Making a Lifestyle Change

 

If there is anything I have learned since leaving home to attend MSU, it is that if you want to have an ideal college experience, you have to be open to change. Going into my second year, the biggest change I’ve had to deal with is moving out of the dorms, and into an apartment. That means a whole new level of “broke college student.” While it is easy to keep it cheap and live off of Easy Mac and Ramen, the ‘freshman 15’ is real, and doesn’t stop after your first year. As lame as it is, moving into your adult life means making some grown-up decisions, one of which is taking care of the one body you’ve been given. Here are a few things I’ve learned in making a lifestyle change:

1.       Keep it simple.

Making a change in your life (especially when it comes to your health) is not as difficult as it seems. Even little changes - like cutting out soda - can give great results! I’ve found that keeping it simple is also a great motto when you’re at the grocery store. My roommate and I have really focused on buying groceries that we know the ingredients of. I cannot tell you how good it feels to eat a granola bar and be able to tell you exactly what I’m putting into my body. And your meals don’t have to be complex, again, keep it simple. Throw together some rice, black beans, bell peppers and chicken, and you’ve got yourself a filling fajita bowl. Take out what you don’t like, add what you do, but be open to trying new things.

2.       Time isn’t an excuse.

No matter how busy you are, you have the time, and if you play it right, you can get away with some pretty healthy meals without breaking your budget. As a college student, I feel like I’m always in a rush whether it be to get to class, work, extracurriculars, or to hang out with friends. Meal prepping has been vital to staying on track. If you have a couple of hours open one day a week, taking that time to prepare your meals will save you the time of fully preparing meals each night of the week.

3.       It’s easier to make a change when you don’t do it alone.

I really lucked out in this department. My freshman year roommate has been on her own fitness journey for a few years now, and I have already learned so much from her. This year we are taking on this challenge together, and I can tell you right now that making a change with someone else is much easier than doing it on your own. We grocery shop together, meal-prep together and have meals together (whenever our busy schedules line up). We keep each other posted on our progress and how we’ve been feeling, and of course hype each other up! I can honestly say the changes I’ve been making would be a huge struggle without her.

These are just a few tips I have learned thus far in making my lifestyle change. The last thing I want to say is absolutely do not deprive yourself! It’s more than okay to go out to eat for your friend’s birthday, or make an ice cream run with your roommates. Learning to balance those things while being health-conscious is an important life skill to master, and the sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be!