Fun healthy living tips
- Bring your sports bra into the shower. Hand wash it with a little bit of detergent. It keeps the wicking material in shape.
- Buy a cheap little mesh bag to wash your bras and panties in.
- There are mesh bags to hook on the door of your dryer as well, so your sneakers aren’t banging all around.
- Wear breathable panties the day after a wax.
- Use a shaker even for nonalcoholic drinks. If it’s getting to room temperature, dump it into a shaker with ice, shake it up with a nice little dance, then pour it back out.
- If you use sticky notes as reminders, move them around after a day or two or they’ll just become part of the landscape.
- It’s tempting to wear the same bra day after day, but sweat gathers on it and you can end up breaking out.
- Get your eyebrows waxed at least once for the shape, then you can follow the arch yourself when you tweeze.
- Treat your body skin the same as the skin on your face. Use a cleanser and pat dry, then use an acne moisturizer.
- Wear your own flipflops to get a pedi and ask them to put those on before they paint your toes. You’ll avoid smearing tacky polish when you take the pedi slippers off.
- If you’re taking a picture of a celebrity for your haircut, bring different angles so your hairdresser can see all sides and you get a more accurate cut.
- Air dry your hair! Save it from the wrath of the blow dryer.
- Use a heat protectant if you must straighten your hair.
- Got a summer heat rash? Soak in an oatmeal bath and avoid too hot showers.
- If you’re experiencing irritation anywhere from shaving, wash with an oatmeal soap, pat dry, then alternate between neosporin and baby powder. Avoid scented lotions and tight clothing where humidity can get trapped.
- Realize you don’t have any gum after lunch? If you’ve got some chocolate, eat that, it’ll overwhelm your breath.
- If you have a significant other who you are intimately involved with, get to know their body well, and vice versa, and discuss it. It’s common for your girlfriend/boyfriend to be the first one to notice an irregular mole or lump. Don’t be shy, ask if they’ve always had that mark if it doesn’t look right.
- Wash your pillowcase once a week. Your hair drips there and then the build up transfers to your face and can cause break outs.
- Call your mom. Ask her what she was going through with her body when she was your age. Same drying out of her skin, same bags under her eyes? Ask what she did. Try some of her at home tricks, even if they seem crazy. Putting yogurt on your face might feel weird, but it can’t hurt to try.
- You already know not to count coffee as part of you water intake, but did you know you’re supposed to subtract it from your water total? Much like alcohol, you need a glass of water per cup of coffee to balance yourself out.
- If you’re starting high rep workouts, beware of unexpected friction burn in strange places. Examples: the top of you butt from high rep sit ups on a slipping ab/yoga mat (switch cotton panties out for polyester) or on your knees from knee push ups (put a softer towel beneath your yoga mat). If it’s already happened, baby powder and first aid cream.
- Sore knees or shins from running or too many squats? Pass on the ice and steal some of your mom’s frozen veggies. It sounds like a scene from bad boxing movie, but the veggies contour to your shins and knees better. And elevate! Prop your legs up on a chair in front of you and ice yourself on and off for an hour.
- Breaking out from working out? You don’t have to chose between a tone body and good skin. If you can’t grab a shower immediately after, wash your face, then swipe your toner over your chest and shoulders.
- Don’t compromise on your clothes just because you work out at home. You still need to wear a sports bra, and preferably spandex, polyester, or under armor shorts. It’s tempting to wear an old boyfriend’s boxers, but they don’t wick away sweat.
- Feel free to sweat your way through an ex’s favorite band t-shirt. Wear a sports bra underneath and work out in a loose, breathable cotton shirt.
- Take off your make up. If you’re hitting the gym after work, you’ve probably still got eyeliner and foundation on. Once you start working out, you’re going to sweat through it and melt it away. Splash your face with cool water before working out so you don’t end up looking like a hair metal band groupie and the sweat and bacteria don’t gather.
Into the bathroom:
- Dye your hair at home, save big on the salon costs. Find a color one to two shades lighter or darker than yours (depending on if you’re blond or brunette). Get a brush and dye bowl for cheap from the closest Sallys. Mix the dye, then work out of the bowl with the brush for better precision. Read the directions carefully. The very lights blondes need longer to process, so keep an eye on the clock. Start with your roots so the dye stays there the longest, then clip it all up into pieces and take it down one by one until you’re done and can wrap it all back up. Wear an old t-shirt and wrap a towel around your neck, over the sink, on the floor, and on the counter. Don’t peel off your gloves until you’ve put the bottle back in the box and thrown it away.
