Being healthy isn't always easy. Most of us have very different definitions of the word to begin with, and today's society doesn't exactly help us to understand what we need to do to get there anyways. Not only do we live in a country where there's some major portion distortion going on, but we live in a world where nasty additives and other sick-o ingredients are all too common. Okay, lecture over.
Seriously though, add challenging courses, extracurricular activities, and internships into the mix and it can be almost effortless to gain the freshman 15 (20, 30...). And who said freshman are the only ones at risk?
All four of my housemates will vouch that we ate more than our fair share of late night cookie dough last year!
Here's to a fresh start though *insert champagne emojii here* (which would be only hypothetical, since mimosas are definitely not on the list of things you need to be healthy in college...).
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No girl, the most important part of being healthy in college is not actually #cleaneating or exercising. While these components are important, the first step to improving your health at college is gaining some independence *cue Independent Women*. That's right, you've got to depend on no one other than, you got it...YOU, when it comes to being healthy. Nobody is going to force a healthy lifestyle upon you, and certainly not at college. There's a never ending list of temptations (i.e. drugs/alcohol, dining hall ice cream, Netflix binges, etc.) that can stunt your growth into a healthier individual.
While a little indulgence isn't always a bad thing, it's essential to step away from whatever your friends and/or roommates are doing, and you do you. Do your research, come up with a plan, and stick with it. If you can find a gym buddy to help hold you accountable, great. Just don't let other people's negative and unhealthy habits impact your lifestyle!
2. KNOWLEDGE ON reading nutrition labels
There's WAY too many of us who don't know how to properly read a nutrition label. Notice that I said us? I've been there too. I got sucked into buying "low fat", "diet", "natural" foods for almost my entire teenage life, all in an effort to eat "healthier". Little did I know that these so-called lighter options often contain sick-o additives loaded with health risks. Definitely pay attention to what you're putting into your body.
Reading the nutrition label can also help you eat a better portioned and more balanced diet. Sorry, but no more eating the whole pint of Phish Food for you girl.
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3. AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Yes, this one's obvious. But no, that doesn't make it any less necessary to include on this list. Having an active lifestyle is an absolute essential to being healthy at college, or anywhere actually. Oh, and before you get ahead of yourself...walking across campus to get to classes doesn't count as engaging in a healthy lifestyle (sorry!). Make time to get that heart rate up! Most campuses have fitness centers that are included in student tuition, so you might as well utilize it. Find a gym buddy, or see if your gym offers any group exercise classes. Many times colleges will offer a variety of classes lead by student instructors.
There's also a lot of options with intramural or club sports, so don't be afraid to give that a try too. Another idea is to follow a Youtube program. There's lots of great trainers out there who offer a ton of free content and killer workouts. My favorite is Cassey Ho's Blogilates, since she provides monthly workout calendars, targeting a different body part each day of the week. It's made me so sore, but so strong! I've also heard good things about Kayla Itsine's program, but that's not so #brokecollegegirl friendly.
4. A FOOD LOG
Love it or hate it, food logging is a great way to really analyze what you're eating. I eat a lot out of boredom, or because my housemates are cooking (yes, I'm still working on #1 on this list...), and tracking my food has been a great way to kick this nasty habit to the curb. It can seem daunting at first, but it's absolutely worth a try. I'd recommend starting with this fitness/nutrition journal from Michael's, or by downloading the app MyFitnessPal to track calories and nutrition facts.
5. A HEALTHY FRIEND
No, according to item numero uno on this list, you don't need anyone but yo' self to get in shape. However, it can be much easier to stay on track when you have a friend to help motivate you. My roommate and I do Blogilates together five days a week and meal plan to help inspire each other to stay with a program. It's so helpful, especially on those nights when you just want to lay on the couch and binge watch Scandal (that's our post workout treat, haha!). Find a friend who's dedicated to a healthier lifestyle, and see if you can help each other stay motivated.
6. CUTE WORKOUT CLOTHES
Alright, cute workout clothes aren't an absolute, live or die necessity...BUT, they can motivate you to hit the gym. One of the best parts about working out is the boost of self confidence that comes with it, so why not splurge on those cute leggings?
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What's a more appropriate way to wrap up this list of things you need to be healthy at college other than with motivation? If there is one, I sure can't think of it. While there's lots of great tactical tips in this post, you have to adopt the mindset of living a healthier lifestyle to truly make it work.
So, what are your tips and tricks for staying healthy at college? Is it easier or harder than people make it out to be? I'd love to hear what you think below!