The Unbelievably Easy Ways To Take The 'Hell' Out Of 'Healthy'

The Unbelievably Easy Ways To Take The 'Hell' Out Of 'Healthy'

"Why you gotta go and make things so complicated?"
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"Healthy" as a word has numerous connotations, varying from "someone who works out a lot" to "someone who eats cleanly all the time" and everything in between. However, due to the fluidity of its nature, achieving what is known as "healthy" can be confusing and intimidating.

Learning how to diet and exercise can prove to be a difficult task. Whether you want to build muscle, lose some weight and tone up, or just feel better, the world of health can be an overwhelming one. I ask, what about health has to be so damn difficult? Coming from the guy who has been on both sides of the health sphere, if I could go back and tell my previous self one thing, it would be "don't overcomplicate things and do your research."

1. Do stuff

Woah, no way! By "do stuff" I mean do what it is physically that you can find enjoyment in. If it's running or swimming, consistently run and swim. Don't get so caught up in following guidelines that it discourages you to actually do the damn thing!

If it's lifting it's as simple as ________ stuff (fill in the blanks). Press stuff (chest and shoulders), pull stuff (back/biceps), pick up stuff (legs/back), squat stuff (legs), stretch stuff (mobility), push stuff (chest/triceps). You can figure out HIIT, sumo or standard, body splits, bulking and cutting, bodybuilding v. CrossFit, rep ranges, and everything else along the way.

2. Diet and die by it

Everything you put into your body acts as a fuel for your body-- recovery, energy, mood, they are all affected by the food you consume. If you want to lose weight, it's a simple equation. Calories consumed < calories burned. Once you determine how your weight is affected by differing amounts of calories you consume, you can figure out exactly how many calories it takes to gain or lose weight.

No matter if you're trying to gain some muscle or lose a muffin top, clean eating is never a bad idea. There are thousands of articles out there telling you which foods are healthy, and another thousand dedicated to foods and products to help you out. Don't get caught up in the hype, because health can be simple. Consuming a high protein diet has consistently proven to be a great way to stave hunger and build muscle.

The best dieters also learn about macros (macronutrients). Don't consume a lot of calories if you're not getting the right kind of macros out of the food. For example, a 400 calorie muffin from Starbucks is only going to yield a large quantity of fat (not even fiber because it's not whole grain).

However, a 400 calorie omelet made with 4 eggs and cheese is packed with healthy fats and protein. Food is an investment, and calories are the funds in your bank account. Invest intelligently.

3. Don't get caught up in others' successes. Focus on yourself.

Social media is a beautiful monster. Everyone loves to post the highlight reels of their lives on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Because of this, it can be easy to start comparing yourself to other people. Do yourself a favor... don't.

Cover Image Credit: Austin Goodwin

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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're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Not Going To Lie, I’m A 'Little-stitious'

Michael Scott showed me that it's okay to think you have the power.

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If you're like me and you've watched "The Office" 7 times all the way through, then you'd remember the episode where Michael Scott hit Meredith with his car. This episode happens to be my favorite because while there are countless lines from all 9 seasons that are very relatable, this episode holds what I believe is the best office quote.

"I'm not superstitious, but I am a little-stitious".

In my eyes, there has never been such a perfect description of myself seen in "The Office", because I'm extremely a little-stitious. However, my little-stitions don't have anything to do with walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors or having a black cat cross your path. I wouldn't even say that mine are true superstitions, they're basically me being overly aware of my actions on a certain day and thinking that if I mess up the routine then the world will cave in.

For example, I have a necklace that my sister gave me that I truly believe I have to wear to every day or bad things will happen. And while I've had bad things happen to me while wearing the necklace, I've had worse things happen when I'm not.

Coincidence? Probably. Is that going to stop me from making sure that the necklace is around my neck every day? No.

However, the days where I become the most little-stitious are test days. You don't mess with test days. I have the same PJs that I wear the night before any test, and during finals week if they get washed, it's bad luck. Necklaces on test day also play an important role. On top of the necklace that my sister gave me, I also wear a necklace that my parents got me. A few days before one of my Spanish tests earlier in the semester, the necklace my parents got me unclasped and one of the charms fell off. When I realized that in class, my first thought was… "I'm going to fail my Spanish test on Friday if I don't find it". I retraced all my steps and finally found it lying outside the door to my room. I passed my Spanish test.

The morning of a Spanish test is different than any other test. I have to listen to Spanish music. However, the day of my Spanish final, I forgot. And while I didn't fail the test, it was my lowest test grade of the semester.

The issue with a lot of my little-stitions is that everyone thinks that it really just comes down to coincidence. And if I'm being quite honest, they probably are. But that doesn't change the fact that in my mind I believe that the only way I'm acting as my 100% best self, is when I follow my routines. They bring me good luck because even though I've done pretty bad on some tests when I've worn the necklaces, worn my hair in a bun, worn the PJs the night before, worn black socks, I didn't fail. Even tests that I truly believe I did fail, I still got by on. Days where I've sat in my room crying, I realize that I'm not wearing my necklace, so I put it on and everything gets a little brighter.

There's nothing wrong with having a little-stitions, because even if in the end they don't truly make a difference, they do in my mind. Without my little-stitions, I don't think that I would wake up every morning and be prepared to start the day.

Or maybe my necklace and clothes just have magical powers? I haven't ruled that out yet.

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