Increasing Your Metabolism

“I need to start a diet”, is a phrase you’ve probably heard countless times. You may have even looked into starting a diet yourself, but quickly come to the realization that you are way over your head in too many diet fads to choose from. Ketogenic, paleo, Atkins, mediterranean, vegan, low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free….. I can keep going. So it leaves people too frustrated to even try. Most of these diets want you to limit your simple sugars, eat more lean proteins and focus on vegetables. This is an important step to a healthy diet, but have you ever stopped to think about how much our behavior directly impacts our physical health as well?

Recent research suggests that not only what we eat, but also when we eat has a significant impact on weight loss and physical health. Think of this for a moment – you roll out of bed and decide you’re too tired to grab something to eat and you head to class, noon comes around and you grab something small from the nearest food vendor before your next class, then dinner arrives and you prepare the biggest plate of food and feast until you are completely full (which by the way is considered bingeing and is bad for your digestive health). Do you see the problem? No it’s not just because you skipped breakfast; you consumed the greatest amount of calories for one day’s time right before you settle in for the night. The majority of Americans eat this way due to our demanding lifestyles and tight schedules; is it a habit we should consider changing? I would argue, YES!

Research also finds that our metabolism gradually increases throughout the day and peaks during midday, approximately from 10am-2pm. After this, our metabolism slowly decreases as the day wanes and we start to wind down for the evening. Why does this occur? Well, it is suggested that our metabolic processes are intimately linked with our sleep/activity cycles, in that our metabolism is at its highest when our body is the most “awake”. What does this mean? It’s suggested that we should consume more calories during the time-period in which our metabolism is at its highest, which is usually right around midday. So, researchers found that people who eat 50% of their daily calories around lunch time, while reserving 25% each for breakfast and dinner, are likely to lose an average of 2 lbs. a week just by switching the time of day they consume the most calories.

Now, don’t go out and tell people, “I found this article that says it doesn’t matter what you eat, you can lose weight by following this diet”, because the nutritional integrity of the food you replenish your body with will ALWAYS be of most importance to overall physical and mental health. So my advice is to eat healthy, 50% of your plate should consist of veggies and fruits (in that order), 25% protein, 25% grains, and a little bit of dairy on the side, and manage how many calories you are consuming. Give these recommendations a try (consult your doctor first), and see if it works for you!

Eating Healthy while at Home for the Holidays

Hi again! While many of my posts relate to staying healthy at college, this post will talk about taking what you’ve learned home with you on winter break since it is right around the corner. Whether you’re a Health Promotion and Wellness major, someone who reads my blog posts, or someone who has been trying to become more healthy, I’m sure you have learned a thing or two about healthy eating and many of you have probably applied it to your daily life. It can be challenging to take these methods and implement them at home, at least for some of us (i.e. myself).

The way you eat at home and the way you eat at school can be polar opposites. Either you buy your own groceries or eat at the dining hall while at college. That is a very controllable situation. At home, you might also buy your own groceries, or maybe your parents buy the groceries and cook for you, or maybe your parents may order food for dinner on some nights. The possibilities are endless, and without some sort of consistency, it can feel like an uncontrollable situation if you are someone who is trying to eat healthy.

For me, it’s very inconsistent, my parents love cooking healthy meals, but they definitely don’t want to cook every single night. I step in sometimes and offer to cook dinner, but a lot of the time, I find myself very lazy at home during winter break. Sometimes, my parents will get lazy with making the next grocery shopping trip and there won’t be much to eat in the house. Well, you can’t just keep complaining to your parents to keep providing you with healthy meals; we have to take some initiative! Having me complain about the groceries that we have or the meals that we eat is the last thing my parents want to hear, obviously. Instead of complaining, here is what I’ve learned to do over the years:

  • Offer to grocery shop for your parents if they are busy and can’t get the next week’s groceries in a timely fashion.
  • If your parents make a grocery list, ask if you can add a few staple items on there for yourself (i.e. things to put in a salad, organic, steel-cut oatmeal, maybe some salmon, etc.). Offering them some money, if possible, for the extra items on the list is never a bad idea either.
  • Help your parents prepare meals! Maybe your parents are sauteing vegetables in butter and you know that this could be a healthier choice by steaming the vegetables instead. Suggest it and then step in to help if they’d like.
  • I find that when I’m laying around all day at home whilst on winter break, I don’t have that much motivation to prepare myself healthy meals. On the other hand, when I am seeing friends and family, going to the gym, and staying active, I find that I don’t mind cooking and taking time to prepare myself healthy, satiating meals.
  • On Thanksgiving and Christmas, don’t worry about limiting yourself! Those are just two days. Maybe don’t stuff yourself to the point of being very uncomfortable, but don’t stress yourself out if you want another slice of pie but you think it’s “not healthy”. Go ahead, eat your grandmother’s pie and be happy.


Excited for Thanksgiving?? Me too!





How to Eat Healthy in the Dining Hall

Oh how I miss eating in the dining hall sometimes. There are just some nights that I do not want to cook! The dining hall is a great tool for us busy college students. The service is quick and there is even an option to get a bagged meal to take with you to class if you can’t make it to lunch or dinner. There are so many different options at every meal that it can be hard to decide what to eat most of the time!


Before coming to college, my parents would make very healthy meals for my brother and I and we rarely had snacks or treats in the house. When I arrived at college, I couldn’t believe my eyes at the amount of desserts, cereal, pizza, pasta and other food that was available every single day. It was hard not want to eat these foods every day. But eating these foods every day can come with a price.


Many new students succumb to the “freshman 15” when they arrive at college. I gained 10 pounds of the freshman 15 and that was enough to make me want to change. The dining hall is not trying to sabotage incoming freshmen with all of these unhealthy choices they have available. In fact, they don’t have to be considered unhealthy if they’re eaten in moderation!


It’s perfectly fine to indulge in the oreo pie or chocolate chip cookies as long as it’s not every night. And there are other small things that you can do to healthily navigate the dining hall.



Here’s what I started doing in my sophomore year:

  • I opted for coffee, hot tea, or water instead of juice or soda – One of the easiest things you can do to limit your sugar intake is to avoid sugary beverages and yes, juice has a crazy amount of sugar in it. Also, while making my daily coffee or tea, I would have it with a minimal amount of creamer or even black.
  • I tried to have a salad at least every other day – The salad bar contains a variety of vegetables, seeds/nuts, and other toppings to put in your salad. But try not to get carried away! If you’re putting a ridiculous amount of dressing or croutons on your salad, is it still a salad? Instead of creamy dressings, I always pick balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  • At late night, I would try my best to grab from the fruit bar instead of the main line. That didn’t happen all the time, but it helps if you’re not eating pizza and mac and cheese wedges every night.


These are just a few tips to make eating healthy in the dining hall easier. Now the next time you’re in the dining hall, maybe later tonight, give it a try!

Pathfinder Dining Hall.