Are you a muncher or a starver during exams?

Dear UeaTers,

It was three years ago when I was sitting in the library, just like you, dreading the upcoming exam period. I had a short attention span coupled with terrible eating habits. When stressed, I ate donuts, muffins, cookies, croissants, chips, and twinkies (okay so I had a sweet tooth!). I was the stereotypical “muncher”. I would study for an hour, daydream for the next hour, eat a couple of cookies, check my Facebook for 30 minutes, go get a slice of pizza, and call it a night. My mouth had to be constantly chewing to make my mind work. Or so I thought!

 

My study-partner, however, was quite opposite. She fretted for two hours, made a “To Do” list, fretted some more, studied an hour, and ate nothing because she felt sick during exams. She was the epitome of a “starver”.

 

At this point, you may want to review your own study habits and figure out if you are a starver or a muncher.

 

On the last day of exams, I (4 lbs heavier) and my friend (4 lbs lighter) would crash, complain, and sleep for a week.

 

One night, two days before my Physics exam, I had my “light-bulb” moment (appropriate timing, no?). I woke up at 6am, went for a 15 minute jog, showered and got myself a nice big breakfast of eggs, oranges, toast and coffee. Suddenly energized, I grabbed a bag of blueberries and opened up the books. By noon, the blueberries were gone, my white t-shirt had one purple smudge, and I was 6 chapters smarter. I took an hour long break, had a nice meal of steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, and chicken breasts, yumm. And lots of water. Another four hours with the books, dinner and 5 more chapters later, I felt like a new man! (err, woman!).

The point of all this is that if I treat my body right, it functions well, specially during exams. On that note, read on for 10 simple ways you can change your eating habits and conquer those exams! 

 

 

  1. Don’t wait until exam week to eat healthy. If your body is used to twinkies twice a day, it will not understand why you are eating an apple instead. You have to give it time and let your body get used to apples! So try to keep your diet healthy throughout the year. Yes you can eat twinkies sometimes, but allow your body to extract the goodness from fruits everyday…that will keep your blood sugar regulated, and you will not feel lightheaded or tired
  2. Keep snacking. Nuts, berries, apricots, raisins, yogurt….eat something small every three hours! Again, it keeps your blood sugar and energy constant.
  3. Try to cut back on coffee. If you must have coffee, go with decaf. Cappuccinos and lattes are the devil. Instead, ask them to fill half your cup with milk and top it with decaf coffee and very little sugar. Or try teas. They keep your stomach feeling like it’s full.
  4. Do sleep. Eight hours, ten hours, whatever is normal for you. There is nothing as important as getting your daily sleep fix.
  5. Drink a lot of water, Keep a bottle close at hand, and take a few sips every fifteen minutes.
  6. Relax! Worrying will not make things go any smoother. Try meditation or yoga for a few minutes each day.
  7. Exercise, for a few minutes each day. It helps bring up the motivation levels, clears out your head, and keeps your heart smiling (I mean pumping).
  8. Do not skip meals. Even if you are a starver, you have to eat. Don’t let stress get in the way of your appetite. Your three main meals a day should be spaced out…and try to not look at a book while eating. A meal should be a way to wind down, treat yourself to something yummy, and not think!
  9. Chew gum. It keeps your mouth busy and has very little or no calories.

Best of luck!!