I'm sure everyone can relate when I say the last thing I wanted in college was to put on an extra 15 pounds — the dreaded "freshman 15." Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn't. Regardless, you will most likely indulge in some late-night fried food every once in a while. Let's face it, the "drunchies" are real and that's okay. What isn't okay is beating yourself up the morning after some untimely snacking. If this sounds like you, it's important to start working towards a healthy mindset for the sake of your mental and physical well-being.

Over the past 3 years, I have struggled immensely with my body image. I know my story isn't out of the ordinary; social media drives people to make unhealthy comparisons and strive for an unreasonable figure. The most important thing my journey has taught me is that no matter what the scale says, how you feel inside is what really matters. I know it sounds cheesy, but I say this with much experience and zero hesitation.

Here are a few tips that have helped me through the years and can hopefully shift your mindset and start to get you feeling good on the inside:

1. Forgive yourself.

Sarah Donahue

If you're in college and have gained some weight, don't dwell on it. Just because you ate a lot of junk one day doesn't mean you're unhealthy. Remember, nothing is permanent and having a healthy mind and body is all about balance. In the photo above, I'm happily enjoying some fries after finishing an entire sandwich.

2. Set Reasonable Goals.

Julie Levine

For example, if you haven't been working out, don't tell yourself you're going to go every day this — you'll just set yourself up for failure. "Rome wasn't built in a day." Likewise, you have to block in some time for you to relax. If you fail to reach your goals, you may adjust your intentions to be a little less ambitious. Don't sweat it, just move forward. Lastly, definitely don't cut out anything completely from your diet. These "fad diets" aren't good for anyone.

3. Eat one meal mindfully every day.

Julie Levine

Mindful eating is the practice of being aware and grateful for the way your food makes you feel. Obviously, we can't do this all the time. Choose just one meal each day to get your zen on. Eat your food slowly and tap into your senses. I do this every morning at breakfast and start my day full and satisfied. I have also recently taken up yoga, a mindful way to exercise my body.

4. Hydrate or Dydrate.

Julie Levine

Water is a serious game changer. When I drink the suggested daily amount of water (2 liters), I am significantly more energized. Water has many benefits, some of which include fueling your digestion and metabolism. I suggest investing in a reusable water bottle and scheduling times to remind you when to finish the bottle. There are even apps to help you out!

5. Adjust Your Attitude

Julie Levine

I'm sure you've said "I look fat" to yourself or others. I definitely have. For me, increased body positivity started with a "fake it 'till you make it" kind of mindset. Don't make any comments fishing for compliments; no matter how many times your best friend tells you that you look fine, it won't solve anything. Avoid comparing yourself and just be you. If you start acting confident, others will respond to it.

Being healthy is a lifestyle. It's about how you live overall, not how much you worked out this month or what you ate yesterday. Wellness can manifest itself differently for every person, and it should be a combination of physical and mental well-being. Be thankful for the body you have and all it does for you because it's pretty freakin' amazing.