Five Small Changes to Be Healthier

All summer I told myself that there was no way I was going to gain the dreaded "Freshman 15." I knew what I should be eating and from training for high school sports, I thought I knew enough to keep myself in shape. However, once I arrived at Georgetown I realized that the true challenge isn’t figuring out what is good or bad for me, but actually doing it. For the first week or two, I kept finding excuses for not going to Yates. I was busy adjusting, I had a lot of work to do, I didn’t have a workout buddy to go with, I wanted to socialize instead. All of which are valid but are just excuses, not legitimate reasons for not going because I could easily have fit in a 30-minute workout every morning or night.

Once club field hockey practices started, I would rationalize not going to Yates by saying I had practice twice a week when that was not enough to counteract how I was eating. My friends on my floor would order Insomnia Cookies or we would walk to Baked and Wired for cupcakes... and all those vanilla chai lattes were adding up. Not to mention, the dining hall options aren’t exactly the best for your health. The vast majority of the options are unhealthy and even the ‘healthier’ options can be highly caloric while the variety of fresh produce (or lack thereof) leaves a lot to be desired. It took about a month for me to step back and evaluate my decision making when it came to my health. I looked at my options dining wise and realized that it was not going to be possible to eat exactly how I wanted with the limited options and without the ability to make my own meals ,so I had to make small changes and compromise and within a week of changing just my diet every so slightly, I felt better.

  1. Drink water instead of soda. At home, I never really drank soda because it wasn’t available. My family never kept it at home so I never drank it unless I bought it. Here, soda is just as accessible as water so I found myself getting a drink with every meal. Just getting water instead is an easy change.

  2. Have a solid breakfast. I get an omelet from Leo’s with tomatoes and peppers for breakfast and having that before classes stops me from grabbing convenient snacks that aren’t always as nutritious or filling. I also try to keep fruit and oatmeal in my room to make instead of getting the sugary pastries which taste good but aren’t healthy.

  3. At the end of a stressful, busy day I just want to watch Netflix and decompress so the thought of going to Yates seems extremely unappealing. Instead, you can do exercises while you binge-watch. There are plenty of TV marathon challenges online where you do a 30-second plank every time someone dies on Grey’s Anatomy or 10 lunges every time Chandler says something sarcastic on Friends. Some of these workouts don’t even require equipment so you can do them from the comfort of your own place. There is also an app I downloaded called “Workout for Women” that has a variety of workouts for different time frames, target areas, and goals to help me work out because sometimes it can be so overwhelming to figure out how to work out that I just don’t.

  4. Don’t mindlessly snack. I’m so guilty of just reaching for a snack to eat while I work and ending up finishing a bag of chips in one sitting. I found that not keeping those junky snacks in my room or at least not near my desk prevented me from doing that as much, since once I was focused, I wouldn’t break my concentration to go get a snack I didn’t really want anyway, it was just something I did unconsciously. Thinking about what I was eating and why (was I actually hungry or just craving chocolate?) has also made a huge difference for me.

  5. Lastly, realizing that having Ben and Jerry’s or a 2 am quesadilla from Epi is not a reason to just give up on eating healthy all together was a tiny but mighty change. Before, once I broke my healthy-eating streak I would just give up until my next wave of fitspo hit but now, by allowing myself to be a human and college student with late-nights and limited options, I stay on track even when I have a day where I have no willpower and go straight for the curly fries at Leo’s.