Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Amidst a Busy College Environment by Jesica Cockerham Salyer
There are a few things that I believe I have a significant amount of experience in, and trying to stay healthy while going to college and working is one of them. Make no mistake, I had my fair share of nights out with drinks and junk food–but this very thing taught me that our bodies need to be taken care of and not neglected.
Taking care of yourself and finding balance are two key things that you need to make a priority to be your healthiest self while being a dedicated student and/or stressed worker-bee.
I worked at the school gym while in college, thus was immersed in the gym lifestyle. However, you’d be suprised how many gym fanatics eat terribly! Many are so wildly unaware that their bodies need more plants and less manipulated protein powder.
Here are some tips to help keep your priorities straight in regards to nourishing your body and finding balance while being a part of the busy college lifestyle:
1. Always have a healthy snack & water with you.
-Skipping meals and having an increasing food deficit will set you up to splurge on unhealthy things later in the day. Keeping your body constantly fueled (3-4 meals a day with 2-3 snacks in between) is the key to keeping your metabolism going and avoiding the dinner time hunger cravings.
2. Don’t be afraid to get remarks about being the “health nut” amongst your friends.
-You’ll be surprised how many people you will inspire along the way as you’re on a mission to be your healthiest self. Some people will have a hard time understanding your efforts to constantly keep up the proper nutrition and workouts–most of the time, this is because (sorry to say it) they wish they had the motivation to do what you’re doing. Keep up your healthy routine: this way, you will lead by example and show others that having healthy habits ultimately makes you a happier, healthier, more equipped to “take on the day” kind of person.
3. Strive to eat well 80% of the time.
-It’s important to put good things into your body, but It’s just as important to give yourself a breather with eating from time to time. Allow yourself to splurge a little from time to time. If your friends are all going out to get pizza, go enjoy some pizza! Living a restricted lifestyle all of the time will ultimately contribute to you having a stressed out mentality, which is counteractive to being your most balanced self.
4. Focus your limited budget on healthy foods.
-I went to college with a girl that would complain about not being able to buy healthy food, yet she would go to Target and buy a $30 dress to wear to a party. How much sense does that make? Most would agree that your health is the most important thing to take care of. This is a good chance for you to “put your money where your mouth is” if you believe that. That said, stock up your fridge and pantry and then use the remaining money you have available to go bargain shop for a $10 dress.
5. You will get busy, you will feel overworked, you will feel stressed–making it all the more crucial to have a constant reminder of what is important: your health and happiness.
-You will find yourself running from class to class to work then back to class then off to study and then going out with friends at night. Cover your dorm room or apartment with things that help remind you of what your goals are. As corny as it may sound: If you have a favorite athlete, role model, etc., put pictures of them in your room, or on your door in the way out. Quotes or words that inspire you are great too. If there is a picture that motivates you every time you look at it, put that picture where you can see it every day. This will serve as a constant reminder that you have goals, you are a determined, beautiful, hard working creature, and you can achieve them with a little help of your own to stay focused.