Your Guide To A Healthier Lifestyle: Eating and Exercise
Should I order the pasta instead of salad? Will one spin class really make a difference? These are all trying decisions when trying to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Besides reducing the risk of obesity and other health issues, regular exercise can improve your confidence and complexion. Whether you’re looking for a full transformation or more of an adjustment in your eating and drinking habits, these tips and suggestions will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
This is the hardest aspect, especially for me. But the most important tip is to be consistent in your diet and exercise. Signing up for one HIIT workout at the leach or occasionally eating vegetables will not really affect your body and overall health. The only way to ensure meeting your fitness goals is to hold your self accountable and be as consistent as possible in making healthy choices. The idea of eating healthy and working out every single day can be intimidating, so I try to take everything one step at a time. But being consistent doesn’t always mean boring.
When I find myself struggling to make it to the gym or bored with my usual routine, I like to workout with a friend. Working out with a friend can make getting in shape much more exciting and fun to do while sticking to your fitness goals. The idea of committing to regular workouts with a close friend sounds much more enjoyable and will help you achieve a healthy lifestyle together! It’s also a great way to keep each other accountable and to ensure you meet your goals.
Don’t be afraid to cheat
Most people think that meeting your health/fitness goals means absolutely no pizza or junk food. This is far from true though. I’ve found that it’s important to incorporate cheat meals in order to be consistently healthy. Everyone has cravings now and then, so ignoring these cravings will only result in binge eating later on and straining yourself from your desires. While it is important to make healthy choices most of the time, no one’s perfect- as it should be. When it comes to cheating on your diet, it’s important to have cheat meals instead of cheat days. An entire day of unhealthy eating will likely upset your stomach and make you feel sluggish.
On the other hand, getting ice cream with a friend now and then or having a Chick-fil-a breakfast will be much less detrimental to reaching your health goals. When I’m experiencing a craving but badly want to ignore it, I sometimes look for a healthier alternative to my craving. For example, if I am craving Chick-fil-a, I will opt for a grilled sandwich with fries. I know that the fried sandwich will leave me feeling gross and likely cause my skin to breakout, so the grilled sandwich is a healthier option and I still get to have the delicious, salty, waffle fries. In short, cheat meals are essential to curbing cravings and reaching your health goals. One donut after dinner every now and then won’t hinder your journey to a healthy lifestyle!
Short workout better than none
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of working out regularly. To see improvement and to make a noticeable difference in your health, you should aim to workout at least 4 times a week. As a working student, I know first-hand that finding time in your schedule can seem impossible. The best piece of advice I have heard is the slogan said at Soul Cycle which is, “thank yourself for coming today.” Meaning, a short workout is better than no exercise at all- and still worth praising yourself for.
On my busiest days, it can be easy to be overwhelmed and upset I have almost no time to fit in a full workout. My solution to this has been either incorporating a shorter trip to the gym or going for a run at a nearby park. When I feel stressed out and overwhelmed with homework, I may not always want to work out. But fitting in a 20-minute run at Tallahassee’s Cascades park, always makes me feel relieved and gives me a short time to relax during the day. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t require a strenuous and extensive workout daily, but rather your best effort with the time you have available in your schedule.
Drink mostly water
The easiest part to alter your diet is to cut out any sodas or drinks that are not water from your regular diet. Some days, coffee is necessary to get out of bed- but becoming addicted to anything is not good for your body. Besides saving you money, water is great for your skin, energy levels, and will keep you hydrated throughout the day. Many times, you may even feel hungry because your body is lacking water. It is important to drink water throughout the day and before meals to prevent over-eating and headaches from dehydration. If you’re trying to curve a coffee addition, try switching to green tea or drinking cold lemon water first thing in the morning. Buying a fun water bottle or a hydro-flask is a great way to stay motivated and make hydrating more fun!
Plan your workouts and meals out
Another change that has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle is planning out my meals and workouts. Meal prepping is also great for this reason, cooking vegetables and protein to eat throughout the week. But if you’re like me and do not have time/ don’t feel like committing to this preparation, then planning your meals hours before is just as beneficial. Thinking about what to have for dinner long before you’re hungry will prevent urges to get fast food or making unhealthy choices.
Whenever I find myself eating something vastly unhealthy for a meal, it is often because I didn’t plan anything and have waited until I am absolutely starving. Not every meal has to consist of kale and tofu but using common sense about what is good for you and what isn’t will help you make better choices. In addition, planning out when you will work out and allotting time for this will make regular exercise much more attainable. Signing up for free workout classes at the FSU Leach is a great way to hold yourself accountable and plan your workout. I like to plan workouts with a friend, so I can make sure that I won’t skip my workout for a nap.
Especially in college, it can be easy to neglect your health and do what is most convenient for you- but this is not always best for your body and mental health. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires dedication, lots of water, allowing cheat meals, and consistency. Dieting will never give you long-term results or benefit your mind and body, so try making these changes to attain healthy habits for life. Sign yourself and a friend up for a spin class and conquer your fitness goals together!
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Senior at FSU.