An Attempt to be Healthy
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 5:15 p.m.
The college student is truly a unique animal. We have our own way of doing things that neither our parents, high-school friends, nor anyone else can truly understand. It seems that the moment we enter our freshman year we are determined to turn our schedules completely backwards and throw away all the good habits our parents attempted to instill in us. Sayings such as “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” are soon replaced with the routine 2 a.m. call of, “just order a five star.” We go against nature and become nocturnal on the weekends. To us, sleeping all-day and staying up all night seems perfectly normal. In fact, it’s hardly fathomable that in high school anyone woke before 6 o’clock a.m. to go to class because well, now, anything before 10 a.m. is just too early.
Steer clear of bad habits, Improve your life!
Problem 1: The “magically appearing” frehshman 15
Solution 1: No more midnight snacking unless it’s a healthy snack. Eat a full nutritious breakfast so you wont be temped to eat unhealthy snacks.
Problem 2: Tired groggy in class, can not pay attention
Solution 2: Power naps work miracles, also physical activity. If you’re feeling sleeping while studying, physical activities will wake you up. If you’re in the library, try run up and down the stairs a few times to wake yourself up. Also ask yourself if you ate a decent breakfast.
Problem 3: No time to make healthy food
Solution 3: Smoothies are very quick, easy and nutritious. Just pre-cut and freeze the fruit!
Problem 4: You're getting sick a lot
Solution 4: It might be because you're not getting enough sleep and you're immune system is suffering. Also try the One Day Vitamins to help stay healthy
Of course though, there will always be those determined souls who manage to steer clear of Easy Mac and Ramen Noodles or still follow the “early to bed, early to rise” routine.
However, it is safe to say upon entering college, most college students do change their eating and sleeping patterns to some degree. While this is of course expected to a point, it is easy to quickly develop bad habits within the first few months that could turn out to haunt you for the next few years, either as extra pounds or as poor performance in class.
Almost every college student has heard of or is currently retaining the dreaded “freshman 15.” The reason for this extra poundage is not rocket science; it’s a result of increased stress and a sedentary schedule. When students are stressed they are less likely to have a structured eating pattern. One common bad habit that students develop is consistently skipping breakfast to gain a few more minutes of sleep. Students that don’t eat a nutritional breakfast have less energy and thus may not perform as well in class.
“I find it harder to concentrate when my stomach is grumbling and I also get a headache," says junior Shannon Griffin.
Also, people who skip breakfast to avoid the calories may actually be hurting themselves in the end. Skipping breakfast makes you hungrier and results in stronger cravings. As a result, when you finally do sit down, you are more likely to overeat. To help turn this bad habit around, students could wake up a few minutes earlier and eat a quick breakfast such as cereal or buy healthy “to-go” breakfast items, such as granola bars or fruit. Another nutritious and easy “to-go” breakfast is a smoothie. Just pre-cut and freeze the fruit beforehand in small portioned baggies so that all you have to do is pull it out of the freezer, throw it into the blender with a bit of milk or low-fat yogurt and a splenda. If you think blenders are too messy and bulky, consider purchasing a Magic Bullet. It’s a one-cup blender that fits great in the dorm room. Still need another incentive for eating breakfast? Besides not having to deal with annoying stomach grumbling, eating breakfast starts up your metabolism, helping you to stay in shape.
Another bad habit students are prone to develop is the late night snack attack. During all nighters, students’ brains are usually not the only things being filled up. As a result, mindless snacking is a big problem for students because binge foods are usually high in calories. Also, when the studying and snacking are finally finished, most students go straight to bed without burning off the extra calories. Unfortunately though, as long as there are midterms and finals, students will continue snacking. Luckily though, there are simple ways to mitigate this problem. Try replacing your snacking foods with more healthy alternatives that are just as quick and equally satisfying. Grapes and cherries are two great fruits to snack on while studying as well as blueberries, which are low in calories and high in antioxidants. Also, Edamame or soy beans, found in the frozen food section, only take a couple minutes to cook and are not only healthy, but delicious with a sprinkle of salt. If you crave something crunchy or salty, try honey sweetened rice cakes, skinny chips, or low-fat popcorn- all healthier alternatives to greasy potato chips. If you are of southern origin you might even like pork rinds, which may sound fattening but are surprisingly low in carbohydrates. Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are great snacking foods and are even listed as some of the healthiest nuts and seeds in the world.
Lastly, upon entering college, freshmans’ time is quickly devoured by harder classes, tests, clubs, intramurals, social, sororities, fraternities and of course- partying. This leaves little time for one of the most important things of all- sleep! While everyone is unique in how much sleep they need, teenagers generally need around eight or nine hours. Not getting the proper amount of sleep can drastically affect how you function when you are awake. Research has shown that too little sleep worsens the body’s ability to fight off infection, making you more likely to catch a cold. Are you one to stay up all night studying for a test the next morning? If you are, know that not only will you be drowsy during your test but you are missing out on essential deep sleep time. During deep sleep your body reviews and memorizes what you were studying, making you retain the information better when you wake up. Before an exam or test, it is suggested that students sleep at least six hours so that they can properly encode and retain new information into the memory. However, if there is no way for you to sleep a whole night, try finding time for a power nap. While six to eight hours is best, short naps can help prevent what is called a “learning burnout.”
Eating right, and actually finding time to sleep is essential to balancing a demanding college schedule. Before you completely throw out every healthy lesson your parents or teachers taught you, consider your goals and how much easier they would be to reach if your mind was alert and your stomach not growling. Think about how much more you would remember in class if you were not counting down the minutes until you could take a nap. Remember that the seductive call of french-fries, Chick-fil-a and chocolate ice cream is a lot easier to resist if you have had a decent breakfast. Lastly, accept the fact that if you really want to be healthy, wealthy and wise- you are going to have to get more than two and a half hours of sleep.
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