Health and Wellness in College

Eating healthy, exercising and maintaining positive habits in college aren’t always easy. Most college students are always on the go, not prepping for the week, eating because of stress and/or anxiety and pulling all-nighters. Though some things are out of our control, most things can be managed with proper preparation and education. One of the biggest steps we can take toward educating ourselves is to re-evaluate common health and fitness myths we have heard all our lives. So, keep reading as we debunk myths that can help make life easier in college and even long term:

The first myth every student has heard from a parent or teacher is “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” The word breakfast means to “break the fast” after sleeping for 7-8 hours. To “fast” means to go without any food for a certain period of time, and studies show this can actually be beneficial. One practical method is called “Intermittent Fasting.” The benefits of doing this include increased fat-burning, convenience of not worrying about breakfast and reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The next myth is “if I lift weights, I will get bulky and muscular like a man.” Though mostly women who believe this myth, it is actually recommended that women “train like a man” by incorporating strength-training into their routine. Strength-training with weights has benefits including increased calorie-burning for 24-48 hours, better posture, pain relief and increased confidence.

The last myth that has been hammered into our brains is “you shouldn’t eat past 8pm.” Usually carbs are to blame here because that’s the food of choice for most to binge at night. What packs on the fat is not eating past a certain time, but rather the amount of calories we consume in a full day. This has to do with calorie/energy in vs. calories out (burned).

So, what is a calorie? A calorie is a unit of energy. What you eat and drink is energy in. What you burn through daily physical activity is energy out. The amount of calories you need to consume depends on activity levels, size, age, and sex. Watch your food intake! Substitute unhealthy options for healthier versions.

Examples: Instead of fruit snack candies, try an actual fruit; instead of milk chocolate, go for dark chocolate; instead of white bread, try whole wheat bread; next is to eat whole foods. Stay away from processed foods that are usually pre-packaged. Try lean meats, grass-fed beef, legumes, sweet potatoes. Organic and hormone free is even better, if possible! Always read the food labels and ingredients to make sure you know what you are putting in your body. If there are more than three ingredients you can’t pronounce, it’s most likely processed in a factory. Some ingredients to avoid are High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, Palm oil, white flour, artificial sweeteners, and hydrogenated oils.