5 Ways to Come Back a Healthier You
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5 Ways to Come Back a Healthier You

5 Ways to Come Back a Healthier You
Michelle Manning

I used to think that if I exercised, I could eat whatever I wanted and still stay thin...Sophomore year showed me otherwise.

I was unhappy with the way I looked and felt. I tried extreme diets in the past, but I could never stick with them.

In order to solve this problem, I had to identity how it happened and how I could fix it. I identified my five worst habits that I picked up at school and found ways to get over them. Hopefully after reading this, you too will be able to start making those changes in your life that you can continue once you get back to school.

1)  Diet Coke Addiction. When I lived in my sorority house, I had easy access to Diet Coke with our soda machine. I assumed that since it was “diet,” I was making a healthy choice. Instead, I was just putting a ton of artificial junk into my body and not hydrating enough.

The Fix: I slowly weaned myself off soda this summer. I started by only having one a day. I started preferring water over it since it actually quenched my thirst and didn’t make me feel bloated.  This decrease in my caffeine consumption helped calm my jitters and fall asleep faster at night.

Do you want to drink more water, but get bored of the taste? If so, add fruits and vegetables to your water. Drinking cucumber water can actually decrease bloating, improve skin elasticity, and even heal a hangover. If you don’t like the taste of cucumber, strawberries and lemons are also great choices. Make sure that if you’re drinking water with produce it you’re only refilling it a couple times before replacing it with new produce so you’re still getting the nutrients.

2)     2) Sporadic Exercise. Most college kids claim they simply don’t have time to exercise. I used to think that if I didn’t have enough time for an hour long workout, it wasn’t worth it. So I would only workout at most 2 times a week, sometimes less in the winter. Because my body wasn’t getting used to the activity, I always felt sore the next day and would wait a while before working out again.

The Fix: I made it my mission to exercise at least 20 minutes a day this summer. That way, it became a habit instead of a random activity. To get new workout ideas I started following a lot of fitness blogs and Instagram accounts. One of my favorite accounts is @glistenfit. The account is done by a personal trainer who has demonstrations of some of the workouts on each post. She’s also posts pre and post workout recipe ideas. Pinterest is also a great place to find workouts that can be done without a gym.

I also started running every day. While it may not be the most “fun” workout, running definitely shows great results. If you want to become a better runner but hate it, I recommend building up slowly by setting mini goals for yourself. Try running for 5 minutes one day, walking for 20 after and then the next day try 10. This gradual build up will increase your endurance and help you burn fat.

A key part of making exercise a habit you can stick to is keeping it fresh. If your workouts are monotonous and boring, you won’t stick to them once you get back to school.  One way to make working out more fun is doing it with a buddy. Having someone to work out with offer can serve as motivation, and you can hold each other accountable for sticking with it.

3)     3) Constantly Checking the scale. One of my biggest issues was weighing myself on the time on my friend’s scale. I would count almost every day, and when I wasn’t happy with the number I just gave up.

The Fix: We ended up deciding to not buy a scale at our house this summer. I would lonely weigh myself every few weeks at the hospital which helped me track myself without going insane. I also focus more on how my clothes it and how I felt, which are more important than the number on the scale.

One way to track your weight loss without scale is taking mirror selfies (but please don’t post them to any social media) every few weeks. You’ll be able to see results better since muscle is denser than fat.

4) Awful Food Choices. From late-night snacking to second helpings of fried Fridays, it’s no surprise I needed to make a serious change in what I ate once I went home. I steered clear from salads or other “health” food because I couldn’t fathom how they could possibly taste good and fill me up.

The Fix: I started experimenting in the kitchen and tried making a salad with almost every meal. It became a new hobby to come up with new combinations of dressing, lettuce and toppings. I also would eat the salad to fill up on veggies. I also starting using smaller plates. That was I was actually using correct portions instead of giving myself double.

If you want to eat healthier but still want tasty variety, try going on Pinterest. I usually don’t do every recipe verbatim but it’s a great place to get inspired to create a healthy recipe or learn how to substitute fattening ingredients with healthier ones.

5)     5) Lazy Down Time. At school, if I ever had down time, I would just sit on my bed and watch Netflix, usually with snacks. This was not only a waste of my time, but extremely sedentary.

The Fix: Instead of just sitting around with my friends watching TV, I started going out and moving around. From shopping to playing lacrosse in my front yard, I was getting out of my house and being active without feeling life I was exercising.

Just remember that when you are making changes in your routine to make it about building good habits and not about weight loss. Honestly, you won’t see major results in the first week. Or the second. But if you work really hard to make serious changes to your everyday life and replace the old bad habits to good ones, it will become second nature to you once you get back to school. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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