I for one, have experienced first year (and now second) and have tried to ignore my mental health problem in the hope that with everything else going on, it'll just disappear. Unfortunately this probably won't happen (and didn't - in fact it got a lot worse until I chose to get a grip with it).
So here's a few little tips that could help some of you (not just people with anorexia, a lot of people let their health deteriorate at uni, especially first year);
It's very easy (for some of us) to shy away and eat in our rooms, alone, watching TV, but this enables us to eat as little as we want and this can become a big problem. Eating with my housemates not only made me eat more - as we cooked more bulky meals altogether and sometimes I wasn't the one dishing up - but also enabled me to get to know them and all the chatter and music singing we did when cooking and eating didn't really give me time to think or worry about portion sizes!
- Never say no to a take-away
I know, I know, for some of us this is the last thing we want to do. But trust me, it won't do you any harm, in fact it'll be really yummy, won't affect your body shape at all and will give you fun stories to tell with your friends.
As a fresher you might be lucky enough to be able to roll out of bed into lectures, but if not you need to be aware of how far you are walking each day. Even though my commute last year was only 15-20 minutes walk, that several times a day up a hill, was considerably more than I was used to and therefore burned more calories without me really allowing myself to take that into account. So if you've got a longer commute, maybe grab a sneaky coffee or an extra chocolate bar to counteract that.
- Clubs and Societies
These are really great for those who exercise obsessively. Joining a sport club (just one/two, and no gym on top of that!) lets you give over your exercise periods to someone else's control. If you join a club, the club organiser will run sessions for a set period at a certain intensity and this will be enough and you don't have to worry that you didn't do enough.
- Weather and Temperature
Obviously depending on where you're from/where you go to uni, this issue will be of different relevance. But from a student at York, England, I can say it does get fairly chilly (and by that I mean f****** frezzing) but I never really notice or take into account that all that heat my body is trying to generate burns a hell of a lot of calories! So remember to wrap up warm and allow yourself a bit of extra feeding around autumn and winter time, because you really do need it!
- Emotions and Stress
Another unnoticeable calorie-eater. Stress, work and revision uses a lot of brain power, therefore using up a lot of glucose (that's my biological knowledge coming in there) and thus burning a lot of calories without technically 'exercising'. This together with worry, anxiety and loneliness can play havoc with your brain and body and eat up a lot of your storage food. So make sure you take care of yourself, give yourself well needed revision breaks and next time you feel guilty about demolishing a pack of digestives during exam season, don't! (don't feel guilty that is, don't not eat them - was that clear?)
So here are just a few tips for those having trouble at university or college or just living alone for the first time. It can be daunting and this can be very dangerous for fragile people, so make sure you put your health first and concentrate on what's best for you!
Remember how beautiful, intelligent and special you are and treat yourself - you're only young once and life is short ... so eat the damn cake!
I'd be really interested to know if anyone found this post useful or has any extra tips (I'm all ears) so please leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts!