Even if you’re already on spring break and your diet has officially ended, it’s still important to stay healthy and maintain your weight in college.

Whether you’re hardcore dieting for summer or you just want to lose a few pounds, you should know that it all starts with what you’re putting in your mouth.

I was inspired to write this post after I gave into a craving for chocolate: I ran, no—SPRINTED—to the corner store yesterday afternoon and bought myself a box of mint Oreo cookies.

Mint Oreos

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I knew if I bought the box I wouldn’t be able to have “just one,” but I did it anyway because I convinced myself in the 10 whole seconds I spent in the store that I needed them and that I did in fact have self-control.

Of course, the second I got home (after another sprint), I ripped open the box and ate 5 cookies; then I looked at the nutritional content: 2 cookies, 130 calories. I just ate 650 calories before dinner. Awesome.

Why am I telling you this? Because I know what it’s like to be surrounded by delicious food and have no willpower.  I like french fries, ice cream and chips probably more than most of your cravings combined, but the point is, it adds up and it’s unhealthy.

A cookie here and there isn’t going to hurt you, but when you head to the cafeteria and chow down two ice cream cones, a rack of ribs and a burger, don’t be surprised if you can’t look in the mirror when trying on swimsuits in about a month.

So, what does a college student, who has no self-control, do when surrounded by buffets of stuffing, gravy and cheesy panini’s?

Plan Ahead

If you KNOW you can’t pass up a turkey dinner, DO NOT head to the cafeteria on the night it’s being served! Why tempt yourself when you have no self-control? Look up the menu online before leaving your dorm.

Take back control by avoiding that particular cafeteria, getting a low-calorie take-out meal like a grilled chicken salad, or cooking a meal for yourself like steak and veggie stir fry (sans rice).

hummus

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Stock your room with healthy stuff you DO like

If you don’t like carrots and veggies, don’t try to shove them down your throat; you will only end up binging on on a late-night snacks, like macaroni and cheese. Stick to healthy items you DO like, such as hummus and whole-wheat crackers, bananas and peanut butter or fruit salad.

If you snack on things that are tasty AND good for you, you won’t be DYING for that hot fudge sunday because you will already feel satisfied.

Another great tip? Try drinking hot or iced tea (but drink it plain or with lemon); it’s basically water and the tea has a lot of health benefits. This is a great way to fill up your stomach (and trick your body into thinking it’s full) and it actually tastes pretty darn good.

Eat less, more often

One of the best tricks I have found that really works for me is eating more frequently.

I could never figure out WHY I would pound down food (without chewing) after cramming for an exam all day until I realized something: I WAS STARVING! I was usually so hopped up on caffeine that I often skipped lunch while studying for an exam.

If you fill up throughout the day on healthy snacks and never allow your body to be hungry, your metabolism will stay constant throughout the day and you won’t end up binging at the cafeteria.

Don’t take eating tips from models or celebrities

They don’t know what it’s like to be surrounded by horrible, but sometimes delicious, buffets that are ready to satisfy your every salt, sugar, spicy, or sweet craving you have.

So, take it from me: I love food and I eat a lot, but I also exercise and try to follow tips that actually work. Try them out today and see how they work for you!

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