Years ago when I was in high school, I struggled with living a healthy lifestyle. I was quite active, considering I was on the dance team at my high school and took ballet and hip hop out of school. Even though I was often exercising, I was eating awfully. I was eating pizza for dinner regularly and drinking soda to keep me awake through my late night dance classes. Although I was never considered "fat" and people would call me crazy for wanting to lose weight, I just wasn't comfortable in my own skin. As the years went on, I found small life style changes that completely changed my body and the way I live. I started working out, eating healthier, and being more positive about myself. As a sophomore in college, I can say it is strenuous to balance studying, fun, and working out but it is possible. Here are 5 small tips to help you stay on track with your health.
1. Drink up!
Water has plenty of benefits and keeps you hydrated. It is your best friend if you're trying to lose weight. It replaces your sugary, high calorie lattes and sodas for zero calories, fat, and carbs. We often mistake hunger for dehydration, drinking a glass of water will re-hydrate you and make you forget about that cupcake you grabbed to snack on. Drinking water can clear your skin and benefit your digestive system. It flushes out toxins and helps you digest food properly. If you can't stand the taste of plain water, you could try infused water. Add a couple lemons, cucumbers, or strawberries to your water bottle. (yum!)
2. Eat as clean as possible.
Dining halls can be a pain when your looking for healthy choices. For breakfast try to limit the bagels, lean towards the fruit bar or the yogurt bar and fill your bowl up. For lunch and dinner always look for protein, fresh veggies like broccoli and lean meats like chicken will keep you fuller for longer. Try to avoid late night eating in your dorm, those Doritos are doing more harm than good. Eating three small meals a day with snacks in between will keep you full without starving. (I steal the apples and bananas from my dining hall, perfect snack.)
For a person who likes being healthy, I hate exercising. Treadmills, ellipticals, and weights can get boring easily. I always suggest taking the stairs, you're burning calories while walking to class and giving your legs a pump at the same time. Even though I hate working out I still do it, having a good playlist can help boost your mood and motivation (as can new workout clothes). I recommend doing thirty minutes of cardio and some weight training three times a week to keep your body challenged and in shape. Working out can help you stay on track with eating right too because do you really want to spoil your hard work in the gym for a stale dining hall cookie? I didn't think so.
Sleep is so important to our bodies and minds. The average adult needs between 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to function properly. To sleep better at night, maintain a consistent daily schedule. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time everyday. Try to avoid napping during the day as this could keep you up at night. Reducing your caffeine and food intake three hours before bed will help you fall asleep quicker. Sleeping in a dark and quiet room will also trick your body into sleep mode, so try to send your goodnight texts a little earlier. (Sorry, mom.)
5. Be positive.
Being happy and believing in yourself will make you want to be a better person. To change your habits into a healthy lifestyle you need to change your priorities. It's not easy and it doesn't happen overnight but it is doable. Start everyday off on a positive note to better yourself. Following these tips and making one small change a month will help you be a better you in no time.