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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Colgate chapter.

It’s safe to say that in my freshman year of college, I was not the poster child of being healthy. I have always been active and a pretty healthy eater, but as soon as I walked into Frank Dining Hall my clean eating habits absolutely vanished. My motto? Ice cream and baked goods had to be eaten with every meal. Most days I was eating upwards of ten cups of ice cream (sadly, I am not exaggerating). Needless to say, I gained the Freshman Fifteen (errrrrrr twenty-five…) and was not feeling too great about myself. Feeling hopeless, I stopped going to the gym as much and felt as though I was never going to be my fit self again.

When I headed home for the summer, I realized that my habits needed to change for me to be able to be the best version of myself, and to feel my best while doing it. So, I set some goals and guidelines for myself that I was hoping to follow during the summer to get back to being my best self.  Here are some steps I took to ditch my unhealthy habits and create new habits that would last as I entered this new school year.

Start small: create a realistic goal

It’s not like I hadn’t realized my habits were healthy during the year, it’s just that when I tried to change them I was being too drastic and unrealistic.  The truth is, most people can’t just go cold turkey on desserts or fast food. There’s a good chance that if you try to do that, it won’t last long term. Being aware of this, I created change in increments. Instead of eating 10 cookies, I tried eating one or two, and by the end of the summer I had stopped eating them entirely. In fact, I actually reached the point where I didn’t even care for them anymore. As far as the gym, start at a low intensity and increase this intensity and volume day by day.  

Don’t give up when you aren’t seeing results

It took a little over a month until I started seeing changes and truly feeling different.  In that first month, it was very hard to continue putting in the work when I felt like nothing was happening at all.  This is why it’s so important to stick with it and stay mentally tough. Trust the process!

Don’t beat yourself up over one misstep

There are going to be times you miss a day in the gym or go a little crazy on the fries… this is all part of it!  Look at how far you’ve come and remember that a little misstep is not going to ruin all of the hardwork that you’ve put in.

Ask for help!

I had it all down in the summer and was living a healthy lifestyle, but I was terrified for when I would come back to school and be faced with the cookies and cakes that stare me in the eyes right when I enter Frank. I was worried I would spiral down the same path I had last year, and would land right back where I was at the start of the summer. In these moments, I looked to friends who I knew could hold me accountable and support my goals. My friends are there to help me stay on track and walk out of Frank instead of walking towards the dessert table.

Have a written out plan

When I would go to the gym last year and have absolutely no idea what I was actually doing there, it would be very hard to find motivation or to even stay at the gym.  This year, I started writing out my lifting and running plan for the week and this makes it so much easier to stay on track and achieve my goals.

Remember to enjoy life

While it is great to eat healthy and go to the gym, if you’re absolutely miserable with when doing so, there’s no point! Doing these things should make you feel good, but if you hate every second of it, you might need to scale it back a bit. Everything in moderation… even healthy eating and working out!

I hope that this makes sticking to a healthy lifestyle seem a little bit easier and maintainable.  It is completely possible to find healthy options in the dining hall and to make time for yourself in the day to go to the gym.  Make yourself a priority!


Courtney Day

Colgate '22

Courtney Day is the Campus Correspondent for the Colgate University chapter of Her Campus. She is an English major, minoring in both Political Science and Writing & Rhetoric, and is a member of the Women's Varsity Lacrosse team.