• How Have Your Health Habits Changed Since College?

    September 15, 2011

    Mmmm! What a way to start the day. The star of this morning’s breakfast was Caramel Pecan Bark (Iced) Coffee from Godiva. Ohhhh, yes. Now, doesn’t that sound amazing?! Well, it was.

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    Foodbuzz sent me a sample of the Godiva Caramel Pecan Bark coffee as part of their Tastermakers Program. I brewed a pot (for iced coffee) as soon as it arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon. It smelled so delicious as it was brewing– sweet caramel and chocolate. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty damn excited to try it this morning.

    Breakfast also included banana oatmeal with quinoa, ground flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and soy milk.

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    On top: dried cranberries, currants, golden raisins, and a big scoop of peanut butter.

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    I added a splash of soy milk to my Caramel Pecan Bark iced coffee. The caramel flavor came through loud and strong, and with a splash of soy milk, it was perfectly creamy and slightly sweet. So delish.

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    Three Questions Thursday

    I don’t know how it happened, but I let Three Questions Thursday go by the wayside. Oops, sorry about that. Well, it’s back! Keep those questions coming!

    I am currently a senior in college and have been struggling with my weight now for a few years. I seem to struggle most with drinking and late night eating after a night out. I was wondering if you had any advice of ways to approach my predicament?

    Yes! In fact, my drinking and post-party snacking is one of the main reasons that I gained 20 pounds after college.

    As for drinking, you know I’m not one to pass up a drink, but I also think it’s possible to enjoy an adult beverage or two (or three) without overdoing it. Here are a few things that I keep in mind when I’m drinking: How to Have a Healthy Happy Hour.

    As for late-night post-drinking eating, my best advice is just not to start. Once I have a taste of French fries, potato chips, you name it— I just can’t stop myself and end up snacking for the rest of the night. So for me, it’s just easier not to start. Additionally, putting myself to bed usually helps too. Typically after a few drinks, I’m more than ready to go to sleep, so it’s an easy way to avoid late-night eating.

    I’ve recently began running a lot more lately. About 3-4 miles at most probably every other day. Have you ever experience your legs getting bigger? More muscle? All my pants seem to be getting tighter on me! I’m not increasing my calorie intake by any means. I’m getting discouraged! Any advice would greatly be appreciated!

    Don’t get discouraged! You’re definitely not alone with this one. I gained nearly 10 pounds training for my first marathon. For me, it was a combination of eating more calories than I burned and my muscles gaining water weight (as explained in the first post below).

    I’ve been browsing through many, many jobs in the Boston area and have seen lots of advertisements for positions at Harvard (as well as a lot of other colleges in the area).  I know it’s a great institution, they offer good benefits and a few staff assistant positions have really caught my eye as something which I think I would enjoy doing. Since I know you’ve held a past position there as an Executive Assistant, I was wondering if you would mind to share a bit of your honest opinions about working there with me. Mainly, I’m curious about the general atmosphere and growth opportunities there and if you felt these were positive and available.

    I absolutely loved working for Harvard—both the College and the School of Public Health. If things don’t work out with blogging for some reason, I’d go back to Harvard in a heartbeat. The benefits alone are amazing, and there are a zillion opportunities to get involved, so I always felt like part of the community. I really loved that aspect of working there.

    As for the Staff Assistant positions, I think they’re a great way to get your foot in the door at Harvard. I know quite a few people who started out as Staff Assistants and worked their way up to a Program Coordinator or Assistant Director position. My old colleague, for instance, was a Staff Assistant, and not even two years later, accepted an Assistant Director position at another Harvard school. There’s definitely plenty of room for movement (upward or lateral) at the university.

    One of the best things about working at Harvard is their competitive salaries. Harvard’s pay scale is A LOT higher than other universities/colleges in the area– I’m talking a solid $10k more for the same position! Just a heads up in case you want to focus your job search.

