Aw, man… gotta love cafeteria food.
Q: I am a college student with a college student budget. I am getting married next year and I want to be fierce! Not only that I wanna be healthy and keep the weight off. I wanna eat healthy but heck it’s cheaper to eat unhealthy food than it is to eat healthy food. I need a guide or some kind of help picking the right things but using the budget I have. HELP!
First and foremost, I’ll be looking forward to my invite in the mail. [insert serious face]
College, for me, was where I gained the most weight. I had free reign over what I ate, how much of it I ate and with one swipe of my card, I had access to whatever the hell I wanted. Because my parents pretty much controlled what food I had access to and just how much of it I could get a hold of… it wasn’t a lesson I learned on my own, and I suffered for it. Big time.
Gaining weight at a rate of 20lbs a year was pretty rough, but I didn’t leave myself much choice. I was always indulging. Always overeating. I never practiced control and, because all my pants were elastic around the top and not “regular, ” I never really noticed how much weight I was putting on. Actually, I remember having “the perfect jeans” as a freshman and, by the end of freshman year I realized they no longer fit. I simply attributed it to them shrinking in the wash too much, and went on my merry way. Delusional.
I made the decision to stop eating red meat and pork as a junior in high school and experienced a bit of weight loss, but I wasn’t aware enough to realize that just because you restrict yourself in one way… doesn’t mean you won’t overindulge in another. In other words, cutting out forms of meat wouldn’t protect me from overdoing it on the refined and processed foods. My best friend – a vegetarian, and also a size 4 – and I would eat every single day together… and I never noticed how much smaller her portion sizes were than mine. Again.. just not aware.
I was a hustler, too – I was steady braiding hair in order to keep some food in my fridge. I couldn’t buy much with $50, so I was always going for the cheap food – the top ramen, the capri suns, the kool-aid bursts, anything microwaveable – in an effort to stretch my measly lil’ $50. Because I had no self-control, I would slaughter that stuff – all of it – within a week. “Well, it’s all got to go sometime.. might as well be right now.” Clearly, I wasn’t thinking.
The caf was… well, ugh. The caf was hit or miss. Some days they’d go all out with the dishes and sides… other days, it was “all fried everything” and you couldn’t escape it. If we were lucky, there was batter out to make waffles… but you couldn’t bank on it. Sure, there’s a salad bar, but that just isn’t as fun as the every day chicken and rice.
I hope you can see why I’m detailing my experiences with food and college… learn from my mistakes.
With college, there’s this weird time-space continuum where, before you know it, a month has blitzed by and you’re kinda pissed about it. The reality is, you’re so wrapped up in school and your social life that you don’t notice how time is moving so quickly around you. Not only that, but for many of us, living off-campus is an unwanted struggle (sure, you might desire the privacy, but it’s not always worth it) and living in the dorms means you likely have limited fridge space and no kitchen. Having said that… in the instances where I might feel inclined to tell you to spend a little time in the kitchen… we’re going to have to, instead, commit a cardinal sin: buy foods that come in wrappers. [insert loud groan]