- Brush your hair before you go into the shower, wash and condition, pin your hair up, finish washing you body, dry off etc. Now, don’t brush your hair. Twist it up in your towel to get the excess water out, then unwind it and leave it be and get into bed. This way, you’ll see what your natural hair looks like. Sometimes I’ll brush just my bangs so they aren’t too curly, or wind my wet hair into a bun for more waves.
- Use the time spent deep conditioning to do something. Plan your shower so you wash your hair first, then twist it up to let the deep conditioner set and use those five minutes to exfoliate, shave, or wash your face and chest.
- Or, use those five minutes to do nothing. Sit on the floor of the tub while it sets and make those few minutes you time. Do your worrying so you won’t do it at night when you’re trying to sleep, or just let everything go.
- Actually use the massage feature of the shower head. I’m not talking about on your lady business, though that’s another option to kill the time your deep conditioner is setting. But, the massage feature is great for getting out lingering build up at your scalp, and for, get this, massaging you. Pulse it on the tension in your neck and shoulders, rinsing yourself off even better while you’re at it.
- We’ve talked about peeing often from guzzling water, but if you’re drinking enough, your pee should be clear most of the time. That’s another trick to know if you’ve been drinking too much at the bar. If your pee is clear, that’s all alcohol. If it isn’t during the day, you’re getting a little dehydrated. Drink up!
- Self Tanner 101. Exfoliate in the shower first. Pat dry. Then rub your lotion between your hands, start at the ankles and work your way up. Go slow and make sure to keep it even, especially in the valleys of your knees, ankle bones, elbows, the creases around your breasts etc etc. Then, wash your hands well, or you’ll get oompa loompa palms. Sit and wait it out. Or stand, if you don’t want to turn your toilet cover orange. Wait to dry before getting dressed, and dry well. Do your hair or file your nails, just don’t rush and stain your clothes.
- Use your sugar and EVOO exfoliate on your lips, but quick and only a little. It’ll smooth out those chaps that make your lipstick look choppy.
- Keep alcohol pads or toner in your purse. When you hit the bathroom at work, check too see if you’re getting oily. If you see some shine, wipe yourself down. Don’t give that oil a chance to gather all day. This is especially important in the summer. Long trek across the parking lot? Swipe the sweat off.
- Do your own pedicure. Grab a pumice stone for cheap from the beauty section of the drug store and get to work in the tub. Scrape your tootsies off, exfoliate them well, then rinse them off carefully. If not, you’ll take a header into the shower wall. When you get out, pat them dry and cover them in moisturizer especially for the feet, like gold bond, and pull on your socks. Let them sit all night or while you’re doing housework. Then peel them off, rinse them clean and pop some cottonballs between your toes and grab your favorite bright polish.
It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.
Don’t fall prey to boring! Do challenging exercises, eat something unusual, make a statement. Push back in the face of the regular. Turn down drinking. Switch the fast food out for fruit. Take comfort in being the strange one. Take comfort in being the one everyone wishes they had the patience and strength to be.
Eat well, live well. The healthier you eat, the better you’ll feel. I’m not bullshitting about this. I’ve spent a lot of time eating like crap, and a lot of time eating healthy. When I’m eating healthy I feel better about myself. My skin looks better, I sleep better, I have more energy. Plus, focusing on things the healthy way, meaning exercise is about making yourself stronger and healthy food is a reward for yourself, truly ends up balancing you. If you care more about your body, you’ll be putting yourself first and your life will make more sense.
Don’t let anyone get you down for doing things the healthy way or for working out. People who aren’t healthy will want to bring you down because they know they should be doing it too, and you’re reminding them of that.
Total body tips I’ve collected over my twenty-one years
- Wash your hands for two rounds of Happy Birthday. Or, one super sexy, slow, Marilyn Monroe to the president version.
- Brush your teeth for the commercials of whatever show you’re watching (you know you’ve got the bathroom door open to watch that rerun of Friends, don’t lie).
- After you condition your hair, clip it up and wash your back again. Rinse it down then soap/body cleanser it with a loofa to get rid of the build up and conditioner you just transferred there from your hair. When you get out, flip your head over, unclip your hair, and wrap it up in a towel. Excesses of conditioner will still be running out with the water and make your back break out.
- Dry your face with a separate towel from your body, or dry your face first, then your body. If you do it the other way around, you’re transferring soap and build up onto your face.
