Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ugh. Budgets, Diets, and Exercise. The Typical Millennial Nightmares

I relish the freedom that growing up has given me, but navigating through the unknown terrain of adulthood can often feel like a never ending trek through a land-mine of unforeseen costs and bigger scarier issues. Even though I am trying to adapt, I still envy the blissful unawareness and trivial problems of a 6 year old. Giving up is not an option, but sometimes I wish I could stop, stick my lip out, and kick and scream until someone brings me some ice cream and points me in the right direction.
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Through all of the struggles, I have developed a new respect for the importance of budgeting, exercising, and healthy eating. These represent  some of the things I can actually control and make simple. Because in the chaotic and stressful world that characterizes adulthood, I have found that most things rarely offer that luxury. Multiple interviews don’t guarantee a job, the check engine light actually indicates a car problem, taxes take the fun out of paychecks, and relationships seldom end with happily ever after.
There are many variables that I have little to no control over, but that does not apply to my diet, my workouts, and my ability to stay within a budget. To maintain a grip on these important aspects of my life, I have to keep them simple because this keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. Instead of following a strict diet or training schedule,  I use these simple tricks below to keep my body and my bank account healthy.
Exercise Simply
  1. I prefer a workout routine that I put together myself. Running, although high impact, is a great way to exercise if you don’t like gyms or your budget isn’t ready for one yet.
  2. To work out my arms, I stick with the classics: push ups, dips, and I own a couple of 10 and 15 pound weights.
  3. To add extra tone to my legs: I do lunges after my run.
  4. Wall sits are another easy way to work out your legs.

How to Exercise in an Apartment and Forever Asleep demonstrate a few of these exercises and offer a few more.
My advice: Pick out a few of the exercises you like best and stick with them for a while. Get comfortable doing those and then incorporate other exercises. Don’t complicate your routine. It’s something you should look forward too, not dread.
Again, these are all simple, old school workouts that don’t require a gym membership and are often easy to do in and around wherever you live.
Diet Simply
I did weight watchers off and on for my first couple of year in college, after gaining the freshman 15 and adding the sophomore 10. Although that was further back then I care to admit, I still keep an eye on the amount of fat, calories, and fiber in a food while grocery shopping. Obviously sodium, sugar, and a host of other things affect the nutrition content of a food, that’s a quick way to check myself before buying something totally detrimental to my waistline.
Diets are complicated. It can be as simple as portion control. Don’t completely deny yourself of the foods you love, because more than likely, you’ll end up bingeing, and eating way more than you ever intended.
Try using this budget friendly list of healthy foods next time you go grocery shopping. It provides you with simple options for a healthier diet:

Craving something bad?!?! Take a bite of your secret pleasure, quickly drink a glass of water, wait a minute, take another small bite, and then again quickly drink another glass of water…you’ll feel full without having to completely lose yourself in your favorite treat.
If you forget to pack your lunch or just tired of eating at home, ignore your inner devil and don’t order the Big Mac. Instead, try one of these healthier fast food options:

Even when I am having an unhealthy day or week…I always feel a little bit better about myself by drinking water. Duh, its one of the simplest healthiest tidbits known to mankind. But drinking water really isn’t that easy, is it? No, not when there are cokes, and smoothies, Starbucks, and wine that can just as easily satisfy your thirst, albeit temporarily.
I have always struggled with drinking water...until I discovered it wasn’t the water I had a problem with, it was more often what I was drinking it out of. I don’t like drinking bottled water, except for smart water…which is definitely not budget friendly. The smart water bottle is my absolute favorite drinking receptacle which I still splurge on occasionally (weird yes, but effective). In order to stay hydrated without smart water, I found a large tervis tumbler with a straw holder that I can drink water out of. Because if I can’t have a smart water…I have to have a straw. If you struggle with water intake…try to discover your favorite water drinking receptacle. I found that the bigger, the better…less refills.
RELATED: Debating Obesity
Also, when eating out…drink water!!
Yes, its friendlier on your budget (a soft drink can add $3-4 dollars to your bill), but also think of it this way…it is your opportunity to have someone else prepare and refill your water as many times as you desire!! Drink up! PS..water is one of the few things I have absolutely no problem refilling numerous times as a server…CONGRATS!! You are being healthy!!!

Budgeting Made Easy
Budgets OVERWHELM me, especially complicated ones. Its difficult to sit down and actually see how much money you spend. And although it sucks, its much better than trying to guess how much money you MIGHT have at the end of the month.
After trying a few (the Bank of America budget template sent me straight to the wine bottle), I found this budget guide that fit me best:
Life After College also offers great suggestions and other templates for a complicated life:
I will forever and always, love fast food. It is definitely my guilty pleasure. In order to save my waistline and my bank account, I employ this FANTASTIC TRICK:
And Last But Not Least: The Simplest And Cheapest Thing Of All
Argue all you want, but Americans, especially our generation, are lazy. YAY..Mexico has become a fatter nation than us! But that shouldn’t make anyone feel better. Obesity is an EPIDEMIC! The health risks associated with being obese and overweight are not a secret to anyone anymore. I believe, that in order to truly change your lifestyle habits, you have to find your motivation. My motivation: I was 105 pounds entering my freshman year of college in 2003. In 2009, when I graduated, I was 130 pounds. A…yes.. I partied and I took some time to graduate…happy hour was always more fun than studying or even going to a class..duh! B…the partying obviously directly contributed to my weight gain…not just the alcohol…but the greasy foods I craved for my hangover and the total inability to exercise after a night of shots. PS…although 25 pounds may not seem like an extreme amount…I am barely 5 feet tall and it certainly added up on my petite frame.
Consequently, when I graduated and moved in with my parents for a year..the weight just fell off with little effort on my part. Although, without the ever present hangover…I could stomach healthier food options and found the energy to start exercising again.
My Point: I motivate myself to stay healthy with this saying:
It was acceptable to gain weight in college, and it was great that I lost weight after college…and it will be embarrassing to me if I gain that college weight back. That is my motivation…it works better than knowing the health benefits of exercise, because sometimes that knowledge just isn’t going to get your ass to work out.

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