10 Reasons To Be Healthy While You're Young - Now, Not Later

10 Reasons To Be Healthy While You're Young - Now, Not Later

Starting your health journey now can have major payoffs later.
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Being healthy can be an afterthought for many people in their teens, twenties, or even thirties. It doesn't help when you add a busy schedule and greasy, cheap food that is readily accessible only a hop and skip, or a drive and park away. Add the fact that you're ballin' on a budget and you can pretty much assume the recipe for disaster will be ready to come out of the oven.

This being said, I tried to come up with some genuine reasons and benefits of being and staying healthy while you're still young. Some of them are pretty obvious and straightforward, but some may be new things to consider the next time you have to make that decision between a greasy hamburger and fries, or a hearty salad with grilled chicken. And let's be real, you're allowed to spoil yourself every once in awhile. I am the last person to reprimand someone for enjoying their food.

1. More energy for now and later

It won't normally be a sudden burst of energy when you first start working out and eating healthy on a regular basis, but you will gradually notice that you have more and more unexplained energy. And we all could use more energy in our everyday lives. After you get over that little bit of mental and physical soreness that comes with getting accustomed to eating healthy and working out, you'll feel that extra kick that you need to get you through the day. If you start to live a healthy lifestyle now while you're young and have more energy, it will be so much easier than trying to start it later on when you're older and more set in your ways.

2. Improve your health for the future

If you get in the habit of being healthy now, it will put your body at a lower risk for health problems and possible diseases later on, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Remember, skinny does not mean healthy just as a little extra fat does not equate to being unhealthy. There's so much that goes on internally in your body that is affected by what you eat and how often you are working out. Once you reach a healthy equilibrium within your body, it will function more and more like the fine-tuned piece of machinery that it is meant to be. #beastmode

3. It becomes a force of habit

After you've made yourself follow a schedule that is healthy for your body, it will become such an unconscious effort that it won't require mindful consideration. It essentially becomes a lifestyle and no longer as much of a chore. You become so accustomed to eating certain things and not throwing away your diet and great workouts for a few minutes of greasy satisfaction. You start to become proud of who you are and how far you've come.

4. It can provide you with more confidence

You start to look at your body and yourself in a whole new light. It becomes a work in progress that you're always striving for. It keeps it interesting for you and you can go shopping or wear that old tank top with confidence! Not to mention, you get to pride yourself on how far you've come when you show up to your next high school reunion, or when you show up to your job on a daily basis with more confidence in the way you look.

5. You will feel better and more refreshed

Since you will be consistently replenishing your body with proper nutrition and the right kind of calories along with working out on a regular basis, you will notice that your body will be able to do its normal functions with a lot more ease. Racing up the stairs to drop off your groceries so that you can get to your appointment on time? No problem. Your skin will thank you for allowing it to insulate itself by breaking out in a sweat and getting rid of those nasty toxins in your body. Add on a couple more years and your skin and body will tend to reflect your healthy eating habits and lifestyle, making you feel and look younger.

6. You tend to gravitate towards healthier habits

You become so accustomed to being healthy that you get on a certain schedule of eating certain foods and working out that you focalize your day on it. It becomes the fabric of your days that you plan around. Therefore, you tend to do other healthy things that can optimize your newly acquired healthy habits, such as drinking more water to stay hydrated and going to bed earlier to get that extra sleep you so desperately need after that hard workout. If you set yourself up for a healthy schedule now, it will be so much easier to do the same later on when you're thrown into the middle of a busy career or whatever life may throw your way.

7. You meet positive people with similar interests

Once you get yourself in a healthy schedule, you tend to surround yourself with people that are supportive or have the same kind of healthy habits. You normally end up making friends or spending more time with people that are also interested in being and staying healthy. They will likely gravitate towards that new salad bar rather than hitting up that new bar down the way for drinks after you've both put in a good two hours at the gym. These will likely be some of the friends that you will carry on with you as you try to figure out this crazy thing we call life.

8. It pays off on your mental well-being

Working out can be one of the greatest stress relievers you can experience. It allows you to take all that stress you have acquired throughout the day or week and vet it towards something more helpful than just being frustrated. Being able to take all that stress out while you run, lift weights, or do yoga can allow you to peacefully release all that steam. The less stress you have now while you're young will have huge implications on your overall standard of living and mental well-being later on. If you can find a healthy way to release that stress now, it won't be such a hassle in the future when new issues and things hit your schedule.

9. You attain greater willpower and mental ability

It honestly takes so much self-discipline and mental strength to consistently eat healthy and workout on a regular basis, especially in the beginning. But the more and more you exercise these habits, the more it will become second nature and will likely pay off in the future. You will be able to tell yourself, as much as I really want those cookies at the end of the day, I really don't need them. That in itself can be super challenging, but so much of it is mental. If you are able to get yourself into a healthy mindset on a daily basis, it makes all the difference on your thought process and daily habits for now and in the future, which also allows you to become stronger mentally.

10. You become a positive role model for family and friends

You did it! You forced yourself to be healthy and you're sure proud of yourself for it. And so are your friends and family. By proving that you can do it, you show them that they can also make steps towards bettering themselves and their own lives. You become that role model for people and therefore become a positive influence that people like to surround themselves with. Become your own superman or superwoman!

Happy and healthy living is the best kind of living. Remember, you only have one body; might as well take good care of it.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Mitchell

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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