How to Stay Healthy in College

Let's face it, the freshman fifteen is real. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying, not in college, or is a mutant with a ridiculous metabolism. While you may not gain so much as 15 pounds during your first year of college, you're definitely going to gain something.

With a lack of parental control over what you eat, insufficient funds to buy healthy food, and all of that drinking, it's pretty easy to pack on a few pounds in just two semesters.

When I was in high school, running seven days a week, I didn't think twice about my health or my weight. At some points I was running 35 to 40 miles each week, so I could really eat whatever I wanted and not gain any weight.

But now that I'm not running as much (I'm still doing it though!), I do have to be a little bit more mindful. And maybe you want to be too! I'm not perfect, but here are some of the things that I've been doing to stay healthy over the past two semesters:  

Eat breakfast // Seems obvious right? Well, some of us didn't actually start eating breakfast regularly until this year (hint: it's me). It's really easy to skip breakfast because of course we want to savor every minute of sleep we can possibly get. But in the long run it's better to wake up 20 minutes earlier instead of hitting snooze- you'll end up feeling more tired and groggy if you sleep in. Plus, by eating breakfast every morning, you're actually building up your metabolism, and you won't be hungrier later in the day.

Maybe you shouldn't be eating a full Scottish breakfast, though. 

Be choosy in the dining hall // The dining hall here is... not the best. In general, cafeterias are pretty hit or miss on the type of food they serve- some of it's healthy and some of it isn't. And while you can't control what the available options are, what you can control is what you choose, and, more importantly, how much you eat. When it's done buffet-style, it's quite easy to overload on all that comfort food. So you have to have some guidelines. For me, I try to avoid pasta when I can (especially with cream sauce), drink water with breakfast and dinner, and make sure the majority of my plate is made up of protein and vegetables. If you have rules for yourself (and know when to bend them...) having a healthy dining hall experience can actually be pretty easy.

This is actually my dining hall... definitely not my favorite place in the world.

Don't keep food in your room // I feel like it's very normal to keep snacks on hand in your dorm room in college- but I refuse to do it. If I had any food in my dorm room, I'd probably be eating it right now. Not because I'm hungry, but because I just really like to eat food, and will basically eat whatever's in front of me. Right now, all I can see on my shelf is tea and some chocolate from Christmas that I still haven't finished. This way, I'm completely avoiding my bad habit of eating just for fun or out of boredom.    

Make the most of youtube // Recently, I've been really getting into youtube videos that show you how to do 'mini-workouts.' When I have some time, or after I run, I'll always do a five to ten minute video targeting anything from my abs to my arms. It's a really great way of mixing it up. Need a place to start? I've been loving XHIT Daily and Blogilates!

This is one of my favorite ab workouts for when I'm short on time!

Walk everywhere // Easier said than done. I generally don't really have a choice in this matter, since Edinburgh is so walkable and the buses are probably slower than walking in certain areas. But no matter where you go to school, it's best to avoid driving, or even taking public transport all the time. It may be annoying, and you might have to leave for class earlier, but hey, walking's free!

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