Let’s face it, now that you’re not paying tuition, your free gym membership is kaput. No more running up to the fitness center in between classes for a quick cardio session. No more discounted pilates or spin classes. No more looking like a fool at Zumba (Hey, at least you tried). Just because you can’t afford a gym membership AND rent AND student loans AND real groceries doesn’t mean you have to gain a post graduation pot belly.
Completely changing your life is hard, and admit it, it isn’t that realistic. Don’t forget that what you put in your body counts. Don’t be ashamed of your chewable Flintstone vitamins. They’re a great source for making sure you get your daily dose of minerals. If you love your burgers and fries, you get you a burger and some fries, but do so in moderation. Instead of beef, try chicken or turkey. Instead of fast food fries, try some home-made oven baked fries. Set a goal for yourself, and when you reach it, reward yourself with a treat. For some, that might be a cup of greek yogurt. For others, that could be a scoop or two of cookies and cream ice cream. Don’t try to completely be someone you’re not.
Try starting off your day by drinking a nice cold cup of water. I double dog dare you. While it’s not everyone’s favorite, it’s recommended that we drink eight cups, or two liters per day. Getting a head start from the jump is essential so you don’t find yourself binge drinking water right before bed. It’s also proven that water helps wake your body up and give you the energy you need to start your day. Additionally, it works to clear up your skin and keep you looking younger.
Remember to get physical. You don’t always have to sweat up a storm to workout. Doing heel raises or butt clenches while in line for your coffee, walking to work, strapping on some ankle weights, or taking the steps instead of the elevator are all simple ways of toning in your not-so-free free-time. Waking up early isn’t always ideal, but a getting in a nice jog around the block or in a local park early in the morning will help jumpstart your metabolism, AND you’ll be able to put the day’s workout behind you.
Fitness doesn’t end with working out and eating right. When it comes to staying healthy, it’s important to remember the mind, body and soul. Take time to breathe and reflect. Leave the house a little earlier to avoid traffic stress. Make a playlist of your favorite de-stressing music and listen to it whenever you start to feel some type of way. Take a different route to work and enjoy new scenery. Try a new restaurant or bar. Grab some friends and hit up happy hour. Take a spontaneous road trip with no set destination. Think about your highs and lows of the day and of the week. What can you improve on? What did you accomplish? Be proud.
To help keep track of your overall health, consider heading over to the app store. There are tons of fitness apps waiting to be downloaded. Keep track of your entire health workup, including sleep schedule, calories burned, steps taken, and what you’ve eaten. It’s great to see results and progress over time.
The bottom line is, don’t stress if you put on a little weight or get a pimple in the middle of your forehead. It’s a part of growing up. As the wise people before us have said “Be the best you that you can be.” Not everyone can look like Adriana Lima.
Published in the Spring 2016 issue of Adulting.