{May 14, 2012}   Stress hurts. Lose it.

It’s finals week for me and stress is at an all-time high. If I’m not actively studying for a test I’m worrying about one, and that can be just as bad. But it’s time like these that I remember how important it is to prioritize and find time to release some of that anxiety. There is hope for all of you worriers out there, and it can come in many forms. Unsurprisingly, one great way to get rid of excess stress is to work out. It’s not only good for your body, but it affords you some time to clear your mind. If you don’t want to get your gym on, try just taking a walk. This a good way to take a quick break from studying or working and give yourself time to relax. If that doesn’t help, make yourself a cup of tea or a healthy snack and take a few minutes to enjoy it. You’ll find that there are plenty of useful ways to rid yourself of that extra stress you’ve been carrying around. And remember, giving yourself a break is just another step in a healthy lifestyle.


{May 2, 2012}   Give yourself a break

Diets are hard. We say “no” to ourselves constantly, keeping our sub-conscious cravings in check. But this can become a tiring, 24-hour job, and immersing ourselves in it can actually be counterproductive.

I’ve talked about body image before, but it can’t be stressed enough. We punish ourselves for bad food choices, for not being strong enough or having enough will-power to say no. What many people don’t know is that self-criticism is actually harmful to a diet, and can make you indulge more. Instead of punishing yourself for eating badly, reward yourself by eating well. Remember, no one is forcing you to make healthy choices. This is a lifestyle, and it cannot be maintained without a desire to be healthier and in-shape.

Dieting isn’t about denying yourself; it’s about giving yourself what your body needs to be at its strongest.  When you eat something off your diet, don’t lose your mind in a frenzy of self-loathing. Instead, take a portion that will give you a taste of what you’re craving; don’t go over the top. And when you’re done, you will have enjoyed something. Food is meant to be enjoyed, by the way…remember that. And then plan the rest of your day accordingly. For example, if you get dessert with lunch, make sure your dinner is a bit more calorie-conscious. You’re not doing yourself any good by giving in to self-hatred. Life is about enjoying what you have, not depriving yourself. Just make good portion choices, and keep “everything in moderation” in your mind.

{April 15, 2012}   Getting fit without the gym

The gym can be quite boring. There’s only so many routines you can try and so much equipment you can take advantage of. That’s why it’s important to bring fitness into your life in ways beyond the traditional gym work outs. With the weather becoming more and more inviting, try bringing your work out outside. Go for a run or a brisk walk to get your body moving. For a better work out, play sports with friends. This is a great way to socialize with your peers and burn calories at the same time. There’s plenty to do to get yourself outdoors and  on your way to a healthier body. Working out shouldn’t have to be strenuous and frustrating. On the contrary, having fun with your fitness program will make you more committed to it and eager to continue. Eventually, you might even find that it becomes a regular part of your day.

{April 11, 2012}   Eating badly…so well

It’s no secret that most of the foods we generally love and crave are high in fat and calories, and mostly low in nutritional value. That’s why we love them so much. I find my self-control slipping away as I watch commercials showing creamy chocolatey goodness, or the newest specials at Olive Garden. Macaroni and Cheese has always been my weakness. But contrary to poular belief, you don’t have to completely give up your favorite foods for your diet: just make them healthier. Even desserts can be made healthier, and thus better for your diet.  It’s all about what you put in and what you take out. Making healthy foods that satisfy your not-so-healthy cravings may be much easier than you ever thought. So next time you’re in the kitchen, grab your laptop and search for healthy versions of your favorite recipes. Be adventurous, change it up, and have fun with your food. You don’t have to munch on salad and veggies all the time to succeed on your diet; you just have to be creative.

{February 20, 2012}   Working out…the smart way

When most of us work out after being away from the gym for a while, we feel invincible. Stepping onto that eliptical, we feel motivated and ready to take on a new year of health and fitness. But about a minute into the workout, all that gung ho spirit seems to disappear with our energy. So when you’re working out for the first time, or even for the first time in a few weeks, remember to take it slow. Your body isn’t going to be used to such exertion, and taking your first few workouts too far can lead to pulled muscles and a lot of frustration. Perhaps the most important thing to do before starting any workout routine, is to make sure you know what you’re doing. Playing the guessing game when it comes to your workouts is never smart or healthy. Do your research and find out which workout routine will fit your body and lifestyle. Build up to a workout schedule you know you can stick to, and write down which days and times you plan on going. If you make it a priority, you will find time to do it. Know your body and its limits. It’s good to push yourself, but remember the goal is to make yourself fit, not run yourself into the ground. Instead of looking at working out as a temporary chore, make it a part of your weekly schedule.

And while you have healthy living on your mind, check out this video offering a quick, healthy snack option.

{February 15, 2012}   Making the right choices

Eating healthy does not have to mean removing everything but green vegetables from your diet. It means making the right choices to keep your weight in check and your overall health at its best. Here are a few tips to make the transition to healthy eating a bit easier: Firstly, try to replace soda and juice with water, which will quench your thirst without packing on the calories. Juice may seem like a healthy option, but it’s very high in calories and sugar, so be careful. As college students, it may be hard to limit your alcohol intake, but just that simple change can make a huge difference in the amount of calories you consume in a given week. Sweets are something many of us simply cannot live without. To satisfy that craving, reach for an apple or orange instead. For a healthy midday sweet treat, try a yogurt. Many of us are tempted to eat when we see others eating, but remember: only eat if you’re hungry. College is home to snackers, me included. When you’re doing homework, it’s all too easy to reach for a bag of chips to get you through. But trust me: your eyes will always be hungrier than your stomach. If you really are hungry and want to stave off some calories, try drinking hot tea. Hot liquids are filling and, while it won’t fill you up completely, it will hold you over until your next meal. With the right choices, you can make healthy eating a way of life.

et cetera