Practical health and wellness advice for the college student.
Going away to college is a big transition for young adults. Suddenly you are fully responsible for your own schedule and choices. You no longer have Dad setting a curfew or Mom reminding you to eat your vegetables. While balancing your social life, studies, and your new found freedom, don’t neglect your health. Here are some practical tips for staying well.
Proper nutrition is important for maintaining your weight and keeping energy levels up. Eating right while balancing a busy lifestyle will help build healthy habits for life.
- Set a rule that you’ll eat only healthy snacks while studying. Study sessions often include over consumption of processed foods such as chips or cookies. This type of mindless eating can easily rack up 700 (or more) extra calories. Do this five times a week and you’ve added 3,500 extra calories. 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of weight — you get the idea. Keep pre-cut veggies and fruit easily accessible so you’re not tempted by unhealthy snacks.
- When filling your plate, opt for balance and variety. A good rule of thumb is to include a lean protein, whole grain, fruit or vegetable and healthy fat (such as avocado, nuts or olive oil) at every meal.
- Don’t skip meals. Skipping a meal often leads to overeating at your next meal. And, when ravenous, you’re more likely to reach for less healthy options.
- Moderation. When it comes to late night pizza, soda and sugary snacks, moderation is best. We get it – you’re in college! You don’t need to completely deprive yourself of treats. We often recommend the 80/20 rule. At least 80% of your total weekly calorie consumption should include healthy, nutritious food.
- Visit Weightloss. If you get off track and need a little help, come see us over Winter Break. Patients can lose 5 to 7 lbs. the first week and up to 20 lbs. the first month. Our program gives you the foundation for how you should eat the rest of your life so you can lose weight and keep it off.
Staying hydrated helps your concentration, keeps you from overeating and improves your energy levels. A good rule of thumb is to consume your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, consume at least 120 ounces of water per day. Carry a refillable water bottle with you to classes. Be sure to consume extra water after exercise.
Wash your hands
College students are in constant contact with others. Classes, dorms, walking around campus – it’s easy to catch a cold or virus. Wash your hands before eating, before touching your eyes and after coming in contact with anyone who is sick. As cold and flu season approaches, be sure to get your flu shot. Most campus Student Health Centers offer flu shots at a reduced price.
Take care of your skin
Ladies, be sure to remove makeup every night before bed. Sleeping in makeup can clog your pores, which leads to breakouts and dull skin tone. If you haven’t already, get started on an at-home skin care regimen. Our medical spa, MedCosmetic, offers complimentary consultations and will tailor a regimen to your skin type and budget.
Also, protecting yourself from sun exposure helps prevent wrinkles, brown spots and most importantly, skin cancer. Wear sunscreen every day, even during the winter months. Apply a SPF of 25 or higher to your face, neck and any area that will be exposed. Guys, this goes for you too!
Seek help if you need it
While most will say that College is the time of their live, those same people will admit that it comes with challenges. If you are struggling with Calculus, chances are you’ll seek help from a tutor, right? The same holds true for your emotional well-being. If you find yourself constantly worried, stressed out or lost, seek help. Confide in a friend or roommate. Call your parents or a sibling. Reach out to your campus ministry or counseling center. You are not alone and it’s OK to ask for help.
Paula Lawrence, Director of Marketing