You’ve just graduated top of your class. You just landed that killer new job. You just received the promotion you’ve been gunning for. Everything in your life is pointing to awesome – personal growth, learning and successfully “adult-ing”. Whatever your situation is, it’s common for millennials to have their eye on their future: what do you want to achieve? Where do you want to be? Your main priority right now is getting there.
But it should not come at the expense of your health. I know what it’s like to live on a student budget, where mac & cheese becomes your best friend and your breakfast is a piece of toast with peanut butter. You can’t afford a gym membership and you’re stressed out about school and your future. I get it. But once you get yourself a job, there are no more excuses. It’s time for you to kick-start that healthy lifestyle so you can ride it into the torturous terrain of adulthood. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ways you can consider making your life a little healthier:
1. Join a sports team or sign up for a fitness class: You will be forced to get yourself in gear and GO. Better yet, sign up with a friend who will hold you responsible for going. Even if you don’t have a buddy, chances are you will make friends with some of the others in the class. Then, you’re getting both socialization and a good workout in one evening – how’s that for efficiency?
2. Learn to cook: You don’t need to learn how to be a master chef, but it’s important to learn the basics. Sign up for a local cooking class. Have a dinner party with friends and cook a new healthy meal together. You’ll pick up little tips and tricks you didn’t know before, and learn some new healthy recipes in the process. Plus, you might find out you actually like vegetables such as brussels sprouts when they’re cooked right! Hey – it happened to me.
3. Avoid prepared foods: Now that you know how to cook, take those skills and apply them. Avoid overly processed food, like frozen dinners, pre-packaged snacks and sugar-filled junk food. Find some great healthy muffin recipes and try them out. Learn how to prepare and cook a new vegetable. Make your own burger patties without all the additives and preservatives. Take control of your food, so you can control what you consume.
4. Move every single day: You think you’re too busy? Probably not. You don’t have an excuse. I’m sure if you dug deep enough, you could find 30 minutes in your day to go for a brisk walk. Or if you’re really ambitious, try for an hour of exercise. If you can’t make that happen, interval workouts of 5 minutes, 6 times a day are better than nothing. Anything to keep your blood pumping and your body alive.
5. Eat breakfast: Maybe you’re used to breakfast at 11am, but that’s brunch. Sorry, but it’s not the same thing. When you wake up, eat a protein heavy breakfast for your brain and to curb junk food cravings throughout the day. Make some scrambled eggs, blend up a smoothie with protein powder, or make oatmeal with almond butter and mixed nuts & seeds. Anything to kick your brain in gear and keep you full for the morning. Brunching is great, but save that for weekends when you sleep in.
You don’t need to implement all of these changes at once – just do what you can! Start small and once you’ve mastered one, try something else. Soon enough, you’ll be taking care of yourself just the way you deserve. Now go forth, live healthy and work your butt off for your next achievement!