Ok, so I've been out of school for about 6 weeks now. In that time, I've tried to make some changes in my diet and exercise. I've found that I gain weight when I'm in school, partially due to the food AT school. I mean, I can't eat salad 5 times a week (especially since that's what I do for a living - make salad, that is.) So here are a few things that I've started doing in order to become more healthy. (And also just a rant on other things. Long post warning here...)
1- Drink more water. We hear this all the time about how good water is for us, but it's really true. Every system in your body needs it, and you just feel GOOD. It's also really good for your skin, and I'll share another tip for your skin a little later. I got a spill-proof Starbucks mug for Christmas that will literally keep ice frozen for an entire day. I'll keep this with me all day long, whether I'm running errands or right before I go to bed. I've found that if I have it with me, even drinking a few sips here and there adds up eventually.
I've tried to cut out soda in the process of all this water-drinking. I like soda with certain meals, but I used to drink one a day, sometimes more than that. I also used to drink it at work ALL THE TIME. I've replaced my soda intake with water, of course, but sometimes I just crave something sweet. It is times like these that I turn to juice. I really like Ocean Spray's Lite Cran-Raspberry. If I'm not in the mood for juice, Gatorade makes G2 - a lower calorie version of several of their Gatorade flavors. An entire quart is $1 at Wal-Mart. You can't really beat that.
Some other things that I like drinking to replace soda: GNC smoothies, Campbell's tomato juice, SunnyD, and any of the Bolthouse Farms or Naked drinks, although these get expensive so I usually reserve these for a treat every once in a while. I also LOVE tea, especially loose-leaf from Amanzi or O-cha, so I'll brew some of that and sweeten it with Splenda.
2- My biggest weakness is snacking. During the summer when I have free time, I tend to fill that time with eating. Since I'm taking three summer classes during the first half of summer, my nights are my only free time and I get HUNGRY. I tried finding some healthy alternatives for snacks. I'm still on the search - any suggestions?
I make my own salsa, which I often just pour into a bowl and eat with a spoon. It's really good for you, especially if you use canned tomatoes. This way, you can control how much sodium goes into your salsa. If I want chips though, I make my own. It's healthier and they taste much better anyway.
I also don't like carrots but wanted to find a neutral-flavored vegetable that I can eat if I get a late-night chip craving. Zucchini fit perfectly and I actually REALLY enjoy it now. So, if I get a craving, zucchini is what I turn to. 1/3 of one and I'm good.
3- I told you I'd give you a tip on good skin. Avocado oil works WONDERS. I used to take acne medication every day, spending $10 a month to do so; at times my skin was still bad. I got some avocado oil ($10 a bottle at GNC), and just dab a little on a cotton ball, then rub the cotton ball on my face. I do this twice a day and the texture of my skin is softer and it's also more even. And clearer - that's my favorite part.
Avocados are also really good in salads, smoothies, mashed up and spread on toast, or just plain. Try them - they're really good for you. And, if you have an ALDI store in your area, they're .79 a piece. Way cheaper than grocery stores.
4- The final change is working out. I hate working out with a passion. But, I found this quick workout on Pinterest that I do every day now. Here's the link: http://pinterest.com/pin/187321665721286030/.
I do this before every shower and often a second time at night, stretching after. I'm looking for other things to incorporate into it that will still be quick and easy, but effective as well. I've upped the amount of mountain climbers and push-ups, as well as lengthening the plank.
I think I'm done now... that was a ton. Maybe this will help you, maybe it won't. But I've found that even little changes in your daily life make a big difference.