By Paulina Garza
Chugging a glass of water, eating carrots all day and running until you are weak in your ankles is not the way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s only a matter of time before you start binge eating and gain all the weight and plus back. Change takes time. To look and feel better change your lifestyle not a week of your life.
1. Don’t Diet, Eat Clean
Ninety five percent of diets fail, says, UT Dietician Lori Jones. A diet consists of starving yourself and depriving your body of essential nutrients. Yes, you might drop a few pounds in a couple of days but is it worth it? Lori Jones says its definitely not.
As college students we are never going to understand or accept the fact that diets are simply. NO good. I personally have tried endless amounts of diets only to find myself unconsciously eating a gallon of vanilla ice cream with half a dozen of delicious, warm, chocolate-chipped Tiff’s Treat cookies after devouring a boneless medium buffalo wing basket with waffle fries and two extra sides of Ranch. Oh and don’t forget the amazing and holy, fried macaroni. Sound familiar? If it does then it is about time you give up on the Beach Body diet and instead change your eating habits.
2. Look at Your Plate
It might sound ridiculous but eating a colorful plate is the best way to go about it.
“Look at your plate and assess how much color is on your plate. So if you’ve got a brown and white plate with chicken fingers and mashed potatoes chances are you’re not doing anything to improve your health,” says, UT kinesiology and health education Professor Dixie Stanforth.
Think about a chicken breast with red peppers, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. Served with brown rice and a side of avocado. You’ve got them all, your browns, greens, reds, yellows and whites. You’re good to go.
Eating six small meals or three larger meals with two snacks in between is the best way to maximize energy and maintain a healthy life style. In an ideal world adults should get 45 to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20 to 35 percent from fat, and 10 to 35 percent from protein.
3. Push Up Your Greens
Spinach, kale, celery and cucumbers? Mmmm mouth watering? Of course not. But greens help our immune system, provide endless amounts of antioxidants and rejuvenate our cells. Chlorophyll is just like our hemoglobin cells, making it an excellent tonic and cleansing agent for our blood. Therefore we should try to get as much of them as possible. Eating your greens is the best way but blending them together and adding an apple to reduce the awkward flavor is a great way to start your day and increase your amount of greens.
4. Carbs are GOOD for you
Contrary to popular belief carbs are good for the body. It’s just about finding the right ones. Like whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. “Carbs tended to get a bad wrap in today’s society. Those carbs are very bad for you. But in reality carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and that’s the main energy source for the body,” says UT dietician, Lindsay Gydos.
It’s easy!! Separate the good from the bad carbs. The good carbs are full of fiber helping avoid spikes in blood sugar. Making us feel fuller for a longer time. Bad carbs are sugars, added sugars and refined whites. These strip away fiber and provide quick energy to the body in the form of glucose. Switch to whole grains in every possible way; bread, muffins, tortillas, crescents.
Midnight studying leads to munching which leads to snacking. Usually the snacking is that you eat too many calories. It’s called mindless eating. You’re eating while you’re studying and you’re not paying attention to how much you’re eating. The best way with snack perspective is to use portion-controlled snacks. “The little 100 calories snacks are a great way to go. You can’t do that much damage with 100 calories. Don’t have ten of them but have one or two of them and eat it slowly, enjoy it,” says, Stanforth.
6. Stay Active
You don’t have to make it to the gym seven times a week for two hours a day to be in shape. Burn calories not electricity. “Instead look for ways not to go to the gym and get all hot and sweaty. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, don’t stand and wait for the bus for ten minutes but walk across campus,” Stanforth adds. Walking burns about four calories a minute. A 20-minute walk to school equals around 120 calories burned while sitting on a bus equals ZERO calories burned and 10 minutes longer to get to class.
It takes 3,500 calories to burn one single pound of fat. Crazy but true. If you stay active and move around it won’t be as hard to shake off those extra pounds bothering you.
Running one mile burns around 100 calories. There really isn’t any other better way to lose overall weight. And yes, this means, belly fat, flabby arms, thigh fat and our favorite, love handles. Running improves bone density and strengthens the heart. A person who does not run daily has a heart that beats 36,000 times more than the average runner. Running also has psychological benefits. The endorphins released during running are hormones that block pain and allow you to feel energized during and after your run. Better known as the “runners high."
8. Don’t get on a weight scale. It will make you cry.
Being a size zero should not be your ultimate goal. According to Jones don't base your progress on weight. Women are constantly changing weight due to hormones. For example, we weigh more during our menstruation and when ovulating. Being skinny is not attractive, who likes straw legs and a bony face? Stanforth believes a woman looks much better when muscles are defined and toned. “Being strong is the new skinny,” she says.
Remember change takes time. It’s not about who looses the most weight or who does it faster but who is persistent, dedicated and, most importantly, realistic. Cheating is allowed every once in a while. Just how our brain needs a break after studying so does our body after working out and eating clean. Always tell yourself that you are not quitting until you stop trying. Slow progress is better than no progress at all.
If you feel like having a chocolate, go for it. It’s not going to kill you, Jones says.