{February 29, 2012}   Check this out!

Check out this post by Fit Food Junkie! There’s some excellent advice in here, as well as a quick, healthy recipe to try out: Make it Count!.


{February 29, 2012}   Campus Food Will Be My Downfall

The worst news for any college student on a diet is that break is over and school is in session once again. This means late night snacking, trips with friends to fast food restaurants and, possibly worst of all, campus food. All the fried food served in dining halls spells disaster for the health-concious eater. But what many students don’t realize is that campus food isn’t necessarily the cause of our diet troubles. There are many options at the dining hall, yet many of us find only enough room on our plates for fries and pasta. And maybe some ice cream for dessert. There’s most likely a salad bar or fresh fruit somewhere in the hall if you look hard enough. Instead of blaming the dining hall as you reach for a donut, think about the choices you’re making for your body. You have the power to choose what will fit your diet and fill your stomach. Armed with the right resources and knowledge of what’s good for you and what’s not, you only need self-control to make your diet a success. So the next time you make a trip to the dining hall and wander aimlessly wondering what to get, remember there are healthy options for you. You just have to know where to look and empower yourself to make good choices.

{February 27, 2012}   Tips for Eating Right

It’s hard enough picking out food without worrying about calories, but once you factor a diet into the equation, things tend to get even more difficult. Unsurprisingly, the best way to diet healthy is to read the nutrition facts before you buy. After a while, it will become habit and you’ll find yourself opting for healthier foods all the time. But for those of us who need a bit of help figuring out what should go in the cart, there is hope

1. Fruits and vegetables are always a great snack. Apples, for example, are a filling source of fiber, and won’t give you too many calories.

2. Pick up some mushrooms for recipes you would normally cook with meat. They fill you up as if you’re eating meat, but won’t add to your waistline.

3. Buy some cereal for a low-calorie nutritious snack to curb your appetite throughout the day. 

4. Invest in a low-calorie salad dressing. Don’t buy dressing just because it boasts “low fat” on the label; keep a closer eye on the calorie count.

5. Pick up some eggs while you’re out. Studies show that eating eggs for breakfast makes you feel full longer, and has a nice amount of protein and fiber as well. There has been quite a bit of debate over the egg yolk. Some say it should be avoided because of its cholesterol content, and others say that the yolk contains valuable nutrients needed for a healthy diet. I did a bit of research of my own, and found that most people recommend eating yolks, just in moderation.

With the right foods, eating healthy can be easier than you expect.

{February 24, 2012}   The Old College Try

This past Monday I went to the gym alone, as I always do on Mondays. I hadn’t been to the gym for the past two days (I always take Saturday and Sunday off), and I most certainly felt the time away. The elliptical felt 10 times harder than usual, and I had very little motivation to work on my crunches and other ab exercises. It was, in no uncertain terms, a fail. But I stuck it out until I was done, sweating and panting all the way. And the next day, my workout was that much easier. So here’s what I’m getting at: the more you go, the more you push yourself, the easier your workouts will become. If you give yourself a reason to quit, the next day will prove even easier to give up and go home, and eventually you’ll stop working out altogether. It’s very important to stick to your routine and turn that workout schedule into habit. A couple of weeks after I started working out, I became frustrated with the lack of visible results. This is a common problem for people trying to lose weight : If I don’t look better, why stick with it? But the only way to see a change, is to make that change happen. Be your own motivation. And remember, being healthy is not just a diet or a workout routine: It’s a way of life.

{February 22, 2012}   The Joys and Evils of Fast Food

Perhaps one of the easiest slip-ups of any diet is that 5-minute trip to the local fast food joint. It’s a simple, easy way to get off track and lose your motivation. Fast food restaurants offer all the foods we love at tantalizing prices,practically begging for our patronage. But when you’re trying to eat healthy or lose weight, those same restaurants become a guilty pleasure we find hard to resist. For most people, stopping for a quick burger is a cheap way to get some sustenance during a hectic day. But believe me: there are easier, healthier ways to satisfy your hunger. If you’re going to be on the run, try packing a healthy snack to eat wherever your travels take you. Eating healthy meals and snacks will make you feel more awake and energetic, and won’t slow you down like greasy fast food. Also, remember not to get caught up in calorie count. Nutritious living is about what’s IN your food (fiber, protein, calcium, etc.), and how it’s good or bad for you. So when you’re preparing snacks based upon recipes, try to aim for foods that will nourish your body as well as your hunger. Your body needs nutrients (and yes, carbohydrates) to survive, so don’t deprive yourself of food for the sake of a diet. Instead, make smart choices that fill you up, without ruining your day.

