Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet as a university student can be a struggle, especially with the lure of nights out and naughty food. On top of this, juggling deadlines and other commitments with healthy living can seem impossible.
Dieting has definite pros and cons, especially at uni, which can both help and hinder your life as a student.
- Energy – an obvious plus to dieting is the health benefits it brings. It is easy to fall into unhealthy habits as a student, eating convenient food with little nutritional value. Clean eating, drinking plenty of water and regular exercise can give you a much-needed energy boost to combat pre-deadline procrastination.
- Positivity – put quite simply, healthy living makes you feel good. I for one feel brighter and more positive without the crushing guilt of eating bad food and being lazy weighing down on my shoulders.
- Routine – dieting can be tricky to maintain, especially in combination with a busy schedule. Yet planning your week and constructing a routine can make it easier to marry dieting with student life. For instance, prepping meals or nominating certain days for exercise, personally, can make dieting more manageable. In turn, this helps me stay in a routine with my university work as well. The feeling of preparation and being in control is a definite plus of dieting.
- Taking Control – being at university gives you a great amount of independence, namely, cooking for yourself. Living at home may restrict what you eat, for instance, you may have to cater for your fussy little brother who won’t eat broccoli or explaining to Grandma why you don’t want ten potatoes with your Sunday roast because you are dieting. Now you are able to experiment and choose what you eat without having to fit in with the rest of your family.
“dieting can be extremely toxic and have a negative impact on how you view yourself.”
- Money, Money, Money – perhaps the most practical issue with dieting is cost. Constantly buying the fresh produce needed for your five a day simply cannot coexist with the strains of a student budget. While there are cheaper alternatives, such as frozen veg or frozen berries for morning smoothies, it is difficult to maintain a healthy fridge shelf.
- Social Media – dieting can be extremely toxic and have a negative impact on how you view yourself. There is an increasing swell of fitness Instagram accounts and influencers out there, and it is frighteningly easy to become bogged down in comparing yourself to other people. It is important to focus on yourself, your own goals and less so on the Instagrammers with protein promos and unlimited healthy freebies.
- Pressure – give yourself a break. Doing a degree is hard work so you deserve to go to Crisis and have a McDonalds on the way home. It is unachievable to eat clean 100% of the time and people can put a lot of pressure on themselves to do so. You shouldn’t feel guilty about letting your hair down, after all, you aren’t at uni forever (cry).
- Deadlines – under immense stress and time constraints it can be difficult to stay on top of exercise and dieting. The temptation to grab a meal deal and a sweet treat while you are in the library to get yourself through is completely human.
It is imperative to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Being healthy is great, but you have to give yourself a break as well!