    Question of the Day

    How have your health habits changed since college (or high school)? Are you more or less healthy now? What changed?

    My answer: I’m a lot healthier now. If you read my book, there’s a whole chapter about my unhealthy habits in college (and post-college). I’ve come a long way since then!

    P.S. I’m giving away granola over on Trading Up Downtown today!

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    { 117 comments… read them below or add one }

    Aine @ Something to Chew Over September 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I’m definitely healthier now – consistent workouts, fewer late nights, wine instead of sugary cocktails, no chips at 3am…


    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats September 15, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I’m a lot healthier since college and I think it just has to do with the college lifestyle! I used to drink so much more and eat awful food! I would buy bags of candy, eat out and get pretty unhealthy foods, and a couple times my roommate and I would just buy those containers of cake frosting and they’d be gone in two days! I was more focused on just having fun rather than being fit and healthy!


    Erica @ For the Sake of Cake September 15, 2011 at 10:48 am

    My habits have DEFINITELY changed since college. I really didn’t think much about health & fitness those 4 years. In fact, I think I took advantage of my free gym membership maybe 4 times in 4 years… such a waste now that I think about it!


    Ashley September 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

    My healthy habits have done a 180 since college! I never used to eat any fruits and vegetables and basically survived on fast food and frozen dinners. Gross!! Now I eat mostly whole foods and tons of fruits and veggies. Not too mention drinking a lot less, haha!


    Shanna, Like Banana September 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I too am a lot healthier. I probably had Giordanno’s deep dish 1-2x’s per week at midnight and then would just go to bed. Ugh…and I didn’t work out more than 1x per month (besides walking) for like 3 yrs. I gained 20+ lbs..=(


    Lizz @ Leading the Good Life September 15, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I went to college in NYC so I ate lots and LOTS of bagels. Not that there is anything wrong with bagels, I just had no idea how calorie-dense they were. I think I even thought of them as health food since they weren’t from a fast food restaurant.


    Cait @ Beyond Bananas September 15, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I am SO much more healthy now then I was in college. I used to eat crap in college.. ordered out often and drank lots. I was treating my body horribly. It wasn’t until more then a year after I graduated that I took control and started eating healthy, whole foods.
    Shocker (sarcasm) .. I feel like a completely new (better) pereson!


    Caitlin @ Cake with Love September 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Actually in college I was eating healthier, I am from Moldova (Eastern Europe), and I was born in the major city that we have, so I didn’t have to travel somewhere else to study, I was living still at home with my parents, it was very nice, my mom will still cook for me, she is a very good cook, and will always have something delicious and very healthy for me! I got an internship in Chicago and in 3 months I have gained 20 pounds!!! Yes 20 POUNDS in 3 month! When I went back home, nobody recognized me, the weight came off in 6 months, but since I moved to US I really watch what I eat, and try to buy 80% organic produce, since the food here is very different.


    Rachel @ Runner's Tales September 15, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I am absolutely healthier than I was in college. I was a fast food, pizza crust dipped in ranch, chocolate chip cookie eater in college. I gained almost 60 pounds from the time I graduated high school to the beginning of this year (almost 3 years after I graduated college). Through healthy eating and running, I was able to take it all off in just over 8 months!


    Deva @ Deva by Definition September 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

    When I was in college, my first few years were spent undereating and over-exercising, and when I finally gave those habits up, I OVERate and underexercised and graduated college 20 pounds overweight by BMI – just by eating too much fried and sugary junk. After I graduated, I focused on eating real food, stopping when I was satisfied, not stuffed, and working out healthfully. I’ve maintained those habits for four years now and maintained a substantial weight loss as well. I feel a lot healthier now, too!


    Ari @ Ari's Menu September 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

    My healthy life style change began my senior year of college, but I think a big part of getting healthier is becoming more educated on what that means and discovering what it means to you personally. I made a lot of great changes that last year at school, but I am a million times healthier now because I’ve just learned so much more about how to make healthy choices for myself if that makes sense?


