Nip Bad College Eating Habits in the Bud with These Apps

By Susanna Maly on February 11, 2019

When I moved to the United States to go to college, I noticed a change in my eating habits. I would overeat for almost every meal, and the stuff I ate was high-calorie, high-fat, and most importantly, low nutrient. The new norm was pizza for lunch and ramen for dinner, then Emerge-C for breakfast. Rinse, repeat.

Before I knew it, my waistline was bigger and my mood was groggier. My clothes weren’t fitting right. The classic freshman 15, perhaps. Although I live a moderately active lifestyle with frequent trips to the gym and lots of walking around, I needed to do something about my food intake. These apps helped me immensely with achieving my weight-loss goals:

via Pixabay.com

Lose It!, Lifesum, and MyFitnessPal

Rule number one of keeping yourself in check is: calorie counting. When you count your calories, even for non-weightloss purposes, you know exactly how much you ate. Restricting all “bad” foods makes your diet unsustainable and could lead to binging all the foods that you restrict. Apps like Lifesum, Lose It! and MyFitnessPal will help you calculate calories that suit your activity level, age, height, gender etc. Those apps also allow you to scan barcodes on the foods you eat or enter them straight into the app. With these apps, you can plan for treats alongside healthier (lower-calorie) foods. For example, if in the morning I’m craving Oreos, I’ll enter them into my calorie-tracking app and plan my food-day around it. Although at first, it will be a lot of work, over time you will be able to gauge how many calories you’re eating without needing to enter it into your phone.

Bodyfast

You might have heard about the hot new fad called Intermittent Fasting. Essentially, intermittent fasting is eating only at certain times of the day, and then fasting for 12 hours outside of that, more of a lifestyle choice than a diet. Bodyfast is an app that calculates food times for you. It will notify you when your eating window starts and then let you know when it’s almost over. Fasting is a great way to limit your calorie intake, but it can also help you save time. When I was using this app, I found that I was thinking about food way less, when I was outside of my eating window, I was focusing on whatever I was doing instead of pondering about my next meal.

Plant Nanny

Something I got used to doing while fasting or lowering my calorie intake was drinking lots and lots of water. If you struggle with drinking enough water, Plant Nanny will assist you with reminders to drink 8 cups of water per day. You know the drill, water helps everything: skin, immune system, weight control, energy, etc. Water is great. In fact, you should drink some right now, probably.

Eat This Much

This app is phenomenal. Like other calorie-tracking apps, it will ask you for your age, height, weight, and of course your weight goal (lose, maintain, or gain), as well as exactly how much protein, fat, and carbs you want in your diet. And get this: the app will plan meals for you. That’s right, the app gives you calories, recipes, and even macro breakdowns for each meal. You don’t have to follow the day to a T, but it can give you great ideas for your next meal.

Instagram and Reddit

I get so many of my recipes and information from Instagram and Reddit. When I’m leisurely wasting time on social subreddits like r/1200isplenty and Instagram accounts like @caloriefixes give me new ideas for low-calorie high-nutrient meals.

Conclusion

The common misconception that calorie-tracking is only done by people with eating disorders is wrong. Bodybuilders, models, actors, competitive food eaters, etc. all track their calories. Although obsessing over every bite you eat is also wrong, it is also not that great to eat mindlessly and binge unhealthy food. College is a time for self-improvement, not self-destruction. Your health is more important than your GPA, so keep your health in check! After a while, keeping track of the calories that you eat will become easier, and after that, it will finally become second nature.

Originally from Ukraine, I moved to Humboldt County to pursue a Business for Transfer degree at College of the Redwoods. After graduating with an AA degree, I will be moving on to a different University.

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