Dear Little Sis,
Since so many of us quarantined at the moment, it gives me a lot of time to crank out some advice for all of you. One thing I’ve really been struggling with since being home from college, is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When I’m on campus, I walk to all my classes and that typically leaves me close to 20,000 steps a day. At home, I get about 4,000. Not only am I getting less exercise, but my diet has dwindled.
I don’t follow a diet of any kind, but I do try to restrict snacking, and stick to pretty healthy meals. The problem is, when I’m working at home, the pantry is a short stroll away, and I have the constant urge to snack during boring lecture videos.
So I started thinking, I’m not the only one in this situation! What if we all challenged ourselves to try and maintain a similar lifestyle to that of school. I put together a few things we can do to stay on top of our health goals.
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1. Keep Drinking Water
A good general rule for how much water you should be drinking, is about half your body weight in ounces. It doesn’t have to be exact just somewhere around that. 64oz. is about half of my body weight, but I chose to round to this number because it’s easy to find refillable bottles that add to 64oz. of water.
I don’t really have a good water drinking routine set now that I’m home, so I fixed that problem by ordering a QuiFit bottle from amazon. It helps me track how much water I should be drinking every hour to stay on top of my water drinking goals. This link will not provide me with any commission, I just really love the bottle and would recommend it to everyone.
2. Walk at least 10,000 steps a day
This is hard! Especially since it’s rainy some days. Here’s the thing, when it was pouring outside you still had to walk to class. So, get your butt outside and do some walking. Even walking around the house a few times in between lectures can give you a much needed break and get that step count up.
I will be the first to admit, I haven’t hit this goal everyday since being home, but I at least try. If you don’t have a way to track your steps, just take a guess. If you are actively trying to get in extra steps during the day, chances are you’re getting close to 10,000.
3. Try to exercise 3x a week
I’m not talking about strenuous exercise. Just get your body moving. It can be so easy to get lazy, and with no access to gyms, it’s even harder. I recommend just finding something on YouTube or Amazon prime. A lot of people post quick 30 minute workouts that you can do. Another pro tip is to try looking up campus instagram accounts. I know @clemsonrec has live workouts taught by instructors throughout the week that are kick butt, so definitely check those out.
4. Limit yourself to one snack in between meal periods
I try and only allow myself to have one snack in between either breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. I typically have my snack between lunch and dinner because that’s when I tend to get the most hungry. I find that when I do work in the morning, I don’t really get a craving for snacks. It also makes the snack feel more like a reward. I’ll tell myself if I finish one more video assignment then I can have a snack, so it helps me get my work done too!
5. Keep making meal plans
Knowing what you’re going to eat each day is the best way to stay on track. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself just reaching in the freezer for the easy to microwave hot pocket. If you don’t usually plan your meals, it might be helpful to read my post about that!
Related: How to Meal Plan in College
For the rest of you, being home isn’t an excuse to stop planning. Keep up with the weekly meal plans as best you can. Since you’re home it also gives you a great opportunity to play around with different meals!
6. Try taking breaks that aren't for snacking
I know whenever I’m in major need of a work break, I immediately want to go to the pantry and get a granola bar, or some pretzels. Resist the urge! Spend your time a little better. If it helps, you can also spend your breaks doing something productive. Here are a few things you can do instead:
- Set a 15 minute timer and go for a short walk.
- Do a quick dance or yoga stretches.
- Go to a different room and read a book.
- Try something new
- Clean your room or desk space
- Do laundry or dishes
7. Ask yourself if you're truly hungry
This is probably the best way to resist snacking and decide if you should use your break differently. Before taking a break, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry. If you are, then go grab that snack! If you find the answer is no, then try doing one of the things I mentioned above instead.
It's not all about outward appearance
I just wanted to add that these tips are here for you to use, but don’t feel pressured during this time to stick to any kind of diet or exercise regime. The internet is circulating with all kinds of fitness programs and nutrition influencers who are saying that it’s your time to make a difference for your body. That’s great! I know we all want to do the best we can for our bodies, but don’t feel pressured to do these things because it’s constantly being thrown in your face. Choose to take care of you because it makes you feel good, and because YOU want to.
The past few weeks in quarantine, I’ve really struggled with feeling guilty about my eating habits, or getting upset because I can’t workout the same way I did before. That’s not okay, and I’m sure many of you are feeling the same way. Just take a moment to reflect on all the things you do have in this time, and know that now doesn’t have to be your time to get in the best shape of your life. Just do your best and know that’s enough for right now. If all you do is go on a 15 minute walk two days a week, that’s still an accomplishment, and you should be so proud of yourself!
I try and remind myself of this verse from the bible, 1 Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” So just remember that you don’t need a perfect body to be loved. Take this time to work on crafting your heart because that is what will truly reflect your beauty. You’ve got this! I know you do, and God knows you do.
Ashley, I’m not a senior or in college. I’m a friend of your grandmother so I read your post. Your advice is good for us seniors that are quarantined also.
I must tell you. You write beautiful and I believe you have an old soul. Tell your Mom hi, and keep up the good work.
PS I’m a big reader and have a feeling I will be reading your first book someday . Have a blessed day.
Thank you so much for your kind words. It means the world to me. Of course the blog is geared towards college students, but it makes me so happy that some of my advice can be of help to others as well. Writing has always been my passion, so thank you so much for the encouragement. I hope to have that book in your hands not too long from now! 🙂