{February 20, 2012}   Working out…the smart way

When most of us work out after being away from the gym for a while, we feel invincible. Stepping onto that eliptical, we feel motivated and ready to take on a new year of health and fitness. But about a minute into the workout, all that gung ho spirit seems to disappear with our energy. So when you’re working out for the first time, or even for the first time in a few weeks, remember to take it slow. Your body isn’t going to be used to such exertion, and taking your first few workouts too far can lead to pulled muscles and a lot of frustration. Perhaps the most important thing to do before starting any workout routine, is to make sure you know what you’re doing. Playing the guessing game when it comes to your workouts is never smart or healthy. Do your research and find out which workout routine will fit your body and lifestyle. Build up to a workout schedule you know you can stick to, and write down which days and times you plan on going. If you make it a priority, you will find time to do it. Know your body and its limits. It’s good to push yourself, but remember the goal is to make yourself fit, not run yourself into the ground. Instead of looking at working out as a temporary chore, make it a part of your weekly schedule.

And while you have healthy living on your mind, check out this video offering a quick, healthy snack option.

{February 15, 2012}   Making the right choices

Eating healthy does not have to mean removing everything but green vegetables from your diet. It means making the right choices to keep your weight in check and your overall health at its best. Here are a few tips to make the transition to healthy eating a bit easier: Firstly, try to replace soda and juice with water, which will quench your thirst without packing on the calories. Juice may seem like a healthy option, but it’s very high in calories and sugar, so be careful. As college students, it may be hard to limit your alcohol intake, but just that simple change can make a huge difference in the amount of calories you consume in a given week. Sweets are something many of us simply cannot live without. To satisfy that craving, reach for an apple or orange instead. For a healthy midday sweet treat, try a yogurt. Many of us are tempted to eat when we see others eating, but remember: only eat if you’re hungry. College is home to snackers, me included. When you’re doing homework, it’s all too easy to reach for a bag of chips to get you through. But trust me: your eyes will always be hungrier than your stomach. If you really are hungry and want to stave off some calories, try drinking hot tea. Hot liquids are filling and, while it won’t fill you up completely, it will hold you over until your next meal. With the right choices, you can make healthy eating a way of life.

{February 14, 2012}   Seeing the real you

Everyone has insecurities. Each day we scrutinize ourselves, trying desperately to determine what’s wrong with our appearances and how that inherent flaw can be corrected. I’m no exception. Every time I pass the mirror I catch myself quickly examining the image in front of me. Do I look fat? Is my hair out of place? Oftentimes, in our zeal to point out our negative qualities, we lose sight of what makes us unique. Dieting can be dangerous because it can make us go overboard in our quests for “the perfect body.” Dr. Jamie Fenton, Psychologist and Coordinator of Eating Disorder Services at Towson University’s Counseling Center, says “Many people begin diets because they have a poor body image. They strive to lose weight as a method of feeling better about themselves and their bodies, operating under what we call the fantasy of thinness-that one’s life will be perfect at a low weight or thin body.” Dr. Fenton also stresses that not only is dieting normally ineffective (“95% of dieters regain the weight and more within one to five years”) but it is also extremely dangerous, as it can lead to eating disorders. Being healthy means making the right choices on a day-to-day permanent basis. Instead of crash diets and weight loss pills, try making healthy choices every day. Work out as a part of your weekly routine. And most importantly, learn to see yourself in a positive light. As Dr. Fenton says, “Your body is a part of you but not all of you.” Being healthy starts on the inside.

{February 9, 2012}   The importance of workout buddies

The first day of my new workout routine, which happened to be the third day back at school, I went to the gym alone. It wasn’t my choice; my class schedule just didnt mesh with my friends’. So, at 10 in the morning, I walked to the gym, confident that my semester would be a fit and trim one. And then I got on the elliptical. Working out by yourself can be effective, and even fun, but without someone there to motivate you, it is oftentimes harder than it has to be. Workout buddies are important for a number of reasons. They are there with you to share in the pain of your first workout in far too long, and to encourage you when you feel like calling it quits. When you work out alone, there’s no one there to push you to try your best or meet your goal.  You have no one to motivate you and no one to impress. The Fit Food Junkie blog gives similar tips and, in the post linked to above, talks about the importance of working out with friends. To truly be successful in a diet and exercise regimen, or even to just make healthy choices, having a friend beside you is invaluable. in the So the next time you hit the gym or endure the last salad you think you can stomach, have a friend or two come along for moral support. Who knows, they might just learn from your example and make some healthier choices themselves.

Eating healthy is more than just a dietary fad or a way to lose weight: it really is a way of life, and a smart one at that. As a college student, I can relate to how difficult it can be to stay in shape during the semester. Stress can come in all shapes and forms. From midterms to job interviews, worry and tension seem to be constant companions. In college especially, such stress combined with awkward schedules leaves little time for working out, and seemingly too much time for snacking. For the next few months, I’m going to be experimenting with the best new ways of healthy living, from eating options to fitness routines. I hope you’ll stick around for the ride, as I uncover the easiest, most student-friendly ways to stay healthy and in-shape. During our fitness journey, check out the Health.com Fitness Blog. This blog is a one-stop-shop for everything health and fitness, from proper workout attire to the best way to do pilates. With the right motivation and resources, a healthier you (and me) could be right around the corner!

et cetera