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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Sorry I'm A Size 00

But I'm not really sorry.
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My whole life I’ve been thin—which is kind of an understatement. Every time I go to the doctor I get the same “you’re underweight” lecture that I’ve heard every year since I was able to form memories. I’ve never really felt insecure about my weight, I love being able to eat everything and not gain a single pound. Since my freshman year of high school I’ve probably only gained 8 pounds and I’m now a sophomore in college. Of course, in school, there were rumors that I was anorexic or bulimic, but everyone who knew me knew that was far from the truth. I’m now 19, 5’2, and I still have yet to break 100 pounds on the scale. It seems that there is a lot of skinny shaming going around and to me, one of the main contributors to that is the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this because skinny girls get all the praise and other body types are neglected. That’s really not true, though. While loving other body types, you are tearing down skinny girls. Why is it okay to do that to skinny girls but not to other body types? Why is it okay to say “only dogs like bones” or say “every body type is beautiful” until you see a model's abs, or ribs, or thigh gap and then tear them down because they’re “unnaturally” skinny?



The point I’m trying to make is that, as a naturally skinny girl, I have never shamed anyone for their body type, yet I go every day and get at least two comments about my weight. I’m always the skinny girl, the toothpick, but I’m not Jessica. Yeah, I’m a size 00. Get over it. If you have an issue with my body and feel like my body is disgusting to you, don’t look at it. I know that I’m healthy and I don’t need your input when my body just naturally burns calories fast. I don’t have an eating disorder and never have. I am real beauty though, and I know that because I’m comfortable in my own skin. So maybe the real issue is that we as a society have been shoving certain body types down our daughters’ throats so they begin to romanticize models that have certain standards that they have to meet, who work hard for the bodies that they have, and are making a hell of a lot more money than most of the people discussing why they look emaciated while what they’re actually looking at is the photoshopped product.

I’m not going to apologize for being skinny when that is just how my body is, I can’t help it. So please, stop tearing my body down while trying to bring your body up. You can praise your body without shaming skinny girls. Shaming me for being thin does not make you better than the man that shamed your body, just as me shaming you for being curvy does not make me better than the man that shamed my body. As women, we need to love each other because we are the only ones who truly understand each other.


Cover Image Credit: Victoria's Secret Untouched

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Please Know That Being Diagnosed With PCOS Is Not The Same As Living With It

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2018, but it wasn't until months later that I realized what it’s actually like living with it everyday.

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In October 2017, tired of counting calories and never seeing the scale move, I decided to try the latest fad diet: Keto.

It worked.

I lost almost 40 pounds in half the time it had taken to lose 20. I had lost nearly 10 inches from waist and hips. I went from a size 18 to a size 12.

Getting into ketosis was hard, but once I was there, I felt incredible: better mental clarity and focus, astronomical amounts of energy, regular body functions. Don't get me wrong, this diet is hard. No carbs, no colorful vegetables, no pasta. The struggle was real. But what it was doing for my body was worth it.

Except for one little thing: my periods had lost their minds. I'm talking bleeding for three weeks straight, no break. Coming and going in particular pattern, sometimes twice a month. Side note: this is not normal. In the world of Keto, it's supposed to help exponentially with fertility and hormone balances; people use this diet as a way to reverse hormone imbalances, PCOS, and infertility. This was virtually unheard of in all of my support groups.

Months and months go by with no relief. My doctor can't figure out why everything is so wonky. She takes me off the pill and things get better - slightly. Any improvement at this point was a victory.

She finally gets my ultrasounds back and she says "Well that's a surprise!" Cue my questioning look of confusion. "Umm care to share?" "Your ovaries have the characteristic look of PCOS. But you don't have any of the usual symptoms. I'm guessing the Keto diet was helping in it's own way. I recommend staying on the diet, let nature re-regulate your natural hormones, and we will re-evaluate in a few months."

I was frustrated, but this was totally do-able. I had been living this lifestyle for months, so I didn't foresee it as an issue. But then my kidneys starting reacting to the diet, and that doctor recommended I come off it. Obviously I wasn't going to jeopardize my health, so I started a low carb version of the Mediterranean diet.

I went in fully expecting to gain some weight back, because I was reintroducing carbs when I had gone largely without them for over a year. I knew that this would happen, and I didn't let myself get discouraged when the scale started going forward.

What I did not expect was to have my PCOS start running lose with my entire life and sanity.

Don't get me wrong — my periods were normal again, but everything else went AWOL. My hormones were going up and down of their own volition, we are talking sobbing hysterically over a butterfly commercial one minute and then fuming with anger over a car ad the next.

I started experiencing pelvic pain that feels like cramps only not all the time and without rhyme or reason.

My hair became uncontrollably oily to the point where I had to wash it everyday like clockwork; it started to thin and fall out.

I also started getting darker hair everywhere. I'm naturally an incredibly fair-skinned person so having black hair anywhere stands out like a sore thumb.

I felt like I wasn't in control of anything going on with my body. I felt like a hairy, unattractive monster. Everything that made me feel attractive and desirable was slowly being taken away from me piece by piece.

I had been living with PCOS for nearly six months, but I hadn't realized what it was like to actually live with it. I thought it was just irregular periods, but it is so much more than just a weird period.

I went back to the doctor, and she explained to me again how PCOS works, and how she didn't think traditional treatment options were the best thing for me. "Go back on the Keto diet. You were having incredible success with managing your symptoms. Go back to that."

Going back has not been easy. When I first started Keto, it wasn't easy, but I got into it quickly. I've been trying since January 12th to get back into it, and it hasn't worked.

I'm now in a place where I need to do it — for my health, for my sanity, for my self-esteem — and I physically can't. I do exactly everything the same as before, and it's not working. I'm trying to move away from the mentality of doing it for weight loss, and move toward positive thinking about how it's what's best for my body and my health.

My PCOS has forced me to have militant control over everything I eat. I can't simply enjoy food anymore. Everything that I chose to eat directly relates back to my PCOS and what that particular food can do for me. I think about everything that I put into my body, and the potential it has for either healing my body or harming it.

I see a piece of cake and I smell it, and picture in my mind what it tastes like. But I know that if I eat that piece of cake, I will bloat, get a stomach ache, and have to start back from square one the next day.

I cut out the carbs. I say no to cake. No potatoes. No pasta. I eat only green vegetables. I drink coffee that has nothing but heavy cream. I try to do intermittent fasting for 15 hours a day.

And I hope that it works. I hope that today will be the day I can get my life back on track. That today will be the day Keto works its magic.

I hope.

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