1. Drink an unbelievably large volume of water per day. I’d suggest about 1.6 litres per day. It clears up your skin like nobody’s business, flushes out unwanted stuff from your system and has the added bonus of keeping you alive. Some people recommend sipping water constantly over the day, but I need a more direct approach. If I have a bottle of water on me in my bag, it can stay unopened for days. I have made it a habit to make sure that whenever I do feel thirsty, I drink two glasses in one go, just to make sure. It’s difficult enough to remember to do this, so work out the best way for you. Of course, other fluids do work like juice, tea and coffee. Concentrated fruit juices (which are usually also sweetened) can sometimes be bad for your teeth, so watch out for that.
2. Walk everywhere. Going to university in a city means that I am constantly on my feet. I have made it my goal during term time, to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. When I started doing this last year, it used to be the case that my feet would feel like falling off. However, I guarantee that it is a great way to build in movement and exercise into your day, when you’re already quite busy.
3. Take the stairs, wherever possible. I mean it. In my halls of residence last year, I lived in an annex building right on the fifth floor. There was no lift and I had to climb over a hundred steps to get anywhere. Add in a heavy bag and all that walking I just mentioned, you’ve got a free fitness routine without having to fork out a fortune.
4. Use sweetener instead of sugar. I can really go to town on the sugar, especially when it’s in ready supply. In my tea now, I add sweetener (maybe two or three…) and it tastes ten times better. Maybe it’s more satisfying because I’m not just swallowing empty calories.
5. Find whole foods that really, really fill you up. My mother got me started on this massive dried fruit and nuts kick. At the moment, I am absolutely in love with almonds, pumpkin seeds, sultanas and walnuts. All of these taste good with chopped soft fruit (like bananas) or just on their own. I like to add them to plain yoghurt and add a generous splodge of honey on top. Not only does the assembly of my snack feel artistic, but I end up being insanely full.
6. Incorporate as much fresh fruit as you can into your diet. They’re naturally sweet and go well with everything. A good helping from a punnet of blueberries goes well over oatmeal for at least three days. Vegetables, apart from maybe the salad kind, really require effort (AKA heat) to prepare. A lot of fruit can be stored outside and then it’s always there just as you’re heading out the door. Whenever I ran the out the door for lectures in halls last year, I grabbed either a banana or an apple.
7. Avoid excessive snacking. I know it’s easier said than done, but anything can be enjoyed in moderation. I am guilty of doing this so much and it’s part of the reason why my weight fluctuates so goddamn much. To be honest, I can devour a pack of Jaffa cakes in as much time as it takes you to blink. And let’s not even start considering my Doritos comsuption rate. I’ve been working hard this summer to really shed some of this junk food weight and I am only now feeling confident about myself. At any rate, convert to snacking on healthy stuff that’s just seasoned well.
8. Do not sit in bed all day with your laptop five inches from your face. I have learned this the hard way. My core and lower back have been suffering lately from the Netflix marathons I’ve subjected myself to this summer. I am guilty of this particular crime even today, but I’ve realised the value of a good chair and a supporting cushion. You feel less sluggish, more productive and actually don’t get distracted by having your laptop in front of you.
Honestly, these are things that have taken me a long time to learn. I do not claim to be a healthy lifestyle expert, but as an acne prone adult / teenager, I know what clears up my skin and makes me feel more lively and productive. I don’t follow all of this all of the time, because I have the willpower of a sloth and the attention span of a fruit fly. But I know that acting in a healthy manner really boosts my body confidence and makes me feel more mental clarity.
I’ve been trying to train for a 10km race that will be taking place in less than two weeks. I do not move very fast (again, I look to the sloths for inspiration), I have to get my mum to motivate to get me out of the door since I love my bed too much (see above), and the results have been slow. My race t-shirt arrived the other day though and there’s a number and everything! I’m so freaking pumped and can’t wait. My time should be under two hours hopefully and I will probably be dead for days afterwards. Running bloody hurts and my knee and sides have not been very grateful, but I literally do it for my pride and the endorphin rush (so good). I don’t want to walk too much, but so what if I stop occasionally or slow down? It’s the trying that really counts. Completing this race will be the best achievement ever.