NinaJuan_picWhen starting college, there’s always a plethora of stereotypical stories we hear about the excitement that is freshman year. Before you know it, you’re in a new world full of changes; new people from different walks of life, rush week, events from clubs of all kinds, parties, sports, campus-life, and of course, keeping up your GPA. With all of these awesome, new things going on, it can be easy to find yourself facing the one problem that many girls learn may not be just a myth. You guessed it: the freshman fifteen.

With the pressure of having a social life, good grades, AND enough sleep, it seems nearly impossible to also maintain a healthy body and eating habits. After having gone through two years of dorming with campus food and two years of commuting from home, I have good news to all the girls trying to figure out where a “balanced” meal fits in between: it does, it’s possible, and you can do it!

Living on campus showed me (and my body) that some of my choices, though yummy and quick, were not always the best. The bright side is I also learned that just because something is not as healthy doesn’t mean eating it once in a while will “make you fat.” I also learned that the hardest part of sticking to a healthy meal-plan was changing my attitude towards “diets,” or as I now call them, lifestyles. Before you continue on, I will let you know this is where the “food” talk ends, and the “attitude” talk begins.

Healthy Living Apple IllustrationIf you’re anything like I was, you might feel you’ve lost control over your eating habits – snacking too much, skipping meals to make it to class on time, or the more-than-occasional ice cream at midnight. It is perfectly okay to “cheat” every now and then, but it is just as important to provide your body the nutrients it needs. With that, it is important to consider that you are in control of what goes into your body. That is a ton of power. And who gets power? People who can handle it! Keep this in mind when you feel you have lost control of your diet. Starting a healthy change can be difficult, but it is possible. The biggest part of making changes successfully begins with your attitude on how possible these changes are.

It can be hard to find people who will join you, or easy to find people who might urge you to break the commitment you made to your health. It can be hard to say no to a delicious offer or suggestion without feeling rude, or like you’re missing out. Something I found empowering to say rather than “I can’t eat that,” is “I don’t eat that.” It is almost inevitable they will ask, “Why not?” Saying can’t can make you feel that something is forcibly stopping you. Saying you don’t because you are sticking to a commitment to yourself and your health, not only shows dedication, but is a nice reminder that you really can do anything, and your diet is your choice. Which leads me to the final point – it is your body and you know it best. It’s okay to eat that pizza, and also okay to choose a salad instead. The most important thing is understanding what works best for you, and knowing that you are in control of that. Be confident, hold that attitude, and you’ll be surprised with how second nature it becomes.