can make that beer belly grow. Gross.
- Eat before you study. Fill up your belly before your study session so you won’t be hungry. I’m guilty of snacking as a way of escapism from my studies. Read a chapter, eat a bag of chips. Read another chapter, devour a candy bar. At that point, you’re not eating for hunger, just to take a break. Keep the food at the dinner table and study far away from it!
- Snack smart. Try trail mix or whole wheat crackers. Fresh fruits and veggies are best, but if you need something for an all nighter, make a smart choice and you’ll be thankful.
- Eat a better breakfast. That leftover pizza won’t cut it. Give your body the fuel you need!
Some of us may not, or have not, experienced this phenomenon during our freshman year in college. For the lucky dames out there with high metabolisms, you may never even gain an ounce and eat pounds of junk. But not everyone is so lucky. Whoever you are, bottom line is to make smart choices in and outside of the classroom.
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