    Tina September 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    @Ari @ Ari’s Menu: Yep! Totally makes sense! :)


    Molly September 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

    After leaving high school I was so scared of gaining weight in college i totally changed my eating habits. I am much more “health conscious” and I love it! I feel so much better than I ever did while eating “junk” in high school.


    Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! September 15, 2011 at 11:38 am

    During my first two years of college, I drank excessively and ate pretty much anything I wanted. I played varsity soccer in college so I had the exercise piece under control, but my eating and drinking habits were not healthy at all. In my last two years of college, I joined Weight Watchers and learned how to better manage my eating and drinking. I learned how to properly eat for my body and exercise level and, as a result, I lost more than 50 pounds. During my final semester at college, I got obsessive about my weight and eating and lost too much weight. Since finishing college 2+ years ago, I have become much more well-balanced with my eating and exercise. I have maintained my 50+ pound weight loss through healthy eating and exercise. I feel so much better about myself and my habits now that I treat my body with love and compassion!


    Erin September 15, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Throughout college I actually lost a lot of weight… in fact I lost 15 pounds my freshman year because I didn’t have a car so I walked everywhere. Seriously, I was probably averaging 4 – 5 miles a day usually with a big bag of stuff. Between walking, working a lot of part time jobs, dancing on the weekends and weekly pilates classes I didn’t worry too much about my weight BUT I should have been worried about my diet.

    I ate crap through college, and it didn’t help that the food at the dining halls was awful – tons of calories and no flavor and the salad bar was a complete joke. Once I moved off campus it got a lot easier to control what I put into my body and since I lived with a chef I learned how to truly cook.

    I would definitely agree that college was not my finest moment regarding health but I’ve definitely come a far way!


    Kim @ Eat, Live, and Blog September 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I am a lot healthier now that I am in college. I’ve learned what food is good for you and since I have to cook for myself, I have learned to cook healthier wholesome food.


    Meg in CT September 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    This is actually a tough question for me to answer. As far as my eating habits, I’m much healthier now. No late-night Chinese or pizza takeout. Certainly many fewer nights full of alcohol and sugary mixers. But I was also more active physically then, as I lived on a walking campus, and also spent my second to last semester living in London, so I walked a ton! I also had access to free gym and pool facilities right across the street from my dorm, so I worked out a lot more. Now I work a desk job and am lucky if I can manage a couple of miles walking or some yoga in the mornings before work. Tough tradeoffs!


    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) September 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I got the same coffee from Foodbuzz…I can’t wait to try it!!
    I am WAY more healthier than I was in college. I used to eat fast food all the time, drink a lot (well, that part hasn’t changed) :) and I very rarely worked out. Now I eat fast food once in a blue moon, workout 5 or 6 days a week and eat healthfully (most of the time).


    Rebecca September 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    In college, I would starve myself all day….eating only salad with no dressing and diet coke. Then I would wake up STARVING in the middle of the night and eat handfuls of my roommate’s cereal. It was so unhealthy! And not surprising….I was 10 pounds heavier in college than I am now! Once I started being nicer to my body and eating REAL food, I lost the weight and felt so much better.


    Allie September 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I’m definitely healthier than I was in college – no more late night drinking followed by even later night pizza eating. I definitely have a more consistent sleep and workout schedule now too!


    Heather September 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Much healthier now! Ugh, when I think of all the hot pockets, ramen noodles and mac & cheese I consumed I cringe. The cook in our sorority house was terrible, so I subsisted on any convenience food that was around.


    Jess @ a taste for skinny September 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Definitely more healthy. Beer and the famous Rochester garbage plate (http://rocwiki.org/Garbage_Plates) are not in my current plan unless I reunite with college friends. Now it’s all about moderation and my beverage of choice is red wine and late night snack is Pinkberry!


    Liz September 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    My health habits have done a 360 degree change since college and law school. Now I exercise 5-6 days a week, I avoid processed foods as much as possible, eat more veggies and fruits, eat whole grains and make more meals.

