Being healthy in college is all about balance

By Miranda Mowrey, Columnist

Have you hit the point in the semester where you have realized you can’t keep up with your current lifestyle? Let me set the stage if you haven’t had this grand epiphany yet…

You wake up after turning off all five alarms you set the night before, ravenously stuff down a stale bagel while running to class, try not to sweat when your professor mentions an upcoming exam (what class is this anyway?), finally get out of class, catch up with a friend over a gigantic Chipotle bowl, inadvertently stay up until the morning hours, set five alarms to ensure you will wake up for class the next morning…day after day after day.

A new semester offers so many fun, new experiences that allow us to put our health on the backburner without realizing it. Well, I realize it when it’s a little too late and I am doing lunges and squats to create some breathing room in my favorite pair of jeans.

Life is all about balance. The occasional burrito bowl and night out are paramount in maintaining our sanity as college students. But it is also important for us to set boundaries on these indulgences and prioritize our health and wellbeing first. French writer and philosopher Voltaire once said, “Use, do not abuse… neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.” Too much of the “good stuff” in life is rarely a good thing. In fact, what makes the “good stuff” so special is that we can’t have it all the time.

Instead of picking up your phone to download another food delivery app that you and your bank account could do without, try out MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is a calorie-tracking app that calculates how many calories you should be eating daily in order to gain, maintain, or lose weight. You can use the app to figure out the calorie content of any food, and you will probably be surprised by what you will discover. Pure Raw Juice lovers brace yourself – your beloved acai bowl is approximately the same number of calories as a Big Mac.

While occasionally drinking with friends can be a fun part of your 20s, sugary, alcoholic drinks are a sure way to see the numbers on the scale rise. Unfortunately, this means swapping that vodka-cran for its very sad and much more boring friend, vodka soda. On your trek back home from Uptown, make sure to keep your eyes fixed on your beer-stained converses when passing Lotsa and Subway. Eating late at night and especially after drinking are big no-no’s if you want to watch your weight.

It is impossible to always get a solid eight hours of sleep every single night. Studying and other recreational activities (like knitting and calling your grandparents) will mess up this algorithm. On the nights when you have no plans, avoid mindlessly scrolling through Instagram until the sun comes up. Not only does getting enough sleep helps with weight management, but it also helps reduce stress.

Another way to destress is to press the pause button now and then. As humans, we all need personal time to decompress and take a break from our hectic routines. For me, personal time could mean watching “The Office” episode where Michael Scott leaves Scranton and sobbing my mascara clean off, while drinking a glass of red wine in bed. Or, me time could be driving to the top of the Union Garage at sunset and listening to my favorite playlist. Block off time every week to do something that calms your soul and silences your thoughts.

Lastly, take advantage of working out for free at Burdick. Towson’s gym offers a crazy amount of quality fitness classes including yoga and barre. 

If you aren’t much of a class person, Burdick has tons of equipment that will fit your fitness style.

This is your queue to start grounding yourself after a couple weeks of overindulging in life’s pleasures. As Voltaire says, do not abuse the good stuff, but do not opt out of the fun completely. Whatever that means for your own life, maintaining your wellbeing and finding balance is what brings true joy, not that third double-chocolate brownie.

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