When I eat lunch at 11:15 a.m. and dinner at 4:45 p.m., I am obviously going to give in to late night eating. The early hours of the meals encourage students to pig out in dorm rooms, go to BK and order in Sarpino’s. My roommate and I thought we would be smart by not keeping junk in the room, but that didn’t stop the urges of Northwestern from finding me. On the way to my room I have a nice little stroll by the vending machine, otherwise known as the devil.
I can’t help but think about that commercial where the little kid at the supermarket tries to put something unhealthy in his parent’s shopping cart (not this one, although that lesson is important too). The adult proceeds to tell the child that he can’t get the unhealthy item. Well, my mom didn’t come with me to college. When I pass a big bright friendly box that holds Twix bars, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Doritos, Cheetos and more, it is not just tempting, it is just going to happen. Mom and Dad aren’t here to slap my hand and the fact that I had dinner five hours ago doesn’t help either. What happens later in that same commercial is that the little kid finds something that looks so delicious and as he tries to sneak it in to his parent’s shopping cart the adult stops him, reads the nutrition information, and allows the child to buy it. The idea that something so mouth-watering could also be good for me is nice to think about, but does it really exist? And if it does, why isn’t that in my vending machine?
My parents and some upperclassmen warned me about the desire to party constantly and to waste time. Some people gave me tips on how to avoid slacking off in class and in the library. However, the real temptation that people joked about but never really addressed is eating. We have all heard about the “freshman 15”, but how is it possible to stay healthy here with all of the temptations surrounding me?
While it may be possible to avoid late night eating and the temptations of “the devil,” how am I supposed to avoid the unhealthy eating in the dining hall? The dining hall is not only a place to eat grilled cheese, pizza, french fries and ice cream but is a great way to meet people, create friendships, and just take a break from an overwhelming day. Notwithstanding the horrid hours, I spend a lot of time in the dining hall. For example, when the crowds are rushing to get warm gooey, unbaked cookies and drowning it with dollops of ice cream, am I really going to take a rain check? Obviously not, since all I want is to be like everyone else and to have a million new Facebook friends. Also, when else would be a better time to meet new people than while I am shoving my face with a warm, soupy mixture of cookie dough and ice cream?
Welcome to Northwestern, where temptations are ubiquitous. No matter what anyone tells me, I know I’m going to have to figure it out for myself. Yes, it is important to balance social life and work; yes, it is important to eat balanced meals and yes, it is important to go to hot cookie bar. However, these temptations that surround me, how important are they? Is it OK to fall in to their traps every once in awhile? Does being lured into one of them force me to succumb to another? I bought a scale to keep track and to scare myself into being conscientious about what I am doing. I am concerned that I already find myself struggling to fight off an urge for chocolate at 1 a.m. I also worry that in just three weeks I have already found myself “too busy” to go to the gym. However, what I am most anxious about is that everyone else is also doing it. It’s like the saying: if your friends were jumping off the George Washington Bridge would you jump too? Well, everyone eats early, everyone eats dining hall food, everyone has snacks in their room and everyone in the lounge is eating together past midnight. So, at least we are jumping together.