    I wish I knew then what I know now! :) But better late than never, right?


    Amy September 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Hey Tina,

    I wanted to ask you what to use to brew your coffee? Do you have a standard coffee maker, or a Keurig, or do you use a french press?

    That flavour sounds amazing – to be expected of Godiva ;)

    Thank you!


    Tina September 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    @Amy: Regular ol’ coffeemaker! :)


    Lara @ TresLaLa September 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I’d say that I’m much healthier now. But I weighed considerably less back then, so you wouldn’t really know it. I got in a lot of incidental exercise by walking to class, walking to bars/parties (hahahaha!), and my jobs. I was a waitress at a restaurant. I always seemed to get stuck on the rooftoop deck, which meant a gazillion flights of stairs a day, carrying trays. But, I didn’t have a good workout regimen, and I would eat completely random things (hashbrowns with pesto was FAN-CY!)


    Delaney September 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Tina- I have a question..What kind of oatmeal or steel cut oatmeal do you use? I normally make a large batch and refrigerate to eat off during the work week. But your oatmeal always looks way better. Thank you!


    Rachel September 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    My eating and healthy habits have undergone several 180′s since college – from letting loose, to a severely restrictive eating disorder, to regimented recovery, then getting into swimming + running, and now realizing that I never really gained enough weight back and must cut back on my exercise to get healthy. My how times change!


    Emily@SavoryandSavage September 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I found it tough to keep eating healthy when I was working 60+ hours a week.

    When you are stuck at work at 11pm and you are starving there really is no way to prevent a raid of the vending machine. But boy do those calories add up fast!


    becca @ bellebottoms September 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    My habits changed significantly since college…I played for the university’s soccer team, so my eating/working out/general lifestyle/etc was all pretty much decided for me….now, i’m a little more lax with my workout schedule, and i don’t eat as much due to that….also…no more protein shakes!! haha


    Lindsay @ biking before bed September 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    My habits have completely changed since the freshman 15. I get more sleep, eat less late night snack food, and am no longer a vegetarian. When I was a vegetarian I focused way too much on high fat dairy. With fish and chicken and lean meat in my diet I am much healthier!


    Kim @ Imperfectly Perfect September 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I can’t wait to get my hands on that coffee! It sounds great!

    I still struggle with some things since college, but I think that I’m much healthier all around since those days.


    VeggieGirl September 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I didnt know you were an executive assistant at Harvard! I am doing the same job at a University too, and blog at work :)


    Chelcie September 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I’m currently a sophomore and the University of Delaware and it is definitely a challenge to maintain healthy eating habits with so many good restaurants around campus. I however think I do a good job eating healthy, and I only treat myself out to eat once a week (including once a week fro yo stop) which helps me to stay on track with my healthy eating and also save money!
    ps. that coffe you bought looks awesome! i have to keep my eye out for it! im a typical college kidcoffe addict:)


    Ellie@fitforthesoul September 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I tried the the chocolate godiva coffee before and it was pretty good! But I think this one would be even bettaaaaa. :) Cool! You worked at Harvard?! Haha I think we’re all kind of surprised and amazed.


    Tina September 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    @Ellie@fitforthesoul: @VeggieGirl: Yep! I worked for 3.5 years at the School of Public Health in the Master of Public Health office and for 10 months as the Executive Assistant to the Dean of the College. Here’s a bunch of posts about my experience working there: http://carrotsncake.com/tag/harvard


    Alaina September 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I am SO much healthier now than when I was in college. I used to work out for a minimal time and then eat like I had ran a marathon. I would also eat over processed stuff like chef boyardee and frozen lean cuisines. I am in such a better mindset now when it comes to being healthy and exercising. :-)


    Traci September 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I’m strange, but I was an unusually healthy college-goer. I loved going to the gym in between or after classes since it was right on campus (or going for a run around the gorgeous town in southern CT), and I ate pretty healthy, too. Looking back, I DO eat better now though. I wasn’t really buying enough fresh produce back then, and I didn’t eat as many salads. In college, I never really ate beans or cottage cheese much, and those are two staples in my diet now to get in some extra protein. Of course, removing myself from the plates of buffalo chicken nachos my friends & I used to occasionally share and the beers or Mike’s Hard that used to accompany them have also helped :)


    Traci September 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    @Traci: I should note, though, that this has been ongoing since sophomore year. Let’s just say those changes were spurred by too many cups of jungle juice + packets of easy mac during my freshman year.


    Mary @ Bites and Bliss September 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Yum, that coffee sounds so good!

    I’m still in college but my eating habits have changed since high school. My first few years of high school was nothing but JUNK. Fried chicken sandwiches and TWO servings of curly fries every single day for lunch. With Mountain Dew and sugary drinks during band only to go home to even more snacks. Gross.


    The Healthy Engineer September 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    As a sophomore in college who doesn’t drink my problem is with the free junk food, eating out with friends, and friends cooking and baking stuff for me!! On top if that engineering is super busy so finding time to work out is getting really hard. It’s been 4 weeks and I still havent found a routine. The thing is I’m having much more fun than when I worked out like crazy last year. Sighhhh I’ll find a balance soon!


    Rachel @ Runner's Tales September 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    @The Healthy Engineer: I totally agree! Engineering classes along with studying were not conducive for eating healthy and working out. I still find it hard sometimes to make the time to work after working all day in the office.


    Traci September 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    So much healthier now! I don’t drink as much for one!! HA! Since starting to exercise regularly 7 mos. ago & changing my eating habits, I’m healthier now than ever & I feel it!


    Amanda September 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Tina,
    I saw this on a website my friend sent me and I’m pretty sure you’ll want to see this pug wearing pug slippers :)


    Quana September 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    So about 2 months ago at a Farmer’s Market, I purchased Groovy Granola. 100% Whole Grain Granola. No calorie content however the indigrients are real simple, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, cashews, raisins, assorted dried fruit, molasses, honey, and cinnamon.


    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio September 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I am so much healthier now than when I was in college. When I was in college I ate all the foods that weren’t attainable when I lived with my parents. I am learning moderation now and am so grateful to have lost 50 pounds a few years ago. I’m still learning a lot and how to continue to develop healthy living techniques.


    Corrie Anne September 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    That coffee looks HEAVENLY!!! Since college I have become MUCH MORE ACTIVE, and I actually have some sense of portion control. I would just go crazy on Taco Thursdays or fried ravioli nights. Not cool!! Lol.


    Jes September 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I am much healthier since college. I used to snack on crappy food all the time, now I snack (mostly) on better foods. I make more dinners at home, I work out on a regular basis, I don’t drink as often/as much as I used to.


    Wendy September 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Absolutely, much much healthier since my university days. I went from eating whatever I wanted on a varsity training schedule, to eating the same without any training. I had no concept of what real food was. Even when I started in a new job, I had a bit of a shift and gained a few then too, it took me years to figure out what worked for me (about the same amount of time to gain the weight!). The upside was that I learned how to eat intuitively and still have the things that I wanted. Slowly by little =)


    Katie September 16, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I must try some of that coffee! Looks good :) I’m currently a Junior in College & since my Freshmen year I have lost 45 pounds!


    Lauren September 16, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I’m in college and my habits are pretty damn good! My univeristies food is ridiculously healthy- like for dinner last night I had quinoa salad with wild pacific halibut! Find me another uni that serves stuff like that! I eat super healthy anyways, even if my uni didn’t have such great options…but the fact that they do makes it a lot easier for me to study more etc!


    Lee September 17, 2011 at 7:45 am

    For one, I drink much less, but also I didn’t really know anything about nutrition in college and I don’t think I ate a lot of vegetables! There were a lot of buffalo wings and pizzas involved instead.


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