If you are finding yourself stress eating because of tight deadlines and craving bad foods and feeling guilty about it, you might want to read this.
Deadlines, social media, meetings, social life, sleep, repeat. It is truly a struggle to find time to take care of our bodies when we are busier than ever. I will tell you a secret: all it really takes, is to master time management and a healthy mindset. As simple as that might sound, it takes a while to get used to, especially for those who are not used to planning every single second of their day. It is all about changing your habits, which definitely will benefit your mind and body if you currently are finding yourself stress eating and often craving bad foods. Here is a list that you can use as guidelines or even a checklist to get the daily healthy habits going.
The ultimate guide to staying healthy and fit while on a schedule:
1. Plan meals a week ahead
Planning is key when it comes to time management. Making a meal plan for a whole week at a time will not only make you more likely to stick to a healthy diet, it will make grocery shopping much easier, and might only be something you will have to do once a week. Make Sunday your relax and planning day for the busy week ahead by going through quick and healthy recipe boards on Pinterest (I have pinned tons if you need inspiration) and list down the meals that you want to make. This will force you to cook more at home and cut down on those high takeaway costs, and unhealthy meals. Another great tip is to do freezer meal preps for lazy days. This does not mean that you cannot have cheat meals though or lunch meetings, but it will simply give you an idea of how you can easily squeeze in healthy homemade meals. It’s pure psychology, really. Plus, leftover dinner often makes great lunch for the day after! I have created a Pinterest board with super pretty free meal plan printables with grocery lists to hang up on your wall.
Follow Juliana Chow’s board An Organized Life (w. Printables) on Pinterest.
2. Switch out coffee for green tea and water
If you think your morning espresso is a morning must in order get you through your lectures or work schedule, think again. Not only does green tea contain the same amount of caffeine as coffee, green tea will keep you going for longer because the caffeine rush in coffee will drop faster, making the energy rush last for only a short period of time compared to green tea. Besides, green tea has several health benefits compared to coffee, e.g. hydrating the body instead of replenishing your fluid intake which coffee does, meaning pretty skin and a happy body. Also, green tea is filled with antioxidants and it can help reduce stress and promote weight loss. My ultimate tip would be to make water and green tea (or other herbal teas that might benefit your special need) your main fluid intake during the day.
3. Quit the elevator, and take the stairs
Squeeze in cardio whenever you can throughout your day. That means taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to work instead of taking the bus. You can even run up the stairs if you feel like you need that cardio heart-pumping rush. I love walking around in cities because there is always so much to look at! When I did my internship in London last year, I walked 23 minutes to work each day, which is just was long as it would have taken me to take the underground tube. Instead of spending money on train tickets, I got to squeeze in some exercise to and from work, which was great! Another tip is to try out power walking. Whenever I am out running errands, I like to walk fast-paced to save time and burn off some extra calories.
4. Add greens to every meal
A good fitness thumb rule is to fill half of your plate with greens and the other half with proteins. This is a really good rule for when you are cooking at home and want to force yourself to eat more healthy. Vegetables have great sources vitamins, meaning that if you consume enough of those you have covered your needed vitamin intake. Plus, it is good for your hair, skin and body.
If you are not too crazy about your greens, try tricking your mind by preparing the vegetables in a new and different way that you might really like. For example, kale chips, hazel-baked potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, pea pesto or beetroot hummus. The possibilities are endless, and luckily we have Pinterest to help us out in this area!
5. Try a Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday has become very popular in various employment facilities, but why exactly is that? Recent studies have shown that by cutting out meat once a week can help reduce heart diseases, limit the risk of cancer and will generally help you live longer. On a greater scale, a reduction in meat consumption will minimize water usage (as more water is needed to produce meat than vegetables) as well as reducing greenhouse gasses. So not only is Meatless Monday great for your health, it is also great for the environment.
I would highly recommend that you try it out, a few weeks at a time, to treat your body and try out healthy delicious vegan recipes. If you think that you will end up going to bed hungry, think again! If you generally have a big appetite, go for vegan recipes that are high in protein and stock up on healthy fats, like avocado and nuts.
6. Do exercises at your desk
There are plenty of ways that you can discreetly squeeze in a workout while you are at work or in class. Try doing seated crunches, leg raises or ab squeezes every time you need a break from typing on your computer. Another great idea is to set a mental clock to go fill up your water bottle every 35 minutes and in that way force yourself to move around more.
Studies have shown that stretching at work is really important too. Stretching improves flexibility, helps you feel de-stressed and refreshed and it only takes a couple of minutes. This makes stretching great for when you are writing a report, and at the same time allows you to reflect on what you are doing.
7. Control sugar cravings and boost your energy level with juices
Juicing is another great way to consume more vegetables and fruits than you would be able to eat. There are a lot of ways in which juices can help to boost your energy level too. For instance, chlorophyll, which is the green pigment in plants helps oxygenate the blood, creating increased brain function (= higher concentration) and physical energy.
For sugar cravings, a juice consisting apple, cinnamon and celery will do the work. Cinnamon contains compounds that help regulate blood sugar, and celery and apple are high in magnesium, which is often a mineral you lack if craving sugar. Check out this great list of vitamins and minerals you can take as supplements if you intensively want to control your sugar cravings.
8. Plan workouts with friends
Planning a workout is great, but I believe that people, in general, are more likely to actually do and finish the workout if they have a workout buddy to help them push through it. Classes are also a great motivation, but it is really all about the initiative to actually want to workout that makes the whole difference. Incorporating a weekly routine is fantastic too. A great way to start that routine is to meet up with one or more of your friends once a week for a fun and alternative form of exercise, like climbing or playing tennis. If that is not your thing, meeting up for a run is a good way too, to incorporate a routine making this a habit that will feel natural to you after a while.
9. Treat your body to the greatest sleep of your life
Sleep is the most obvious and advised health tip out there, but most people underrate a good night’s sleep. This step might even be the most important one because it is connected to all the other steps: a well-rested you will make healthier decisions when if comes to food, will crave less sugar to stay awake, and will have excess energy for working out. I, together with thousands of other young people, struggle with this because I feel most productive and creative during the night time. I would recommend seeing this as a personal challenge to try different methods to make yourself more productive during the day than at night. Because let’s be real, there is nothing more satisfying than laying in bed reading a book early before bed, knowing that you have accomplished everything scheduled for the day.
I have learned and researched tons about good quality sleep, but some of my main points would be to invest in a really good quality pillow and turn off electronics one hour before bedtime. I recently bought a bamboo pillow, which I absolutely love and makes me sleep like a baby.