Here is an article that I wrote for the Wooster Voice, my school's newspaper. I think its a topic most college students can relate to :) Enjoy..
Have you ever found that you have a love- hate relationship with
food? You love sneaking that extra
spoonful of rocky road ice cream at your friend’s party, but you hate what it
does to your thighs. You love taking a
study break to fuel up on potato chips, but you hate the way it makes you break
out the next morning. You love the
instant emotional boost you get
after the first bite of a snickers bar, but you hate the guilty feeling you get
after the 10th bite.
As college students, the pressures we face in school,
relationships, and living on our own contribute to the mindless eating
epidemic. In the article , “The Psychological risk factors of eating disorder,” scholars report that mindless
eating is a combination of many “physical, biological, and social factors”
(Jacobi 2005). While, there are many different
factors that create mindless eating patterns, Alberts (2006) explains that the
two most prevalent causes for lack of mindful eating are lack of sleep and too
much stress. When we’re tired and
stressed we are more likely to go for snack food as a quick pick me up or mood
booster. Fatigue and increased cortisone levels can also inhibit our ability to
recognize our hunger cues.
With the all- you- can
eat buffet style of the college cafeteria and the late night pizza and ramen
parties, it’s easy to fall into the trap of mindless eating. However, not all
hope is lost. Here are steps you can take to increase your ability to eat more
1) Breathe- Before you reach for those tortilla chips take three deep breaths
and then ask yourself if you’re really hungry. By taking time to focus on your
body you will become more conscious of your bodies hunger cues and more likely
to resist the urge to eat impulsively.
An increase of awareness will allow you to deal with difficult emotions
in a constructive way and allow you to pursue healthier, non- food related
2) Eat smaller meals- Eat 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day. According to
Womens Health having more frequent, small meals can speed up the
metabolism. Additionally, consistent, moderate eating can keep blood sugar levels
from getting too low, which may lead to an increase in cravings for unhealthy
3) Avoid multi-tasking- Implement a sitting down rule when it comes to eating.
If you really want a snack give yourself permission to take a break so that you
can be present about what you are eating.
This way you won’t feel guilty when you go through an entire box of
cookies in ten minutes, while you’re chipping away at that English essay.
4) Keep yourself
hydrated- Did you know that our bodies can confuse hunger with thirst? Before
eating a snack make sure to drink water. If you’re still hungry afterwards you’ll
know you actually need food.
It is possible to have a
healthy relationship with food if you are eating with awareness and listening
to your body’s hunger cues. So be healthy, present, and smart about your
snacking habits and you'll be sure to see some positive results.