making a healthier lifestyle with small steps

Okay, I know what you're thinking: Is she really about to post another article about how to be healthier just like the hundreds of other internet posts already? Yeah, I am. Except these are easy changes anyone can do each day. So, bear with me, because I've had my fair share of health struggles. It is difficult to find healthy food options in college, and it is difficult to find time (and motivation) to get to the gym. That's why, on days and even weeks when I can't stay on a healthy schedule or make it to the gym, I try to follow these eight rules.

1. Drink water at these specific times and consistently throughout the day

When I first wake up, I drink a glass of water. Before each meal, I drink a glass of water. And an hour before bed, I drink another. First off, this helps me stay hydrated and awake. Second, drinking water before each meal helps control hunger and prevent overeating. Drinking water before bed helps heart health and morning grogginess. Drinking water in the morning helps jump start your metabolism for the day. In addition to drinking at these times, I try to always carry around a water bottle with me and sip water throughout the day.

2. Do not control stress with eating

If you're like me, then when school/life/friends/everything is overwhelming in your life, then you tend to lose a healthy diet and over-indulge on crap. Ice cream is my personal favorite stress food. This is possibly the worst way to handle stress in your life. Most of the time, you are eating when you aren't truly hungry. Not to mention, you probably won't be satisfied by your stress-eating because it doesn't erase the issues in your life. It took me a while to figure out how to manage my stress eating or bored eating sometimes. For me, talking ten minutes to call a friend or family member to get your ind off things works great. I can then come back to reality with a clear mindset. Working out is another great stress-reliever even though it is difficult to get to the gym. Not only do I feel better physically, but mentally, I am able to focus more on conquering my stress. Everyone is different, but finding a way to limit your stress can limit the amount of junk food you eat to compensate for it.

3. Do homework standing up or take walking breaks

Okay…so I do both of these things almost every day. Some days, I just can't focus on my homework while standing up so I opt for walk breaks. I set a timer on my phone for 45 minutes where I focus only on my homework without looking at my phone. When the timer is up, I take a walk. I go to the bathroom, I walk down the hall, I may pop into my neighbor's room to say hi, or even just walk around my room. Sitting for extended periods of time not only makes you gain weight, but it is bad for your back and posture. Walking around or standing up burns more calories, helps strengthen your core muscles, and adds more steps to your day!

4. Get enough sleep

This is one of the most important things you can do for your body no matter where you are in your health journey. You burn a ton more calories in your sleep than you realize. This helps maintain body weight and rejuvenate your muscles. The first half of your sleep re-energizes the body, while the second half rejuvenates the brain. Both are essential in maintaining or losing weight. It is so important to get the right amount of sleep for your body. I get around seven and a half to eight hours a night. Even going to bed 30 minutes earlier helps.

5. Take time to relax

Just like getting enough sleep, taking time to relax helps control stress and enhance performance mentaly and physically. I try and carve out an hour a day to relax or find something I enjoy to do. Sometimes is just watching Netflix and strolling through Instagram, other days it is reading, drawing, or hanging out with my friends.

6. Treat yourself

Ah yes, my favorite. Starving yourself from the foods you love can lead to binge-eating and dissatisfaction. Allowing yourself to slip every once and a while is completely fine and even healthy. Eating right all the time is no fun and too strict if you ask me.

7. Eat veggies at every meal

It may seem obvious, but really try to eat veggies during your meals! I make a small salad to go along with my dinner. It's easy and so so good for you your body. If you don't like salad, try eating hummus/gauc and veggies. I add nuts, guac, and dried fruit to my salads so they taste better and aren't too boring.

8. Don't weigh or put too much pressure on yourself

Just don't. The scale does not mean anything. Muscle weighs more than fat, so often time that number is deceiving. It messes with your head and causes unhealthy thoughts about your body. Focus on feeling good rather than looking good. The scale is STUPID and you shouldn't worry about a number. Count nutrients, not calories!

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