10 Realistic Tips for College Students Wanting To Live A Healthier Lifestyle

10 Realistic Tips for College Students Wanting To Live A Healthier Lifestyle

Because who ACTUALLY drinks a gallon of water a day??

Whether you're fresh into college or fresh out of college, the "Freshman Fifteen" is a real thing. However, it isn't the end of the world. To get back in shape and love your body again (or just rediscover a healthy balance), here are ten realistic tips for college students looking to get back on track!

1. Drink half a glass of water every hour.

I know from experience it is quite difficult to drink eight glasses of water a day (especially when you don't drink eight glasses of anything in a day), but if you cut the water consumption into intervals, it makes it much easier to get through. Even if you're only awake for twelve hours, that's still six glasses of water, and I'm sure that's more than what you usually drink, anyway.

(Also, always order water when you go out to eat. It will save you calories and money!)

2. Swap chips for popcorn.

My whole world changed when I discovered Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP. Not only are her Sea Salt Popcorn and Lightly Sweet Popcorn healthier alternatives for fried potato chips and other sweets at 35 calories per cup, but when you need a fix, she also offers eleven additional flavors guaranteed to blow your mind and your taste buds.

(You can find BOOMCHICKAPOP small bags at Walmart and Target, sometimes on sale at Crest, or you can order bigger bags via Amazon.)

3. Wear fun socks when you work out.

I'm a former college athlete, and one of my favorite parts of game day was wearing my fun socks under my pants. We also had crazy sock contests at morning workouts to lighten the mood. Socks are cheap, and they become a motivator to go to the gym, so you can show them off. (You could even have a weekly contest with your workout partner to see who buys lunch!)

4. Have a vegetable with every meal at lunch and dinner.

As much as I wish otherwise, french fries aren't a vegetable. However, that doesn't mean you should eat a burger or chicken nuggets by themselves. Buy some frozen veggies, keep them in the freezer, and then make a batch for the week to go with your meals. You could also buy some fresh and dip them in hummus or light ranch as a snack.

5. Invest in a baby crockpot.

A one and a half to two-quart crockpot costs around $20, and it makes just the perfect amount of food for you (with leftovers) or you plus one. A crockpot is ideal for college students on the go because you throw the ingredients in, turn the dial, and you don't have to do anything else until it's time to eat!

6. Work out when and how it is convenient for you.

I use workouts in the morning as a way to wake up, and I like to get them out of the way first thing. However, if you dread when your alarm goes off, don't workout in the morning. When you're up at midnight binge watching Netflix, you could use that time to hit the gym instead.

As well, don't feel like you need to be at the gym for hours on end (unless that's what you enjoy). You can get just as much done in a concentrated 30-45 minutes as you can stretching out your workouts.

7. Swap out regular pasta and bread for whole grain.

Bread and pasta aren't great for you anyway, but whole grain is definitely better for you than white. It's less processed, and it provides more nutrients than regular bread/pasta. Throw in a can of tuna, and you have a quick, easy, and tasty pasta salad with good carbs, protein, and fats (or you can add a boiled egg and some light mayo to the tuna for the same effect on a sandwich!).

8. Get your sleep.

I know this is easier said than done, but I also know you can find ways to get more sleep. Whether it's a fifteen-minute nap in between classes or going to bed an hour earlier, sleep is essential for your physical and mental health and productivity.

9. Have two cheat days.

To be completely honest, it just isn't realistic for me to go six days straight with no mishaps (and I know I'm not alone!). Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to have two days a week to treat yourself. It's so much easier to go two or three days with a break, and this personally helped me stay consistent instead of having a cravings meltdown on healthy day four or five.

10. Moderate your alcohol intake.

I won't even lie to you... I love wine. However, I can't drink a bottle by myself every night and expect nothing to happen. You can go out with your friends on the weekends, or have a drink at home after a rough day of class, but be mindful of how much you put in your body. You can overdrink your calories just as much as you can overeat them.

