The college diet; it’s a fleeting concept, an ethereal ideal. With so many of the average student’s food choices dictated by ease, price and — let’s be honest — spur the moment decision making, maintaining healthy eating habits is hard to do. What makes it even harder is that your common college diet can be so unhealthy that just making a few changes is essentially meaningless.
I bring this up because recently a few of my roommates decided they were going to try to diet, and asked if I wanted to get involved. Sure, I thought, it’s worth a shot, and there’s nothing like a little friendly support to help you forget about deliciously gooey cheesy bread. As a new member of the team, I wanted to know what we were going to do to achieve our loosely laid out goals for being healthier. The answer, apparently, was not much. We were going to cut out late night food (standard), cut back on the carbs (more standard), and start exercising (you get the point).
When I heard this I was relieved. This was going to be easy. Then I realized though, that this wasn’t a diet at all, it was just eating like a normal human being. We weren’t counting calories, or eating less snacks. And even worse, our discipline was horrendous. The cut-off for late night food got later and later until it just became the time when Pizza House stopped delivering. As the weather got colder, the gym might as well have been in Canada. Besides revealing us as fraudulent dieters, our weak-willed attempt at healthy eating reminded me that losing weight — especially in college — is a full-time commitment. As someone who treats commitment like Kim Kardashian treated Kris Humphries, the prospect of a prolonged self-imposed exile from BTB is terrifying.
Despite my failures, I haven’t stopped trying to figure out ways to make dieting easier and more enjoyable. I’ve tried cooking more meals at home. This generally works pretty well and I wish I did it more. With nine roommates with vastly different schedules, organizing food shopping, cooking and cleaning is an exhausting task. I’ve also tried to eat on a more regular schedule. I mean, they tell you to eat three meals a day for a reason, but how many of you really eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week? If I have class in the morning, then I usually don’t have time for breakfast. If I have class the in afternoon, then I sleep through breakfast, eat lunch at 3:30, dinner at 8, and then I’m hungry again by 1 am and I can’t go to sleep because I’ve only been awake for 12 hours. I haven’t even mentioned beer yet, and I won’t for fear of sacrilege. At least there’s something I can commit to.
If you’ve made it this far, and are expecting some real advice on changing your eating habits then I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m far from qualified to give out nutrition tips. What I do know, however, is that exercising makes me feel great (even the trek up the Mason Hall stairwell counts, people), snacking on cheesy bread and colliders is fine (in moderation), cooking your own meals may inspire healthier choices and it helps to have some friends supporting you with your goal of healthy eating.