As a 19-year-old girl on a college campus, I understand the pressure society puts on women to stay fit. I used to want to be “skinny.” I figured crash dieting may help me to slim up in time for a party I was excited about, but that usually led to me binging right after the big celebration.
Constant fluctuation of eating habits is not necessarily the best way to achieve long-term success and in my own experience I have never found it beneficial to try changing your body at a rapid pace. ReachSelf.com, an online newsletter, wrote, “If your goal is long term weight loss, crash diets are less effective. Since you restrict the calorie intake so much your body will go into survival mode, and reduce the calories it burns during normal daily activity.”
The site warned, “When eventually you start eating normally, it is very easy to now add the pounds back on, since your body is now (at least for a time) burning less calories than it used to, prior to the crash diet.”
It was not until I heard this information that I realized that my body was constantly changing because I was approaching diets incorrectly.
It was not until the spring semester of my sophomore year that I realized that the very best way to get yourself looking and feeling amazing is to treat your body really amazing. It became apparent that being healthy meant committing to a healthy lifestyle.
I decided to implement the necessary: both physical activity and a nutritious diet. In trying to transform my habits from a couch potato to a fitness fanatic, I began to find myself more aware of others’ health habits than ever.
Watching students return for a second or third serving of french fries in the cafeteria was always made more disturbing as I witnessed them salting the already salt-enveloped fries as soon as they sat down.
I began recognizing that some girls participated in a common trend of not eating before a night of drinking. I started to see that the students who complained of being fat were often the ones who complained that the Zorn Dining Commons did not offer enough food choices and that same kind never opted to customize a salad.
I noticed just how many people “want to go to the gym” and the correlation to those few who actually do.
According to a study done by researchers at Ohio State, as many as 52 percent of college students do not exercise. When I do not exercise for more than a day, I get grumpy.
If you are new to healthy dietary choices, do not worry. I never realized how unhealthy of a lifestyle I lived until I began researching. Everything I ate was coated in cheese or assisted by ranch.
I loaded up on salty snacks and never thought that deep-frying a green bean may detract from its nutritional value.
I was a junk-food addict who would binge on red Doritos and chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, then spend days eating just lettuce to make up for it.
This cycle never left me satisfied. Sometimes crash dieting made me feel skinny for a few days, but as soon as I began eating enough again, I felt that all of my weight came back with a vengeance.
Members of the National Weight Control Registry studied a group of people who have lost significant weight and kept it off successfully for a minimum of one year.
The NWCR determined some statistics based on those successful individuals, which stated that 89 percent used a combination of diet and exercise, ten percent had success using diet alone and 1 percent used exercise alone.
It simply makes logical sense that feeding your body healthy food and participating in physical activity regularly leads to a healthy lifestyle.
So, I began taking advantage of the vegan section at the dining commons and stopped buying junk to eat in my dorm. I began treating my body kindly.
I fueled it with foods full of nutritious vitamins and proteins, and I started making hydration a priority. I started to look up different foods to infer what they offered my body. I began to care and it has made a tremendous difference. Eating a mostly vegan diet, I can completely feel the results.
My insides feel good, my skin seems happy and my energy level is through the roof. I even feel that my body fights off colds and common illness more quickly than when I was not being mindful of it.
The important part of dieting is realizing that nothing is permanent and a cheat does not mean you have failed. I try to eat vegan, but every once in a while I just need to revisit my favorite junk foods and that is okay.
To limit yourself by cutting things from your diet entirely only instigates the desire to strengthen until you break and binge.
College is a great time to begin focusing on your lifestyle and if you want to live healthy, college is the perfect place to start your good habits.
Arline Votruba can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org