Maybe you have been to college, maybe you are in college, or maybe you are preparing to go.
In any case, you have most likely heard of the dreaded “Freshman 15.” You know, the curse that bestows every first-year student? Where they step foot onto a university and suddenly gain 15 (or more) pounds.
Of course, there are plenty of quick-fix ways to avoid this (ever heard of “drunkorexia“?) However, the easiest solutions are usually nowhere near the healthiest.
Fortunately, leading a healthy lifestyle is also pretty easy when you know where to start. Once you get your momentum going, you can even learn to help others.
College is the perfect time to enact positive habits that you can carry on with you for years to come. Simple changes like introducing activity into your life and making better food choices will assist you in looking and feeling your best through these formative years.
Here are a few ways that you can contribute to your own health, as well as your schoolmates’.
1. Start a club
Many colleges have a large variety of clubs for any interest. But if there’s not one that suits your needs or desires, start it! It could be a vegan club, an outdoor activity club, a yoga or meditation club. Whatever it is, it will give you the opportunity to meet some like-minded people. I bet there are more than you think. (Not everyone in college is constantly partying or pigging out on pizza.)
2. Enact Meatless Mondays
This is extremely easy to do, through this site‘s Campus Toolkit. Make posters, set up a booth, do whatever you can to bring the hype. You want to get people excited about all the new culinary creations they get to try- not angry and reminiscent about what they’re “missing out on”.
3. Create a community garden
If there is space for it somewhere on campus, build a small garden with several crops. (With authority permission, of course). Then suggest that the food grown is sold to students and locals or maybe even used in the dining hall. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could start a CSA!
4. Organize a walk/run/bike for charity
If there is a subject you are passionate about, see if your school will help you host an event to raise money for it. You are encouraging others to be active while also supporting a good cause. And be creative! Theme runs (with costumes, music, paint, etc.) make exercise so much more fun. I have even seen a few held at night where everyone wears glow sticks and black-lights deck the trails.
Some other ideas:
Host a healthy potluck dinner with friends
Go on walks around campus
Talk to your roommates about splitting the cost of some bulk groceries (which are often cheaper)
See what else you can come up with!
Also by Quincy: 7 Hidden Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder
Related: 16 Weeks to Your First Marathon
Photo: Daniel.Rubinstein, Salim Virji, Bayat, Sustainable SFU (all via Flickr)