Some healthy tips for the stressed college student

Cartoon by Gabbie Evans

DOUGLAS ROCHE III | OPINION COLUMNIST | droche@butler.edu

We all know it by now: college is stressful.  Thanks to schoolwork, minimal sleep and many other other aspects of college that may some time feel like burdens, it is easy to let your well-being and health fall victim.After a long day of classes and work or just a bad day in general, it is easy to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms.

And with spring break just around the corner, several students are probably seeking to lose a couple of pounds before they hit the beaches.

The infamous “Freshman 15” is no myth and I am a firm believer that most people put on weight in college mainly from the stress that comes from it. According to research from the National Library of Medicine, the average weight a person puts on is almost 3 pounds.

On the bright side, there are a lot of easy ways to lose weight and also just feel better in general that require nothing more than some optimism and persistence.

Here are six tips to help improve your overall well-being for the rest of the semester.  

Track your caloric intake.

The easiest way to do this is with Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app.  

The app not only tracks your calories, but also your nutrient intake, which helps you find ways to improve your diet based off of whether or not you are getting too much or too little of a nutrient.  

It also gives you different calorie intake goals depending on whether you would like to gain, lose or maintain a weight based off of the information you provide the app with your height, weight and level of activity.

The app also records the number of steps you take per day and lets you log your exercise while also how many calories you have burnt from exercises, which leads me to my next tip:

Start jump roping.

With the nice weather we have recently been blessed with, there has been a lot of people taking advantage of that and going on runs around campus or down by the canal.  But for some people, running gets boring or they just do not want to get into a running regimen.  

Even for consistent runners or for anybody on a consistent cardio regimen, getting into jump roping is a very effective way to burn fat and calories fast.  

Some scientists even insist that it is just as good of a workout than other forms of cardio.  According to the Livestrong website, a 155 lb. person burns 744 calories jumping rope for 30 minutes and 596 calories running at 5 mph or 744 calories running at 6 mph for 30 minutes.

Like any form of exercise or hobby, repetition ultimately leads to improvement.  And if you consistently incorporate a jump rope session into your trip to the HRC, odds are you will learn some tricks to make your workout more enjoyable if you are one of the people who get bored running in circles.

Cut your portions in half.

One of the few redeeming qualities about Atherton is that they provide the nutritional information of every food option they offer along with its serving size.  On the flip side, one thing I have noticed about the options that require scooping onto your plate is that employees will cover our plate with food.  

A simple way to solve this so you do not overeat is to specify how much you want on your plate, which will prevent excess calories.  

If you choose to eat one of the less healthy options, by simply cutting your serving in half goes a long way in either losing or maintaining weight.  Considering the fact most options rarely exceed 600 calories, eating just half of the 330 calorie burger and subbing your side of fries for a salad makes it a lot easier to get away with eating those less healthy options.

Have a cheat day.

Because who doesn’t like a soft-serve ice cream cone every once in awhile?

Stop Drinking Starbucks.

A vast majority of readers have probably stopped reading after that, but if I still have your attention, thank you for hearing me out.

Caffeine consumption on a daily basis will eventually build up a tolerance to the stimulant, which defeats the purpose of consuming caffeine.  

When your body becomes immune to its effects, you are left with a drink that is doing nothing but packing on sugar and sodium.  Having a dependence on caffeine will also just make you drowsier during withdrawals.  Do yourself a favor and save a couple flex dollars.

Be persistent.

Like the bad habit you may be trying to kick, repeating healthy practices in your diet and daily routine will substitute bad habits into good ones.  It sounds cliche, but a positive attitude will take you a long way in anything you want to achieve.  So, if you want something, get it.

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