Preventing Holiday Over-Indulgences 

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season! First up, Thanksgiving! What a wonderful time of year. Spending time with loved ones, and eating awesome homemade food. I’m very much looking forward to creamy mashed potatoes. I know I’m not alone when I say this is the time of year when I overindulge just a tad…. maybe more than a tad. With all of the yummy desserts and carb-tastic side dishes, I tend to put my cares aside. This year I promised myself that I will make a better effort and keep my health in mind. Here are a few tips to remain health conscious this Thanksgiving but still allow you to enjoy your holiday.

1. Drink plenty of water. We should be consuming on average 8-10 cups of water a day. Sometimes we may confuse thirst for hunger. Try to drink a full glass of water before your Thanksgiving meal. You’d be surprised at how you might not overindulge as much. Also, maybe take some sips in between bites. Waterlogged is a great app that helps you to track your daily water intake. It will even send you a notification reminding you to drink some water!

2. Variety and portion control. I know from experience how hard it is not to fill your plate with mostly stuffing and mashed potatoes… then a little bit of turkey and a few spoonfuls of vegetables. When serving yourself, keeping this tip in mind will help you to satisfy your taste buds by have a little bit of everything, therefore not going overboard.

3. Don’t overload your plate. When everything is passed around the table, try not to create food mountains. If you want seconds you can always do so. There are times when I feel as if my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and when I stuff my plate I feel obligated to finish it all even if I’m super full. So, first make yourself a nice dinner plate, and if you’re still hungry, then go for the second plate (keeping in mind tip #2 as well).

4. Pick and choose. Let’s say you had a little bit of everything; turkey, potatoes, bread, cranberry sauce, vegetables, etc, and you are still yearning for more. Pick the healthier option. Yes, potatoes are vegetables, but I know my mom prepares them with tons of butter and salt. So, I would pick maybe more turkey instead of the potatoes. Or if you really want a slice of bread, leave out the butter. Little changes like these can go a long way.

5. Make healthier choices the days before and after. Thanksgiving is no surprise, we are well aware of the types of foods we are going to eat and how much of it we will have. The few days before Thanksgiving, I plan to be stricter with my diet than normal. I will make sure I stay within my 2000-calorie goal, and not exceed my fat and carbohydrate intake. This will make me feel better about being a little more flexible than usual on the holiday. Then the next day, we might still be in that food-induced coma so we don’t even have to worry about that. Think of things you can do to be healthier the days prior to the big day.

6. Get up and get moving! Yes, this is our time to relax a little before major stress kicks in with finals and the end of the semester. But we can’t forget totally about our health. Plus, exercising is relaxing and stress relieving! Fit in some little exercises here and there. Recently, I use my puppies as an excuse to get out of the house and go for a short run. It also makes my mom happy that I’m relieving her of dog walking duty that day. There’s an app called The 7 Minute Workout which suggests short but effective exercises.

Overall, it’s hard to stay super strict with our diets and exercises during the holiday season… small changes can truly make a positive impact.
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“The groundwork of all happiness is health.”
-James Leigh Hunt

By: Cara Kaplan


Student Voice

Check out this month’s issue of Student Health 101 for articles by HCI interns and students like you!  Michele Williams gave us permission to repost her Student Voice article here.

Student Voice – Michele Williams

“This is not what I was expecting, but you have cancer”. The world slowed down for a minute when I heard those painful words uttered. I was lying in a recovery room. I was 24 years old and just had my first colonoscopy. The bright lights blinded me as I looked for a way out of this nightmare. At the end of the examination table sat my dad. The agony flooding his face was enough to confirm that this was real life.

One of my first thoughts was college. I was to graduate in less than two weeks. I had worked too hard and come too far to stop now. All I was looking forward to was completing my student teaching in the fall; but cancer has the painful ability to steal your dreams and change your priorities. I always dreamed of being a teacher. As a little girl, I practiced being a teacher by lining up my stuffed animals and “teaching” them the ABC’s. Over the next two weeks, while most future graduates were planning graduation parties, I was meeting with doctors to create the plan of attack on my cancer.

