Seven ways to stay health conscious

Jonathan Rizzi

Is that extra weight starting to bother you? Are you becoming overly self-conscious about the apparent lack of muscle on your body? These are just a couple of issues college students face every day as they progress through their daily rituals. The initial response to such feelings would be the standard, “I have to go to the gym,” or “I have to start dieting.” In reality, many people don’t know how to go about living a healthier, more physically active lifestyle and really find difficulty in adhering to a healthy-living program. By following a few guidelines and suggestions it is possible to begin and sustain a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few tips to help put the process to work:

1. Write it Down: The most important part of achieving any goal is to physically write one down on paper. Writing down your ambitions is the perfect tool for not only remembering one’s goals, but for actually attaining them. Start by writing down what lifestyle you ultimately wish to reach, whether it is to maintain a specific weight or to eat a certain amount of calories each day. From there, progress to the methods in which you will accomplish these goals (working out five times a week, counting calories, etc.). This will set you along the correct path right from the get-go.

2. Get Inspired: The second most important item on this list is to find, and maintain, a source of motivation. Nothing drives people to complete their ambitions more than a strong source of inspiration and/or motivation. For some, this can be as simple as a photograph of how they wish to see themselves. For others, it can be music (possibly a favorite song), another goal they wish to attain by completing this one (making a sports team), or even the thought of personal improvement.

3. Eat Smart: In order to acquire a healthy style of living, one must eat accordingly. That’s right, no more lounging around and consuming junk food on the couch on a Sunday afternoon. If you plan to lose weight, eat fewer calories. Salad is always a good choice for starters, but there are many healthier methods of eating in which salad is not the only food option. Seek out a nutritionist! On the other hand, if you plan to gain weight, make sure you consume a healthy amount of protein and carbohydrates while still eating from the other food groups in a proportionate fashion. Avoid eating sweets in large quantities. It is more than OK to have a cookie every now and then – just don’t eat a whole sleeve of them. Eating healthy is as simple as that.

4. Exercise: Once you have those three concepts under your belt, it’s actually time to begin working out. You should make time in your schedule to workout at least three to five times a week. For those who plain to gain weight, the gym on campus has plenty of free-weights and machines to help develop muscle. If you are unsure on how to use these devices, contact an athletic trainer. For those who want to lose weight, the gym also has a sizeable collection of cardiovascular equipment (treadmills, exercise bicycles, etc.). When working out, you want to pace yourself at a rate that is healthy and manageable for your individual self. Your goal should be to improve upon this rate each time you workout.

5. Buddy Up: A strong factor in the act of getting in shape is the people with whom you associate. Often times, people become lazy and do not feel like sticking to their goals. This is where friends come into play. Tell the people around you to motivate you and to pressure you into sticking to your ambitions when you feel like giving up. It’s amazing how much this can actually help an individual in his or her endeavors. Give it a try.

6. Get into a routine: The first few weeks of eating healthy and working out are going to seem odd and uncomfortable. This is normal. You are a new face in a new scene and it’s only human tendency to feel awkward at times like these. Wait it out. After a few weeks you will have gotten into a routine of what to eat, when to eat and when to workout. This will help your life flow more smoothly. You will ultimately consider staying in shape as an every day occurrence instead of a chore.

7. Mark your progress: The final, and perhaps most rewarding of all these tips, is to mark your achievements over the course of time. There is nothing as encouraging as positive results, especially ones that pertain to such a time-consuming habit as staying in shape. If you are losing weight, record your weight loss or your weight gained if you are gaining weight. As the months go by, continue to record your change in weight, as well as your daily calorie intake. This allows you to evaluate where you stand in terms of reaching your goal and functions as a means to make necessary changes to get yourself back on track if you should deviate from your intended path.

Following these seven guidelines is a sure way to attain the lifestyle you ultimately wish to make your own. While it may be challenging, it is nonetheless an extremely rewarding experience that will not only boost your self-esteem but will leave you feeling healthy each and every day.