Thursday, 10 March 2016

How to be Healthy at University | Lifestyle and Fitness

Hey guys! So I'm back with an update on how to keep a healthy lifestyle at university (I say keep, I never had one in first semester). I wanted to leave this kind of post in January until about now when I'd started to actually put some of these 'tips' to the test, but I feel so much better in myself so I thought I'd share how I maintain a balanced lifestyle at uni with you. 

I'm not an expert in nutrition and science behind food - just so you know (its probably pretty obvious anyway). I would say that at the moment I have a balanced diet, I still have snacks that I shouldn't and cheat on the weekends but the biggest difference has been changing what I eat for dinner at uni and also joining a much better gym than the one in the accommodation. 

When I first moved to uni, I didn't think my weight would change that much seen as though I have fast metabolism and I've eaten chips my whole life (legit everyday at school). I just kinda thought that nothing would really change...haha I was wrong. Its all in the meals, as soon as I stopped eating the meals my mum made at home, which are always healthy, I saw a massive difference. Not just in weight as it took a few months for me to put the weight round my tummy on, but just in general - I always felt sluggish, un-motivated and tired. After one semester at uni of eating really badly (frozen food every night, chips, pizza, takeaways, garlic bread etc) it kinda gets boring and you just don't crave it anymore. When I went home for weekends it would be pizzas as thats what we would have as a treat on the weekend in our house - but all I wanted was a healthy home cooked meal.

Long story short, this year myself and all my flat mates have been on a huge health kick (an actually one thats lasted). I decided to switch out whites for wholemeal pasta, spaghetti and rice, and just not have frozen food in the freezer. I'm surprised I've stuck to having healthy meals (despite the occasional typical student ready meal when I'm hungover), and its actually something I'm really proud of seen as though I'm a huge carb craver. 

I know it looks boring, but honestly it tastes nice. I don't mind having meat without a sauce so it doesn't bother me that it's a little bit dry, other than that is actually really tasty to eat and it makes me feel so much better after having a healthier dinner as oppose to an unhealthy dinner that will bloat me. 

I try to make sure I have carbs in my dinners as after dinner is usually when I go to the gym so I need the energy.

This pasta has made a massive difference to my lifestyle, I can eat pasta without getting bloated and know its a lot healthier for me than white pasta. Some people don't like the taste of wholemeal pasta, but I don't think there's a huge difference - if anything it tastes slightly on the nutty side but I think its much much nicer. 

I think main meals are key in your diet - they've definitely made a difference in mine anyway. Last semester I think I had a fry up at least once a week, this semester I've only had two throughout the whole 8 weeks. I'll either have eggs for breakfast with a slice of wholemeal toast (most likely scrambled), porridge or low fat yoghurt with honey and frozen raspberries (which I have as a post gym snack if I haven't had it for breakfast). 

For lunch if I'm at uni I'll just have a wholemeal sandwich and a bottle of water (I must drink around 3 litres a day, probably more), or if I'm in the flat I'll have reduced fat pesto with wholemeal pasta if I'm not having pasta for dinner...I'm a pesto addict.

Like I said, I've joined 'The Gym' in Sheffield thanks to all my flat mates who joined before me. I used to go to the gym in the uni accommodation but its tiny and really doesn't have anything to it at all. Also, its sooo much better when you go with your friends and have a gym partner. It just makes life so much easier, you can help each other out and it becomes more of an activity than just going to the gym. I'm really glad I joined because I go a lot more frequently than I used to, I only joined two weeks ago but I've been a lot since then and I'm really enjoying it. The best thing about 'The Gym' group is that you don't have to have a contract, you can literally just pay for a month and then leave etc...I'm not thinking of leaving, but first year ends in April so I'll be moving back home so I'm glad I'm not going to be paying for something I can no longer use. Its also really inexpensive!

As you may have seen on my social media, I've recently been gifted the 'Weight Loss Starter Kit' by Nutribuddy. I'm new to this, despite taking multi-vits as thats something I've always done, but its something I've wanted to try for a long time and seen as though I'm working out constantly at the moment why not? I'm going to be writing more posts about Nutribuddy over the next few months and updating you with my results but I just thought I'd mention it in this post seen as though its about health and fitness. If you're interested in using protein shakes for slimming then make sure you check out their website and have a browse through their products. 

So, my top 5 tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle at uni are:

1. If you can, swap all white pasta, bread and rice for wholemeal - it makes a huge difference and can really stop extra weight gain.

2. Drink plenty of water, it may seem obvious but I slacked on this in first semester and my skin was bad along with I the fact I was eating unhealthily and always snacking. I know drink so much more water and my skin has massively improved and I feel so much more awake. Tip - buy a cute water cup/tumbler and you wont want to put it down.

3. Don't buy frozen food. If you're going to have anything in your freezer make sure its frozen veg, fruit or meat. I buy chicken in bulk and just freeze it until I need it - then I get it out the night before. Swapping a night of pizza for a healthy stir fry has done me so much good and now If I ever want a pizza on the weekend, I don't feel guilty. 

4. Join a gym and go with your friends. This is the best decision I've made so far, it feels good and its so much fun. I just wish I'd made this decision in September because I'd be 100 times fitter.

5. Everything should be in moderation, there's nothing wrong with a takeaway or going out for a pizza. As long as you maintain a balanced diet its fine and should be guilt-free. I know I feel so much better whenever I eat something thats less healthy now as I eat healthier dinners. 

I'll have to keep you updated on my fitness, and how the Nutribuddy products go. I hope you enjoyed this post as its something a little bit different, and I'll make sure to do another post about university soon! 

What are your tips for staying healthy at uni, or when you aren't living at home? What do you eat to replace unhealthy meals? How do you find going to the gym?