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College years... Are we set up to fail?

There is no denying

this period of our lives doesn’t exactly cultivate the perfect environment for making healthy choices. Amongst newfound freedom and countless parties… mixed with a lack of sleep, exercise or healthy food options, we accept weight gain and unhealthy habits as part of


never questioning the effect our current habits have on our future selves that goes beyond what the scale shows.

Let’s face it, prior to even receiving our acceptance letters, we’re subject to what’s sadly become the societal-norm of our inevitable fate; the “freshman fifteen,” which has not only become socially

accepted, but expected.

As a freshman, I experienced declining health first-hand, gaining over 30lbs by my junior year. I opened my eyes then, and took my fate into my own hands.

I was sick of making quick, mindless choices

merely because “I was too busy” to do anything different, and even more sick of the toll it was taking on my body – physically, mentally and emotionally. After taking a good look in the mirror, I

took charge of my own health.

I got more active, read up on dietary theories and made more nutritious food choices. Sure enough, I lost all the weight I had gained, but my health wasn’t the same.

I didn’t come full circle in my health journey

until I confided in Holistic Health Coach, Viktoria Higgins. Her expertise has guided me in more positive directions than I can name, and has driven me to make constructive lifestyle changes that worked for my personal health background. As a result of these changes,

I feel healthier and stronger than ever before.

To wrap your mind around this new way of thinking, let me share a few health risks Viktoria brought up that we, as college students, are susceptible to, and lifestyle changes that we can make to combat

these risks.

One of the biggest culprits that gets us in a caffeine fueled catch-22 is sleep deprivation.

“Insufficient sleep can lead to a weakened immune system,

higher risk of developing diseases, increased irritability,

anxiety, and even weight gain” says Viktoria. Adding that “the more you sleep, the less energy your body will crave to run on “empty.” She recommends working out no later than 3 hours before bed as

an effective way of ensuring better sleeping patterns.

Viktoria also stressed the issue of college weight gain, mentioning how college

stress can lead to overeating

and with fast food chains and vending machines surrounding us, it’s easy to give into temptation. When it comes to fueling your body right, keep your own food handy and minimize processed foods as much as possible. “On-campus cafeterias are a great lunch packing spot where you can pile on much needed veggies and protein, and a small portion of (preferably a gluten free) carbohydrate option…and before giving into the dessert bar or grabbing a bag of chips, always take

fresh fruit to go” recommends Viktoria.

Viktoria is a believer in the Hippocrates’ notion of “letting food be thy medicine,” citing research findings of

specific food groups linked to depression and lethargy.

Such symptoms she claims, “can often be traced back to gluten, sugar or dairy consumption.” Her tailored coaching approach and

support have been instrumental in my journey, and have played a key role helping me discover what works best for me.

I want to encourage you to make more conscious choices, too. Whether it is weight loss or health conditions you struggle with, you have the power to change it for the better.

It’s time to reverse the tides, and make optimized health the new college experience social-norm.

For more information or advice, Viktoria can be reached at 440-313- 5810, or at

About the author:

Chelsea Johnson is a full-time pre-law student at Cleveland State University, and a full-time Human Resources Coordinator at The Dyson Corporation. She’s been an Opinion Staff Writer for Cleveland State’s weekly publication, The Cauldron, for the past two years. She is also in the process of writing her first novel. Her favorite quote is by Oprah Winfrey: “do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”

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