As a student, I am limited by time and budget, but there are a few habits I’ve formed that probably make a big difference in my overall health. I’m sharing some good habits I’ve formed in 2018, and would love to hear any other ideas for this year!
With regards to physical activity, I’m personally of the mindset that going to the gym for 45 minutes a day isn’t enough exercise, especially if you’re sitting down at a desk for the remainder of the day. I think our bodies were made to move around consistently throughout the day, so I try to build in a bit of extra physical activity wherever possible through small habits.
- Climbing stairs whenever possible- last year, I lived on the ninth floor and I got into the habit of climbing the stairs. It was really tough initially, but by a month in, I wasn’t out of breath by the time I reached my floor. I’m sure this was an improvement in my cardiovascular health because I was climbing 25-30 flights per day. I’d only skip this if I was in a huge rush or if I was carrying heavy things. This year, I’m on the eighth floor, and the stairwell door on my floor wasn’t working until recently, so I fell out of the habit. I can already tell that climbing stairs in other situations is tougher for me.
- Walking whenever possible– I don’t know how to drive so this one is pretty easy for me, haha! But seriously, if something is 20 minutes or less away, I ALWAYS walk. Even if it’s freezing out. This is a little thing, but everything counts.
- Going to the gym before getting home if it’s been a long day- I know that once I get too comfortable at home it’ll be difficult for me to build up the motivation to leave again. I’ve started hitting the gym either before I get home OR coming home, changing, and going to the gym right away.
I think I’ve gotten to a point where I am brutally honest with myself about what I’m good at and bad at. For example, I’m not good at limitation. If I buy a bag of chips, I WILL eat the entire thing. I am good at prepping healthy and convenient snacks and meals, and I truly enjoy ‘health food’, though.
- Having a habit that one meal a day is a healthy salad– this one isn’t so bad because I do enjoy salads. The key is finding salads that aren’t overloaded with dressing and other toppers because that defeats the purpose. It’s just a personal rule for me now that one meal a day is going to be a salad of some sort, and it’s not difficult to stick to it.
- Intermittent fasting (IF) is honestly the BEST ‘diet’/eating pattern I’ve ever tried. I’m a late night snacker, and post 9 PM is when I tend to crave junk food. Cutting out the late night eating equals cutting out most of my junk food snacking. IF is something I think I will stick to forever. The only caveat is that it can be tough on weekends because people tend to make plans at night, but I’m supposed to stop eating after 8 PM with IF.
- Buying healthy snacks (preferable fresh/perishable snacks) for the week– this works for me because I don’t like wasting money. I love unhealthy junk food snacks, but if I have lots of healthy snacks that are perishable at home, I will LITERALLY be wasting money if I buy the junk because my food will spoil if it remains uneaten. Basically, this is my way of forcing myself into eating healthy.
- Never putting sugar in my tea or coffee– ever since I started drinking tea and coffee, I never used sugar. Now I drink 1-2 cups of coffee every day, so all the sugar would add up. I’m glad I never got into the habit of sweetening my drinks.
- Allowing myself desserts and unhealthy foods on weekends– as part of socializing and fun, I have to let myself have desserts. I don’t want to be a buzzkill that can’t go to that new ice cream shop because of my diet. I love having fun with friends and I love dessert, so I let myself indulge without feeling bad on weekends.
- Purchasing individual sizes of unhealthy foods even though it is more expensive than buying in bulk- I know myself, and I have never been good at portion control. Never. I’m terrible at eating only a small amount of something unhealthy. When I’m really craving something ‘bad’, I don’t buy in bulk. I try to buy only one serving, or else I’ll eat all of it and regret it later.
If you guys have any other habits that you find help you, please comment below! Also, please subscribe to my email list- I promise I won’t spam your inbox!