I used to think I could get away with eating junk food forever. I was blessed with a metabolism that was fast enough to keep me from gaining weight and I thought binging on junk food at every opportunity was the way to go. I didn't do it because I enjoyed it so much, I did it because it seemed to be what is considered 'cool.'

Only in the last year or so, I came to realize that there is so much truth to 'We are what we eat,' and instead of eating to impress others, I started to eat to impress my own body. I am now the girl who takes two hours to grocery shop because she reads all the ingredient lists. I bring healthy packed lunches wherever I go and I ignore anyone who makes fun of my new and healthier ways. Here are five reasons why you should start too.

1. Health is not just about being skinny.

Aly Sebold

I learned in recent years that healthy eating does so much more than make you look fit and skinny. Your body is at its prime in your early twenties, and eating healthy just helps you to use this time to its full!

While these might be the years where you can get away with eating junk all day, they are also the years where you can achieve the most positive changes in your body by eating healthier. The food you put into your body now plays a big role in how healthy you will grow up and for me, regular fast food binges are just not worth increasing my risks for so many diseases.

2. It makes you feel sluggish.

chicken, sandwich, meat, bread, bun
Kelly Redfield

Don’t try to tell me that double pepperoni pizza doesn’t weigh you down. Eating junk does not only deprive your body of the nutrients it really needs but it also drains you of so much energy that your body has to use for digestion.

I might not look as ‘chill’ with my salads and veggies, but I bet you they give me twice the energy. College students live a stressful life and we need all the energy we can get. If you eat healthy and nutritious foods, you will realize how much easier it is to keep up with your every day tasks.

3. Eating healthy actually solved so many of my health problems.

avocado, vegetable, bread, toast, meat
Anna Lustig

I used to have horrible acne, constant headaches and bellyaches and I kept on feeling dizzy. Various doctors blamed various factors, had me switch to different birth control and take painkillers for my head.

When I changed my diet, every single one of these problems slowly disappeared, and while I still get the occasional headache, my overall health has improved more than I ever imagined.

Many of my friends who have also changed their eating habits have experiences similar to mine. There might be some truth to ‘You are what you eat’ after all!

4. Understanding what your body needs is important!

salad, tomato, spinach, egg, avocado
Clarissa Chen

It is important to inform yourself on what nutrients your body actually needs and where you can get them. Once you understand that, you can find ratio between junk food and healthy food that works for you and live a healthier lifestyle without being deprived. I never have to restrict calories or pay attention to how much I eat because all my calories come from amazingly nutritious food that is not as calorie dense as fast food.

5. Eating healthy and yummy food makes you a great example!

feast, salad
Makaya Pratt

I have so many friends that got inspired to eat healthier and change their diets because they saw that healthy doesn’t mean that my food is not tasty. Whenever I bring packed lunches or cook for potlucks, I try to amaze my friends with healthy and yummy food that they can’t possibly hate. Bring your healthy snacks everywhere and maybe we can make eating things that are good for you a new trend.

So yes, I am proud to be the girl that looks at ingredient lists and thinks about every bit of food she eats. I might look obsessive and boring to some, but I’m not doing it to impress anyone else, I am doing it because I owe my body the nutrition it needs to keep up with my lifestyle. You are what you eat, and I’m healthy AF.