When the ringing of my alarm woke me on May 17, 2013, I felt an indescribable emotion. As I sat there at graduation listening to the Dean of Education give her speech, I looked around at the sea of smiling, anxious faces. Everyone was overwhelmed with joy, and excitement. I was overwhelmed with fear, and anxiety. No one, not even myself, knew about the journey I was about to embark on. I’ve never felt so isolated and alone as I did sitting there in my cap and gown with cancer.

In the summer of 2013, I completed 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy at UPenn. The week I should have begun my student teaching, I had my first surgery. A week later, I was pronounced cancer free. It was an exhilarating feeling. In December 2013, I had my second surgery. After a month of healing, I began student teaching. I finished my student teaching in May 2014. I am currently substituting where I student taught, and working as a cognitive coach. The moral of my story is no obstacle is great enough to keep you from achieving what you worked so hard for.

Relieving Stress During Finals

No matter whom you are and what your major is, every college student experiences similar emotions during finals week. Stress is something that happens all year round, but it seems to escalate tremendously during this time of the semester. So what are some ways to reduce this feeling, and help us to perform to our best ability? An important tool to aid in relieving stress (that we often forget to do) is to give time to ourselves. For example, venture to an environment that is not crowded with students. Placing yourself in a stressful environment will not help your own emotions. It is completely okay to take a few moments to treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate and some television before jumping right back into the books. The brain, as well as your body, needs relaxation once in a while to help you to concentrate better.

Something we tend to overlook during stressful times is our diet. Often times, students can be found guzzling down caffeinated beverages  while shoving sugary snacks down their throats during long and late-night study sessions. In addition to relaxation, the brain works better when it is fed on nutrients and healthy food. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain, which can satisfy the sugar craving as well as benefit your health. An easy and tasty snack, such as a yogurt parfait with nuts, has ingredients that are proven to relieve stress as well as boost your immune system.

The next best thing college students love compared to a good snack is sleep. Everyone has different sleep patterns, but getting a good amount of it is essential during stressful times. Although it is difficult with inconsistent schedules between work and school activities, maintaining a steady sleep schedule is critical.

No matter how much pressure you may feel from professors, work, family life, etc., keep in mind that finals week does not determine the rest of your life. Eat a good diet, sleep well, and treat yourself to some time alone. Shake off the stress and keep living to your best ability. 

By: Sam Kralle

Steady-State Cardio vs High-Intensity Interval Training

Many of us dread the 45 or 60 minutes spent on the elliptical, treadmill, bike, etc. at the gym. Of course, we know that cardiovascular activity provides many benefits including increased heart health and fitness levels, but it can be a challenge to find the motivation to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines. If you are short on time, but still want to get in a quick cardio session in-between classes, consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Here are a few benefits of each type of cardio:

-Allows for significant calorie burning because of periodic rises in heart rate
-Achieve health benefits in a shorter amount of time (usually ~20 minutes total, including warm-up and cool-down)
-Switches up the monotony of workouts and adds variety and intensity
-Best for more advanced athletes

Examples of HIIT (cycles of 20 seconds intense work, followed by 40 seconds of rest work)
-Squat jumps, burpees, sprints, elliptical/bicycle intervals, jumping rope

fitness quotes Inspirational Fitness Quotes by Joseph Pilates and Celebrities

Steady-State Cardio
-Puts the body into a fat burning zone when performed at 65% max heart rate (max heart rate = 220 – age)
-Ability to maintain muscle mass while still burning calories
-Improves cardiovascular endurance
-Best for beginners, as it places less stress on the body

Examples of Steady-State Cardio
-Incline walking, light jogging, bicycle, elliptical, swimming

So… which one is better?! Although many fitness enthusiasts argue that HIIT is a much more effective form of cardio compared to steady-state, both types will provide results (in combination with a healthy and balanced diet, of course). Try incorporating different cardio routines into your workout, and see which works best for you! Ultimately, finding exercises that you enjoy will be most effective because you will be more consistent and are less likely to skip workouts!

By: Melissa Falzarano