My freshman year at LSU, I lived in the dorm. I was on the sorority (Phi Mu) meal plan. And I was on a mission to be a Golden Girl. Instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost the freshman 10.
In high school I danced 5 days a week. I was on the swim team. And I ate mostly healthfully. But I wasn't obsessed with my weight/body (thank goodness) and I didn't "workout" (although I was very active). So when someone (Tari!) told me to "tone up" (i.e. lose 10 pounds) if I wanted to be a GG, I got right on it. I started working out at the LSU REC...this is when I became a runner. I continued dancing (2-3 times a week). And I started learning how to be a more conscious eater...or so I thought.
I was like any other college/high school girl. I turned to magazines for nutrition advice. I avoided fat like the plague (butter, peanut butter, nuts, avocado, cheese). I ate dessert VERY sparingly. When I found out that Sugar Busters said carrots were too sugary, I started picking them out of my meals.
I had yogurt with a little cereal breakfast, a salad or sandwich for lunch (unless the hot meal at the sorority house looked tempting), and fruit for a snack (this was the beginning of my apple-a-day habit). I worked at the kinesiology department on campus where I treated myself to a few Hershey kisses from the candy bowl on most days and started drinking coffee (with non-dairy creamer...OMG, what was I thinking). Dinner was at the Phi Mu house too, unless it was a dance night and then I would get a smoothie from Smoothie King (vanilla slim-n-trim...tastes like my homemade banana smoothie).
Its not that I didn't eat enough that year. I never got too skinny, but I think the facts that I was losing weight, asking for cheese-less pizza, and fussing when anyone pre-buttered my bread scared my mom. Another issue was that I felt guilty when I ate something "bad". Not a good food relationship. But I didn't know any better! I had ZERO nutrition education and was determined to get in shape for April...and I did!
Sophomore & Junior Years
At the end of my freshman year, I made Golden Girls. I continued eating the same way...it worked, right? For the next two years I lived in the Phi Mu house and followed the same eating pattern: low-fat, minimal dessert, lots of salads (I added carrots back!). I changed my breakfast to cereal (part cheerios, part granola, banana, skim) because that was the best breakfast choice at the house...on pancake day I would indulge :) I loved the salad bar they set up at lunch and would make a great salad with lots of veggies, a little pasta, turkey, and dressing (full fat...I've never been much of a light salad dressing girl). Dinner was the same...salad and whatever the house was serving. I treated myself to Friday cookies every Friday (the cooks made us a big batch of the best chocolate chip cookies for the weekend...no wonder weight gain is common in college!).
Fourth Year and On...
After my third year of school, a lot of things changed: I moved into a house with one of my friends, became the GG captain/choreographer, and changed majors. I had lost my interest in going to med school and decided dietetics was for me. This was when I slowly started learning REAL nutrition. I had more control over what I was eating. I had to grocery shop for all my meals for the first time. I had to cook for the first time! I took a cooking class as part of my new curriculum and fell in love with it!
My diet didn't change that much. I either had yogurt with fruit or oatmeal with nuts and fruit for breakfast. Lunch was usually a turkey and cheese panini, sometimes with baked chips. For snack I would eat fruit, a granola bar, or yogurt. Unless I cooked something, salads were my quick go-to dinner. I cooked chicken breasts for the entire week. I made chicken salad a lot too. What else did I cook? Chicken and spaghetti, chicken enchiladas, stewed chicken, pasta primavera, fajitas, cold sesame noodles, chicken marsala, French dip sandwiches...nothing particularly healthy (or unhealthy for that matter).
A common tread though all of my college years (under-grad and post-grad)...minimal processed food. I didn't believe in it then and still don't. Food full of chemicals can not be good for you. The one exception to this was artificial sweetener. While I didn't use it daily, I didn't avoid it either. My yogurt had aspartame in it. I used Splenda in my hot tea. If I got an iced latte it usually had sugar-free syrup. And occasionally I drank a diet Dr. Pepper. But that would all change once I moved to Houston.