How to Make Changes That Last
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. So, why is it that some people maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle while others see their nutrition and fitness go out the window as soon as midterms come around? It comes down to the small, daily decisions we make. The McMaster Athletics & Recreation Centre and the Student Wellness Centre have partnered for the #choosebetter campaign, to encourage students to make positive food and fitness choices.
There isn’t just one way to make lifestyle changes, but getting familiar with strategies and resources can help you get started! Here are a few tips:
1. Think about the “why”
It’s great that you want to get fit, but that alone doesn’t cut it when your schedule is crammed with meetings, midterms, and assignments. Prepare for those moments in advance by coming up with a solid “why”. Think about benefits in the short term, (Ex. ‘energized by endorphins’ – for better focus and mood). Explore other sources of motivation for eating healthy and staying active. Write them down and post them somewhere to remind you!
2. “Ready, Fire, Aim”
Don’t let yourself get stuck planning. It’s important, but get moving on your goals. Immersing yourself in your goal will help to ‘get in the zone’, but ensure you include stepping stones to get familiar with how your body responds to changes to activity, and food.
Every January, these is a rise in the number of fainting incidents at the Pulse. Laura Rietmuller, the Fitness Coordinator of the Pulse, says that this happens because students are over-exerting themselves at the gym without eating properly. Being realistic and pacing yourself will help you see your goals through to the end.
3. Get familiar with your supports
There are a lot of resources on campus through the Student Wellness Centre, David Braley Athletic Centre and the Student Health Education Centre to learn about the benefits of physical activity and nutrition. Personal trainers are available at the Pulse to answer your questions about nutrition and exercise. Also, take advantage of the social support around you and have friends keep you accountable and motivated.
4. Have fun!
Mix it up! If variety is the spice of life, than getting to know what spices are out there is also key! Take this as you wish – literally, or metaphorically! There are so many delicious and nutritious ingredients and spices out there (take cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and coriander for example), just as there are ways to get active. Find healthy recipes and activities that you enjoy!