Getting healthy and staying healthy are hard enough as it is. It's all the more difficult when you're super busy.
It doesn't really matter if you're a student or working full time. When you have 28 hours worth of work, sleeping and socializing to cram into just 24 measly hours, how will you ever lose those last five pounds?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle does take some work but don't let that put you off!
There are actually some pretty simple habits you can integrate into your regular routine to live a healthier lifestyle, even though you're busy AF.
1. Start prepping your meals.
This is what weekends (or your days off) are for – not just sleeping in and overindulging.
Use your time off to schedule and prep your meals for the week. Get a calendar if it helps!
Take an hour of your day to roughly plan out ALL the meals and snacks you're going to eat during the week. It's OK to repeat some: prep what you can and store them in your fridge.
This method forces you to consciously choose healthy meals, rather than making unhealthy, impulse decisions.
Feel free to get as creative as you want! Just remember to always make meals that can be easily assembled or prepared when you're ready to actually eat them.
Salads in a jar are a great option.
Now it's officially fall, it's easy to make a big pot of soup and eat it for lunch all week. Just put some thought into your meal prep and that's WAY less time you'll need to spend thinking about food for the rest of the week.
2. Walk around during work.
Contrary to popular opinion, walking is an extremely good form of exercising. The best part about it is you don't have to make as much of a conscious effort to reap the health benefits. You don't really even need to plan ahead: Just do it.
If you're stuck at a desk job or in an office environment all day, just take five minutes per hour and stroll around the office. If you work for a forward-thinking company, schedule walking meetings over traditional ones.
An easy goal to aim for is 10,000 steps a day, which translates to roughly five miles. This doesn't mean you have to try and walk five miles straight: Just try to accumulate that many steps throughout your day.
If you walk to work, you're already ahead of the curve!
3. Get as much sleep as you can.
We hear it all the time, but it's amazing how many people cut back on sleep to get a little more work done.
We've all heard about getting eight hours of sleep. Do it. It'll boost your mood and productivity throughout the day.
When you're going to sleep, it may be tempting to wind down in front of the TV or check Twitter for the trillionth time before nodding off.
I'm telling you: knock it off. Read a book. Color. Do something without electronics. Why? Your phone or computer's artificial light – known as blue light – can throw off your sleep schedule and may lead to up to an hour of lost sleep each night.
You'll sleep better and wake up more refreshed if you go to bed before 11 pm, and turn off all your devices about an hour before doing so.
4. Eat your damn veggies.
Your Mom told you and I'm telling you, too. Eat your damn vegetables.
Vegetables provide lots of nutrients that your body loves, are low in calories, fill you up thanks to all that fiber. And no – pizza and French fries do not count!
Be real with yourself. If you INSIST you are too busy to cook and you MUST eat out, you know there will be some sort of healthy option wherever you go. Have a salad or a brown rice bowl at Chipotle, grab a cup of soup and a salad at Panera.
Seriously, though, try grilling some veggies as a side to the meals you're precooking for yourself. Remember our meal prep discussion? You'll notice your pants getting a lot looser.
When you feel like snacking, try grabbing some baby carrots or celery and dipping it into hummus. If you have a sweet tooth, try some dessert hummus with fruits. Yes – dessert hummus is a thing and it will change your life!
5. Slug water all day, every day.
Studies have shown that drinking water will increase your energy, promote weight loss and flush out toxins.
So tell me – why aren't you drinking it?
Get a durable water bottle, and take it with you wherever you go: to work, on a run or to the store.
The daily amount you should consume will depend on your height and weight, but as a general rule, try to at least get 64 ounces of water in your system every day.
Just drink it all day. You'll feel so much better.
6. Meditate before bed.
You could also try this when you get up in the morning. What matters is spending just five to 10 minutes a day to relaxing and centering yourself, even if it makes you feel like a hippie.
Take the time to think about what you want to accomplish during the day, and think about how you are going to overcome any obstacles that come up.
Meditating helps you maintain a healthier attitude, which can prove invaluable when you're pushing yourself toward those last hundred steps around that cubicle of yours.
7. Exercise intensely a little over an hour each week.
If you think people are staring at you while you're doing laps around your cubicle, consider doing roughly 75 minutes of intense workouts each week. You can break that down to a little more than 10 minutes per day, or work out for 15 minutes each weekday.
Go on a 15-minute run every morning before work. Lift weights at the gym for 20 minutes, three days a week.
No matter how busy you are, it's important that you get at least that minuscule minimum number of active minutes each week.
Take care of yourself no matter how busy you get!
Being busy can be exhausting but you're a boss, right? So it's not an excuse to let your well-being fall by the wayside.