Student Health Office
Self Help Guide
Eat well and Get Regular Exercise
Healthy eating requires common sense, some pre-planning, and basic, sound nutrition knowledge. By following the guidelines listed below you will be able to meet your nutritional needs and maintain a healthy body weight. Believe it or not, your mom and first grade teacher were right!
Don't skip meals! Eat breakfast!
In fact, eat 3 - 6 meals/mini meals per day. Your metabolism will be more efficient and burn calories more effectively if you keep the "fires burning", so to speak, by eating every 3 - 5 hours. Eating small frequent meals will also help keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady.
Include sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fat at all your meals and snacks
Eat your vegetables!
Be physically active!Be physically active on most days of the week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Moderate levels of activity, like brisk walking, do count. Physical activity can include short 10 to 15 minute bouts. The accumulated total is what is important for health and energy balance. Engaging in regular physical activity will also reduce stress, anxiety and provide an improved sense of well-being.
Balance the calories you take in with the calories you expend in physical activity
The less physically active you are, the fewer calories you need to eat to maintain your weight. Conversely, the more active you are, the more you must eat to maintain your weight. To maintain a stable weight, the calories you consume must equal the calories burned in physical activity. To lose weight, the calories you consume must be less than the calories burned - physical activity. To gain weight, the calories you consume must be greater than the calories burned with physical activities.
Portion control does count!
Serving sizes do make a difference. Eat twice the serving size and you get twice the calories and fat. Remember also, that fat-free does not mean calories free. Resist the temptation to eat in front of the TV, computer, while reading etc. You will get more satisfaction and pleasure out of your food if you pay attention to what you are eating! You may also be able to stop at the first sign of fullness and avoid overeating.
Remember: Water, Water, Water!
Include a full glass of water with all your meals and take a water break a few times a day. If you do not like to drink water, try adding a lemon wedge, or choose sugar free/calorie free flavored waters instead.
Set up a Good Sleep Habit
- You should sleep only as long as is necessary to feel restored and refreshed during the following day. Limiting the time in bed and keeping it regular solidifies sleep. Extending bed time or keeping an irregular schedule results in fragmented or shallow sleep.
- You should keep a regular arising time which strengthens circadian cycling and leads to regular times of sleep onset.
- You should engage in a steady, daily amount of exercise which deepens sleep and should be scheduled at least four hours before the sleep period.
- You should avoid heavy meals before the sleep period as they disturb sleep; a light snack may be helpful.
- As light, noise and temperature fluctuations disturb sleep, you should dim the light and keep sound to a minimum in the bedroom as much as possible, as well as keep the room at a constant temperature of about 70° F.
- All recreational drugs affect sleep. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and marijuana use should be curtailed or, preferably, eliminated.
- If it takes longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep, either at sleep onset or following an awakening, do not "work" at getting to sleep. You should arise and do something until you feel drowsy and then return to bed.
- The bedroom is to be used only for romantic purposes or sleeping. Taking work to bed, watching TV or listening to the radio usually causes arousal which directly delays sleep onset. These activities condition you unconsciously to associate the bedroom with wakefulness rather than what is desired-sleepiness.
Source: Adapted from Apple Promotions©, College Nutrition Handout 1, 2000.