I’m not quite sure whether it’s exciting or not, but I ended up in the hospital last semester because of the silliest reason ever: I wasn’t eating enough.
Trust me. When it comes to food, I love it. I love fast food, I love the food my mom makes, I even kind of love the food they sell at my University. But here’s the problem. Juggling 16 hours of class, two virtual internships, a writing gig with an e-zine, and a job on top of it all was a little too much for me. Something had to give. And according to my list of priorities, this something included the delicious meals I was used to having every day.
“Food is expensive,” I told myself, “I can go without a meal today.” Going without a meal for one day turned into going without several proper meals for more than a week. I was living off water, energy drinks, and Pringles I munched on during late night Astronomy labs.
Now—our bodies are made for survival, of course—we can go without food for a surprisingly long time. It depends on our body weight and BMI (body mass index). Gandhi survived for 21 days with only little sips of water occasionally, at his ripe, old age of 74 (Scientific American, 2004). But we’re not all on peaceful hunger strikes. And no matter how much work is piling up, no matter how demanding your internship is, you should never have to sacrifice your health for it.
Here are five quick tips to keep your body healthy. Trust me. I’ve seen the worst of it.
1. Carry a full water bottle with you at all times. Find one which you can fit into the side pocket of your backpack, or fit snuggly into your purse. Make sure you have a decent amount of water, orange juice, tea, or whatever you prefer, in there. Water is usually the best way to go. It’s the purest form of liquid and can never be bad for your health. Drink constantly. Side effects may include frequent trips to the bathroom, but at least that means your body is getting enough water.
2. Get lunch regularly with a friend or mate. Go ahead and ask someone if they want to go and grab a Subway sandwich with you really quick. Think of it this way: while you’re hard at work, someone else might be starving themselves too because they don’t want to go and get lunch by themselves. Do them and your body a favor, will you? Grab that sandwich.
3. Don’t you dare touch that junk food. That’s for Christmas and New Years’ and St. Patrick’s day. Go for the multi-grain fruit bar instead of the small bag of Cheetos. Try having a salad instead of the tube of Pringles. Your body will thank you and sing praises.
4. Consider your meal plans. (This is for those who live on campus.) If you have a meal plan, please use it. You’re paying—or your parents are paying (or the government is paying)—for you to get a decent education and decent meals, so make use of it. Don’t say, oh, there’s too much work, I’ll just skip a couple of meals and catch up with it—because that’s no good at all. Food is food for the brain (no duh, Sherlock), so you really can’t do well on that project without it, anyway …
5. And last, buy those ramen noodles. I didn’t like them at all till about a week ago—but there are good factors. While some ramen can be high in sodium, it’s a good source of thiamin. What’s thiamin? Oh, just a little agent at work which helps with blood formation, memory, and is just generally excellent for the brain’s performance. So you know that ramen noodles are worth more than we give them credit for.
That’s all for now—and I really hope you keep eating. Food is the best thing out there—honestly, I would marry it if I could. Now, I think there’s some spaghetti waiting for me in the microwave. Don’t mind if I do.