A Tiger’s Tale for a Healthy and Balanced Lifestyle

As if acclimating to your new college environment isn’t enough (moving in, making friends, finding your way around campus), you also get bombarded with the looming threat that most college students will have a difficult time making healthy choices in their new college lifestyle.  From needing fuel for all the late night study sessions, snacking with friends, and the delicious all-you-can-eat dining halls, sometimes it’s harder to eat healthy.  College stressors can make eating healthy, nutritious, energizing food and remembering to exercise more difficult.  Here are a few helpful suggestions to keep you healthy and thriving in new academic year:

  1. Go to Burdick Hall.  You know that student services fee on your TU bill?  Well part of those fees went towards your membership to the TU Fitness Center in Burdick. You paid for it, so go use it! From treadmills to stationary bikes, tiny free weights to hardcore 1weight machines, the fitness center has whatever you need to stay active and manage stress.  Does the thought of running on a treadmill bore you to tears?  Campus Rec has some amazing group fitness classes that should peak anyone’s interest.  The group fitness instructors are no joke and will make working out fun.  Check out the group fitness schedule here.
  2. Eat food that fuels your body.  At home, mom and dad made sure you got your balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but they aren’t here to make sure you are eating something green at least once a week.  It’s now on you to make sure you are making healthy food choices and that can be a tough transition.  If you feel yourself start to develop some not so healthy eating habits, check out ChooseMyPlate.gov where you will find many resources on healthy eating habits such as the food pyramid so you can make informed and healthy decisions in regards to your diet.
  3. Make physical activity a part of your schedule.  With studying, reading, writing papers, hanging with college friends, and still keeping up with high school friends, your weekly schedule can get really full really fast.  Just like you use a planner to write out when and how long you should be studying, pencil in when you think you can work out.  And just because you aren’t at the gym, doesn’t mean you aren’t being active.  Live in West Village but have class in Stephens?  Wake up a few minutes early and walk there instead of taking the bus.  Take a longer route than normal to squeeze in some extra active time.  Tackling all those campus hills will be worth it in the long run.
  4. Avoid late night snacking.  A trip to Taco Bell always sounds like the best idea ever at 1 AM, but come morning it doesn’t sound (or feel) so smart.  It’s hard to say no to quality time with your friends, especially when you are in the ‘still getting to know you’ phase with everyone.  You should still go and hang out with your friends, but the late night junk food raids can really mess up your health fast.
  5. Drink more WATER.  We all know how many variety’s of drinks there out there to choose from. From sodas, to sports drinks, to every fruity concoction you can think of, the options are endless. The same goes for all the “healthier” diet or sugar free varieties, lot’s of choices. However don’t forget, by far and away the healthiest option is always water. 60% of our bodies are comprised of water and there are so many benefits in terms of health and well-being. Check out six of them here2
  6. Treat yo’self! Tom Haverford’s immortal words of wisdom never rang more true.  When trying to survive a stressful semester at college, it’s ok to indulge every now and then.  Just kicked butt on your midterms?  Grab some ice cream after dinner.  Did you exercise and eat balanced meals all week?  Treat yourself to some pizza with friends.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t about restriction, it’s knowing when to say yes to a sweet treat because you deserve it and when to say no to a late night Chinese food delivery from Towson’s Best because you are bored.

Making the transition from home cooked meals to dining halls, regimented high school schedules to most of your days being open after class can be difficult when trying to maintain a healthy balance.  Remember, college is about discovering who you are and that also includes figuring out how to take care of yourself on your own. Don’t beat yourself up if turning over a new leaf is harder than you think.  We all go through highs and lows when trying to figure what it means to be healthy and happy.  But there is a silver lining to this process:  the healthy habits you establish now will help you out for the rest of your adult life.

Caitlin Duda
FTP Advisor
Community College of Baltimore County

With input from:

Kasey Serdar, PhD
Staff Psychologist, Eating Disorder Services Coordinator
The Counseling Center

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