Eating healthy may not seem like such a hard thing to do, but women struggle daily to avoid the tasty temptations that come with college life.
Danielle Wood, a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a slender girl who works hard daily to keep her figure. Fighting the temptations college life throws at her, Wood, like many other women her age, is learning the art of staying fit without loosing out on her college experience.
“I try eating healthy all day,” says Wood, “then little things such as snacking while I’m studying or drinking on the weekends messes it all up.”
College women in their twenties have it rough. They are pressured to staythin, but are surrounded by behaviors that will expand their waste lines rapidly. Drinking, late night binge eating, study snacks, and low budget eating causes college women to gain the freshman-fifteen, and then some.
Many women try to keep the weight off, but find it hard with their demanding schedules to eat properly.
Claire Norton, nutritionist to women with eating disorders at the Western Massachusetts Dietetic Association, has been working to improve womens health for many years.
Although she does not believe that age has a big factor in the foods one should eat, she does believe that a busy schedule can throw women off track.
“Many people default to eating at fast food restaurants and skipping breakfast because they do not plan their meals ahead of time,” Norton said, “It is important for women to plan their meals so that they do not resort to bad foods.” Students who have fifteen minutes in between their classes could easily pack a healthy turkey sandwich with an apple and some pretzels the night before. If you were to sit down on campus to eat your already packed meal, you would have more time to spare then if you were to run to the Hatch to get a burger.
Danielle Wood tries to pack a lunch for her busy Tuesday, Thursday schedule.
“I have class all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays and find it hard to breathe, let alone eat healthy. I have been packing yogurt in my bag to eat on the go lately, and see an improvement from the unhealthy snacks I used to munch on through out the day.”
Claire Norton also believes that exercise is key.
Although students are tied up with jobs, schoolwork and attempting to maintain a social life, it is imperative that they stick to a steady work out schedule. She recommends working out at least 4 times a week.
“It is more important that you work out steadily and sweat often as opposed to working out hard straight for three weeks and burning out.”
Danielle has made an improvement in her exercise when she swapped driving to class for walking. Her house rests right at the top of Orchard Hill giving her a productive walk to and from class.
Switching little habits such as driving to class to walking, taking escalators and elevators to taking stairs or even hitting the gym more often can help students shed the pounds they have gained.
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, in 2010 it was found that around 33 percent of women aged 20-39 are overweight. As people get older their likelihood to become overweight, or even obese, is greater. 37 percent of women aged 40-59 are overweight, while 45 percent of women 60 and over are as well.
Preventing obesity and the diseases that come with it is a life long commitment. Eating healthy is something that needs to be taught at a young age and followed through life.
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention has also reported that high-income women are less likely to be overweight than low-income women. This statistic should not discourage the hardworking student with two jobs however.
While it is easy for students on a low budget to indulge in the 99-cent meal at Taco Bell for dinner, there are ways to eat healthy on a low budget as well.
Keeping lettuce and other vegetables in the fridge for a salad is always an option. Adding turkey or grilled chicken to the salad makes it full of protein, which helps keep us fuller longer. Although it might cost more the initial time you purchase these items, they average about the same as a taco bell meal because they last a few days.
For more information on how to eat healthy, visit the University of Massachusetts Amherst Health Services.