Hello! My name is Ashley or as the blog world calls me, The Hungry Scholar. Lauren gave me the opportunity to do my first guest post. Hooray for blogger love! I spent several hours thinking of a particular topic that would be of interest to you all. A recipe would be great, but if you’ve been reading my blog, I’m in the process of a major move. I have just finished my master’s in Rhetoric and Composition (in the English department) and I am moving on to my PhD in a few weeks. So, my kitchen is in a box. What I instead plan to do is to enumerate the things I have learned about my body from being a scholar.
Being a graduate student led to some unhealthy eating habits. Firstly, I had to move my reading to the coffee shop after I noticed that studying at home led to frequent trips to the kitchen. But, our coffee shop served the most delectable scones from the local gelato shop. Second, these trips lasted late into the night. You cannot stay up late without eating something. With the amount of coffee I was drinking, I would pass out without eating. And I needed to be completely alert because the creepster with his shirt always inside-out liked to stare me down while I read.
Further, there were the parties. I was in a sorority, but I never saw partying like this. Graduate students drank a lot of wine, A LOT. I once had a party end with all-male, shirtless dancing and Gaga. Of course, it wasn’t really the alcohol that was the problem, but the midnight runs to McDonalds. The only veggies we had at our crazy parties were spilled on the floor. Really. Our A/C likes to turn off during parties and one of the Literature students decided to cure his overheating by putting a frozen bag of broccoli up his sweater vest. Which he later ripped open, attempted to pour into a bowl, missed it completely, and then pushed it deeper into the carpet with his boots. I hope I get back my security deposit.
So I had three problems: (1) mindless eating while reading, (2) late night study sessions with more food, and (3) alcohol-induced binging. I now would like to share some changes I made for the better. I still fall into these old habits sometimes, but it is rare and I use these slip-ups as an opportunity to reevaluate how I am eating.
1. I sleep. I don’t do all nighters. I sometimes feel that I am that graduate student that doesn’t have “the drive.” I do have the drive: the drive to not go bonkers. I noticed that after 1 AM I was writing complete crap. I would reread what I wrote the night before and gasp in horror. The best advice I have ever gotten, and advice I hope to pass onto students and non-students, is to work as hard as you can from 9 to 5 (I try to use the morning for workouts) and use remainder of the evening to do something you love. For me, this was a glass of wine, Bravo TV, and an early bed time. I am not saying this will work for everyone, but you should at least ask: am I using my daytime hours effectively.
2. I prepare for a night of drinking. Some people camp, and that takes a lot of preparation. I’m an indoorsy type of girl, so I only have drinking to prepare for. First, I always eat a decently sized dinner. I used to eat salad so I could use the calories for late partying, but I was just so hungry. I try to eat pasta. Next, I always cut up some apple slices for later. I don’t know why I think apple slices are more fun than eating an apple in its natural form, but it is. So, keep some fun, healthy snacks around. Snacks that the tipsy-you will crave. Lastly, drink less. This is more self-directed advice, but there it is.
3. I pack snacks for out-of-house work. When I go to coffee shops, I pack snacks. This has saved me, because my local coffee shop serves little to no healthy food. Also, I leave my credit card at home and only bring the amount of money for a drink. This has saved me money, too.
4. I reward myself with food. I know every employee of leading women’s health magazines would chase me with wads of dirty gym socks, but hear me out. Okay. Sometimes when I am studying (or doing any painstaking task), I’ll promise myself a healthy snack and a glass of wine (while watching Real Housewives or some DVD series like Weeds). Snacks such as: dark chocolate, “expensive” fruit, or a skinny cow. So when I reach for my chips during writing I’ll say, “Ashley. Really? Really? Really? You are going to ruin your beautiful TV, snack, and wine time with such mindless eating. Don’t taint this special time. Get your life together!!” This works 90% of the time.
I’m not perfect and I don’t hold the holy grail of healthy eating and body issues, but this is my experience. Feel free to use the comment section to share your own experiences. What is your best tip for avoiding mindless eating, late night eating, or eating during/after drinking?