I note the irony present as I write this. I'm currently eating strawberry Pop-tarts and my seventh Hershey's Kiss on my bed after watching three episodes American Horror Story back-to-back. Tonight I want to to talk about personal health, both mental and physical. Part of living independently is making responsible decisions regarding my body. Unrepresented by the hoard of snack wrappers to my left, I live a (mostly) strict lifestyle of exercise and diet. Over the course of the past year I have developed habits that slowly but surely have changed my life in so many ways. At the beginning of senior year in high school I weighed 185 pounds, not overweight, but enough to make me feel lazy and out of shape (I'm 5'9"). Come this August I had dropped to 155, the lowest I had weighed since sixth grade. I want to share with you some of the lessons I learned over the year my life changed - for the (much) better. I found habits that work for me and are easy to pick up. Getting in shape and losing weight is a very personal journey because nobody's body is the same. Having the ambition and commitment to accomplish my goals rewarded me with much more than a lower number on the scale. It opened me up to a happier, more confident Matt and inspired people around me to live healthier lifestyles.
1. Stop drinking soda. Just don't do it. Limit your beverages to non-carbonated, low-sugar choices such as tea, milk, and water. Stock your fridge with bottled water and eliminate soda as your go to choice at meal time. It might seem difficult at first but after a week or two you wont even notice the difference.
2. Walk to and from class every day. Yeah, I see all of you lazy people waiting at the bus stop. I personally love putting in my headphones and taking the extra fifteen minutes to walk. If you want to avoid gaining weight this winter, bundle up and walk.
3. Go to bed. Getting sleep is the best medicine for your body. More sleep means less stress and a lesser chance of getting sick. Having extra energy throughout the day will vastly imrove your attitude and attention span.
1. Exercise... regularly. It kills me when people make excuses about why they don't work out. Start with doing something, ANYTHING, physical at least three times a week about twenty minutes at a time. Running, biking, rowing, dancing, do an activity that gets keeps your heart pumping and makes you sweat.
2. Rearrange your diet. I'm sorry but mac & cheese doesn't cut it. When eating meals make sure to include protein and a fruit or vegetable. I have always had access to healthy options here on campus. It's up to you to conciously search out better options at the food court.
3. Party. Yeah, you heard me. People who maintain friendships and have higher amounts of social interaction live longer. Take advantage of get togethers you hear about, both on and off campus. Try some new things and live a little. But please, be responsible and never go anywhere alone.
These are some basic guidelines I live by. I'll be honest and say that I splurge every so often (like right now) and buy some Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream and go ham on it. Take these habits and develop your own from them.
I do want to warn you. Drastically changing eating habits and your work out routine can be dangerous to your health. It's important to never over-exert yourself or do anything that feels uncomfortable. Talk to your friends and family about what you want to accomplish. Having support is the greatest motivation when starting a new lifestlye. Be patient and focus on what you want to accomplish. Also, be proud of everything you do. It's going to be awkward visiting the gym for the first time, and trust me there will be perfectly in-shape people there that will intimidate the hell out of you. Just remember that this is about making better choices for your body and nobody else's.
I want to help people take action and better themselves in whatever way suits them best. A healthy body and mind are huge stepping stones to success in other areas of life. Be proactive and inspire others to do the same. It's also important not to forget the challenges you face and how you overcome them. By learning from our history we can avoid making the same mistakes again in the future. You can start now, tomorrow, or whenever you want. It's your life. Just think about what developing a healthy lifestyle now will do for you years down the road.