In college, it was not unusual for me to order pizza at midnight. Whether I was writing a paper or hanging out with friends, food always seemed to be there. After going out to a party, most evenings ended with a trip to the local diner. Who doesn’t crave potato skins at four in the morning?
Though I didn’t gain the notorious “freshmen 15,” I arrived at school already self-conscious about my body and the endless string of hot wings and beer certainly didn’t help matters. An irregular sleeping schedule — often staying up very late and sleeping in — combined with a lack of appealing, healthy options at the dining hall made it easier to say “the heck with it” and just eat what I wanted (usually the burger and fries), even if I felt terrible physically and mentally afterward.
I had a great time in college and learned a lot. But in the years since, I’ve learned to eat when I’m hungry. Sometimes this means indulging in fried foods and other goodies, but in the long run I generally try to eat foods that make me feel satisfied long after the meal is finished, and French fries don’t always fit the bill. I now know that the way I treat my body and the way I feel about it are in direct correlation and that I need to be active and eat healthy in order to feel good. I just wish I’d known that back then. If I had been less concerned with how I looked and more tuned in to how I felt, college might have been a lot different and I would have had the confidence to try new things, like join a sports team.
I don’t think I’m the only one. Many students, especially women, find it hard to balance school and social life. Combine that with the pressure to look cute around campus, eating can quickly become less about how you feel and more about how you want to look or, if you’re like me, drop off the priority list altogether. Since coming to Green Mountain, I’ve seen so many women become empowered to change their lifestyle. Not for anyone else, but for themselves, because it makes them feel good.
With the college women’s weight loss program Green Mountain has designed, now twenty-somethings have a place to go to, too. If I’d known about this place in college, I’d have come in a heartbeat. It’s never too early to start learning how to take care of yourself better. The sooner you get your priorities in order, the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight and those healthy habits over a lifetime.