So college friends, take care of yourselves. Find your balance and get back on track to a healthier you. You can do it!

Cover Image Credit: Work It Daily

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When You Grow Up Hating Your Own Body

I may have sprouted early, but I wasn’t an early bloomer.

When my father told my brother we were a family of early bloomers, I didn’t realize that applied to me too.

In the fifth grade I received mother nature’s call, in the sixth grade my chest began to grow, and by the seventh grade, my hips had grown wide- before it became an asset (no pun intended).

But as my body developed fast, my metabolism slowed.

In the sixth grade I felt incredibly fat when my friends compared weights and I was a whopping 135. At 13, I felt ugly when I put on pants that were size 10.

Later, my biggest size would be a 17.

I had a hard time finding boots that fit over my wide, naturally muscular calves. Any structured shirt or blazer with padded shoulders made me look intimidatingly, and almost hilariously, buff.

My crush sat next to me in alphabetical order in gym class, and I was so embarrassed by my strong-looking legs that I once sat on them for 20 minutes. Just so he wouldn’t see me for what I was.

I hated shopping for pants, but I hated skirts just as much. They looked so wrong on my thick frame.

When I went through my tomboy phase, I resented my body further. I always asked for extra-large shirts and I wore them, nearly dresses, to cover the curves on my body. Too curvy to be a tomboy, too muscular to be feminine.

I may have sprouted early, but I wasn’t an early bloomer.

When you grow up hating your own body, you become insecure in a way where you become blind to to your own, unique beauty.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Tips to Destress When Stressed

These ten tips are suggestions to find your zen.

Have you ever been stressed about being stressed? Or maybe you're someone who doesn't get stressed easily. Either end of the spectrum or anywhere in between, these tips can help you cope with your stress.

1. Exercise

I know it's cliche, but exercise is proven to release endorphins which help you to "feel good". Exercise also helps to lose weight, which in turn will help you de-stress.

2. Listen to Music

Listening to your favorite jams is a great way to distract you from whatever else you're worried about. Calming music may help you sleep, which odds are (especially if you're in college) you need. Dance it out! Let yourself go and be careless for even a moment.

3. Find your happy place - literally.

For me, the beach is where I find my zen. Hearing those waves crash and digging my toes into the sand are instant relaxers for me. Laying out in the sun and letting a warm breeze swing by is my ideal day.

4. Yoga

Yoga is a great way to either ground or lift yourself, depending on your needs. Yoga helps to improve flexibility and the respiratory system. Even taking deep yoga breaths in a stressful situation can calm you down.

5. Watch a Movie/Read a Book

Letting yourself escape into a different world is just one way to preoccupy your worried mind. Getting caught up in the emotion and characters may help you to relieve your own stress. Sometimes a good cry or a hefty laugh is all you need.

6. Drink tea

Warm drinks and foods such as tea and oatmeal are healthy, easy ways to de-stress and calm down.

7. Sleep

With all the work you're probably putting in to make you stressed, you're most likely lacking sleep. Take a break and catch some z's. Working/studying while tired will lead to sloppy work, and sleep actually helps you to memorize what you learned that day.

8. Go out

Get out of the house. Hang out with your friends and family. Humans are social creatures, so locking yourself in your room, office, or library for hours on end helps no one. Talking to those you're closest to may help you to find a solution to your stressor.

9. Treat yourself

Maybe it's a spa day with your girls or maybe it's catching a baseball game. Remember that you are only human. We are not perfect and it is okay to treat yourself every now and again.

10. Breathe

Everything is going to be okay. Remember to pause and take a breath. The work will get done, you will graduate, and life will work itself out.

Remember that it is okay to take a break. Time away from your task is not giving up, and you will have plenty of time to finish what you started. Sleeping, eating, and exercising are all essential in avid learning and a healthy life. Replacing those necessities with worries, studying, or extra hours will lead to greater stress. Take a break. Enjoy this life.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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