On eating healthy and being healthy

Christine Colleran

Being healthy is hard. End of story. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a celebrity with a personal trainer and chef, or supremely neurotic.

To top it off, we are in college which, by default, makes treating our bodies right that much harder. My first semester in college I spent nearly 200 debit dollars on M&M’s (this is very sadly true). I helped the M&M’s along with frequent Kleiner grilled cheeses and never missed an opportunity for ice cream at Fresh. Besides the obvious downsides of the 10-15 pounds that took up residence on my butt, I didn’t feel good or healthy, and I was really hurting my body.

These days Michigan has the honor of being the ninth fattest state in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report, and experts predict that Michigander’s won’t be reaching for the celery sticks any time soon. With these disturbing numbers come the facts that weight related diabetes and physical inactivity are on the rise in our beloved state as well. How do we put a stop to this? By literally getting up, putting one foot in front of the other, and by starting to eat a normal, healthy diet.

I know, it’s easier said than done- no one says to themselves (while reaching for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos), “If I eat this I will become obese.” In fact most of you probably won’t. Most of you will probably just throw an extra workout in your routine, or count on a decent metabolism to take care of the unnecessary calories.

But some of you will reach for those Doritos every day, and, before you know it, you will be facing heart disease or having a stroke. What if you had made the habit of reaching for some unsalted trail mix instead, or a low-fat yogurt? You don’t have to become a total rabbit to be healthier, you just have to make a few sacrifices in your normal eating routine. If you have an unmanageable sweet tooth (like yours truly) save the Dairy Queen trips for special occasions and switch to low-fat popsicles. If I can do it, anyone can.

Finally, don’t be afraid to get your butt in gear. So what if you think you can’t run (you totally can), go for long walks instead. Walk through the ravines under the Mackinac bridge- there are a million logs/swampy muddy areas and it’s great to get back in touch with your 5-year-old self as you navigate your way through the bumpy terrain.

I will say it again, being healthy is hard- but so worth the effort. We have to stop Michigan’s downward health spiral, and we have to start the battle at the individual level. Make a few small lifestyle changes, and let the freshman (or sophmore, or junior, or senior) fifteen (pounds, that is) stay the stuff of legends.
[email protected]