Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in college is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Everywhere you turn, there are fast food chains, vending machines and pizza deliveries. Finding comfort in fried and processed food is tempting, not to mention cheap. But how long does that comfort last and when does it turn into an extra 10 pounds? The freshman 15 can easily lead to the sophomore 20.
The older generations in my family all have diabetes, which I am fully susceptible to. Just a year ago, my mother was borderline diabetic. Between that and her severe food allergies, she and my dad completely changed their lifestyles. A pill didn’t fix their problem and neither did a juice detox. The true antidote for unhealthiness is a change of lifestyle. That sounds so obvious, but a majority of people avoid it at all costs.
But I’m here to tell you something life changing. A healthy lifestyle does not mean that you can’t eat your guilty pleasure foods. It’s smarter to ease your way into it instead of quitting cold turkey. Do you have an addiction to soda? Start to lower your intake each week and replace it with a non-carbonated drink. A few alternatives I have tried are sweet tea or juice. Likewise, instead of defaulting to McDonald’s or Taco Bell, make a stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a few staple ingredients for a quick and healthy meal. Some of my go-to meals are pita bread with peanut butter and bananas, Greek yogurt, grilled chicken and veggies and eggs. Luckily for students living on campus, grilled chicken and eggs can be cooked in the microwave.
I’m definitely not the poster child for healthy eating; I’m a huge fan of all things processed. But I’ve found that eating better makes me feel better, not only physically but also mentally. My attitude and self-confidence have improved drastically. I still indulge in a package of Twizzlers or a Happy Meal every once in a while, but the cravings no longer control me. I’ve actually started craving vegetables and salads. Who knew there was such a thing?
However, there’s something everyone seems to forget. Eating better doesn’t completely fix the problem — a healthy lifestyle includes exercise. This is something I’m very fickle about. Every time I try to get into the habit again, I find an excuse to not work out. But I found out the main problem besides sheer laziness: I had no one to hold me accountable.
Did you know Tech offers free classes in the Hull Dance Studio? It’s absolutely free. You can take Yoga, Zumba, Insanity, Cardio Hip-Hop or Piyo. Because I’ve convinced my friends to go with me, I now have no choice but to go. It takes everything within me to get out of bed away from Netflix, but after I work out I feel incredible. It refuels my motivation to be the best I can be without having to work out alone.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean spending your entire paycheck at a natural food store.
It also doesn’t mean you have to have the perfect body either.
Remember that each step you take is one step away from where you were headed.