Takeaways, alcohol and late night partying sessions are a norm for many University students. Many students fall into the diet of pasta, microwave meals, pizza and fizzy drinks, not thinking so much of the nutritional value but instead, the cost. Being a student myself, this is something I struggled with at the beginning of my health and fitness journey. A cheap microwave meal that was not only cost effective but also time effective appealed much more to me than prepping a fresh meal that would take longer. However, like many I was naïve to just how easy and cheap healthy eating can be.
When you do decide to start a healthy lifestyle and changing your eating habits I believe it’s important to do your research first. You can learn useful tips, learn new facts and study just how important a healthy lifestyle truly is. Learning about a sustainable diet is key if you really are dedicated to this lifestyle. You will also need to learn about nutrition. When I began my research during University I looked at a sustainable healthy diet, the benefits of clean eating and most importantly nutrition. It’s amazing when you begin to learn the benefits of that a healthy diet can have on your body and its effects. Not only do you learn this through your research but you also learn the damaging effects eating unhealthily has on your body. This was quite the breakthrough I needed to completely start treating my body better.
I believe the most effective way to keep yourself on track with a healthy eating lifestyle whilst you have a busy schedule is to plan and prep your meals for the week. Not only does this manage time but it avoids you reaching for the biscuit tin for a quick snack. Planning your meals also gives you a chance to make them more exciting. I tend to look up quick and healthy recipes on the interest to spark some interest. Also, herbs will become your best friend. Add them to your meals to spice them up! Be spontaneous and try dishes you have never tried before. Experiment and experiment again. This also makes it exciting for yourself instead of eating the same meal everyday.
I started by switching my grains to wholemeal, increasing my vegetable intake, decreasing my intake on saturated fats and instead focusing more on healthy fats. A small change but a massive difference to your body. You’ll find that with a diet like this you will have more energy, become more focused and have glowing skin. I also find it important to have one ‘cheat meal’ a week so I could satisfy any cravings I have and also it’s a treat for your body and mind. You shouldn’t consider the foods you eat as a ‘diet’, instead choose to think of it as a lifestyle. This way it helps you stay on track. Too many people feel they have to stick to a diet and undoubtedly result in a miserable struggle to maintain their diet.
Most students, like myself like things to be time and cost effective. Therefore, to make healthy eating more affordable I either bulk buy certain ingredients from Amazon or when I prep my meals I make bulk for the week. This way it allows you to freeze your leftovers for another day. Any recipe can be made in bulk and then frozen. On the day I’ll take out the frozen meal in the morning to leave to defrost for the evening and then when I come home I’ll quickly boil up some fresh veg and rice. A quick and easy meal made in under ten minutes.
Once I had my healthy eating underway I focused on exercising and staying fit. For me, this was and still is sometimes the main issue I struggle with whilst finishing my last year at University. With a busy schedule it can be hard to find the motivation to workout, as well as finding the time. However, I don’t quite agree with the famous exercise excuse “I don’t have time”. Everybody has time if they choose to make the time. It’s as simple as that. So, make time for yourself. Go to bed an hour earlier and get up an hour earlier. This should give you plenty of time to fit in your workout.
I choose to workout in the mornings. I find after a busy day I lack motivation and energy to workout in the evenings. Therefore, I workout in the mornings when I can because this is best for me. However, you may prefer to workout at the end of the day. Create a plan that works for yourself. This way it will make it more appealing and enjoyable to workout. It’s much easier and certainly helpful creating a workout schedule to help plan your workouts. It is also a perfect way to keep yourself on track for the week and fit in your workouts within your busy schedules.
During busy periods of deadlines at University the key issue I struggled with was finding the motivation to workout. Finding motivation to workout when you have a million and one other things you could also be doing proved difficult. Firstly, prioritise the most important things in your life. Studying a degree is hard and certainly doesn’t come cheap. Therefore, you do not want your work slipping because you are struggling to fit in your daily workouts. Instead, create another plan where perhaps you workout 3 times a week, 30 minutes each session. Choose a workout you prefer the most and this can be used as ‘me’ time. Have fun with the workout and allow it to be an opportunity to de-stress from your busy workload.
It’s not easy to workout everyday, six times a week. I can sit here and write to you all the benefits of working out and eating healthy but you can only really do it if YOU want it for yourself. I wouldn’t be continuing this lifestyle if I didn’t enjoy it. I find working out a perfect opportunity to relieve stress and give myself some ‘me’ time. If you don’t enjoy a particular workout, change it. Try swimming, kick boxing, running, tennis… Explore your options. They say after 30 days a routine starts to become a daily habit. Be patient and see if this lifestyle is something you can seriously commit to. I’m passionate about this way of living and it really is now a massive part of my life.