Let me tell you the best things about fall and winter. Well, besides the fashion inspirations and the cooler weather, fall and winter both resurface seasonal treats and beverages that are not around all year. Some of my favorites include pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin pie, and banana bread. October is probably the month where fall finally begins to feel like fall, and treats are a staple due to Halloween. In a time filled with joy and celebration, you may want to experience such delights and you should! Why do people question what they eat or hesitate to pick up a treat? Society has stigmatized certain foods, fostering negative habits that encourage the rejection of some foods and treats.
As college students, it can be easy to become fixated with a certain body type and/or image when being surrounded by a plethora of new faces, but it’s important to remember that body shape and size is largely determined by genetics. Restricting foods can lead to less energy, less fulfillment, and oftentimes, compulsive overeating arising from the deprivation. Instead of restricting foods, be mindful of your eating -- check in with your body before, during, and after eating to see what foods really serve you. It is more than okay to indulge in foods that bring you pleasure. Food can be a sanctuary for many people and that is completely fine, when you are miles away from home maybe a treat that reminds you of home is all you need. You should never feel guilty for eating food you perceive to be “bad” because if you are happily eating it and it brings you fulfillment, then it is not bad, right? We want to stay away from associating foods with being “bad” as that will contribute to eating restrictively and associating your self worth with food, which is completely untrue!
If you wish to be “healthy” this season then simply listen to yourself and what your body needs and try to make wiser decisions, but never restrictive ones. Balance is key, and maintaining a well-rounded diet can help facilitate your educational and physical goals. Many people get caught up with the idea that you have to follow a strict meal plan or diet to be healthy, but in reality, it is a lot simpler than that. Listen to your body and choose a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains/starches, proteins, and fun foods. It is easy to compare different types of food and get caught up in feeling like you have to choose the “healthiest” option, but if you are not craving that option at that moment it is okay to choose something else. If “healthy” food isn’t going to satisfy you, is it really the best option? Take, for example, choosing between a cookie or a piece of fruit for a snack, maybe you had a rough start to your day and a cookie would provide more comfort or pleasure than a piece of fruit. If you ate the fruit when you really wanted the cookie, you may feel deprived and wind up mindlessly snacking on a bunch of other food to make up for it.
We are human and deserve to enjoy food. Of course, it is encouraged to consider nutrition and health when choosing your food, but it doesn’t have to be the only factors. So try the newly returned Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) or have ice cream after your stressful midterm, it is all okay! Food should be seen as a friend, one that promotes happiness and fulfillment, not an enemy that leaves you unsatisfied and unhappy.