- Make your showers shorter and cooler, it’ll stop your skin from drying out.
- If you have sensitive skin like me, use unscented body lotion, like Aveeno.
- You really only need three hair products per season, but if you’re like me, you have about nineteen on your bathroom shelf and they all come crashing down when you try to grab one. Check out the ones in the back, I bet they’re covered with dust because you never use them, and a certain three or four or in the front. Generally speaking, you need a hairspray, a mousse, and a smoother. In the summer you can add in a wax. In the winter you can switch that for defrizzer.
- Wear sunscreen year round. I know, I know, you want your tan within the first week of summer. Well, suck it up and use a self bronzing lotion. They’re a lot more subtle now, so you won’t look like you rolled in Doritos, or like Snooki. Use a foundation with SPF year round. It’s so easy that it’s ridiculous. Want your pretty skin for another fifty years? Protect it now.
- Play rockstar every day. Wear your biggest shades all the time, especially when driving. Even if it doesn’t seem too sunny, you’re probably squinting into the glare and giving yourself wrinkles.
- Go Greek. Chobani is heartier and more filling than regular yogurt, and it’s a great source of protein. The nonfat fruit filled ones are about 140 calories. Extra tip, learn how to get the right leverage to open it away from you so it doesn’t explode everywhere.
- Ladies, pick a good sports bra. Try on lots before you decide. It might end up costing more than your running shoes, but it’ll be worth it. When you find a brand you and style you like, watch for a sale and order a bunch so you don’t have to compromise on the days you wash yours.
- If you’re going to order shoes online, make sure you know your size in the brand. Stop by a Steve Madden or a Coach store and try them on before you start ordering them on DSW or Overstock. A size six in Maddens might be a six and a half in Nine West.
- If you shop online a lot, save your boxes. Most online stores allow free returns with a printable label, but you don’t want to have to go hunting for a box to fit your comforter that apparently doesn’t match the wallpaper.
- Sit with your pet or a friend’s pet for a little while each day. Dogs are therapeutic, and they’re commonly used in therapy sessions to calm patients.
- Wash your hair every other day instead of every day, especially in this weather.
- Shampoo your scalp, but avoid the ends of your hair, they get dried out enough on their own. Condition the bottom, but avoid the scalp if you’re looking for volume. Conditioner will weigh your hair down.
- When you deep condition, wring your hair out, then work it into the bottom of your hair. Twist it up and pin it, then put the excess in the top of your hair. If you do it this way, you’ll save on your conditioner.
- Put your phone out of reach in your backpack. Pay attention when you’re walking on campus or in your town/city. If you’re staring at your phone, you might end up a pancake, and no one wants to scrape you and your iPhone off the pavement.
- Dry/rough/scarred skin? Exfoliate. Make your own with a little bit of sugar and olive oil mixed in a paper cup, test it until it feels right. Take it into the shower with you and rub yourself down. Be careful when standing up! The floor of the tub will be slick.
- Try shoes on at midday, when your feet have been swollen from walking. Gross, yes. Effective, also yes.
- Cut your dead split ends, even if you’re growing your hair out. If not, the split ends will keep climbing up the strands.
- Shower right after your workout, even if gym showers skeeze you out. Letting the sweat linger results in breakouts and pools of bacteria.
- If you break out in little rashes when you workout and get sweaty, try putting some baby powder in the bends of your elbows, the backs of your knees, and between your breasts.
- Stop holding it in! If you’re trying to be healthy and drinking tons of water, or you’re trying to be human and guzzling gallons of coffee, you’re probably getting up from your desk every five minutes. It’s tempting to stay at your computer and work on an assignment, but holding it in can result in UTIs.
- If you’re walking a long distance, avoid the flip flops, even if it’s summer. Flip flops don’t offer any support.
- Set a sleep schedule. In bed by midnight, up by eight. Don’t deviate, even on the weekends, and you’ll start sleeping better.
- Go darker for veggies. Pick spinach over lettuce. Make your own salad instead of a bag-of-salad. And for the love of god, don’t get a McDonald’s salad, they’re packed with sugar.
- Lack any and all skills in the kitchen? Make best friends with your blender. You can pick any combo of fruits and whip them up with some yogurt, ice cubes, and a little bit of juice to make a yummy snack.
- Make the kitchen a safe haven. Clean out the crap and organize what you like. If you open the cabinet and an avalanche of breads, chips and something that used to be Christmas cookies tumbles out, you need to start over. Live with your parents? Make your own space, even if it’s small. Fill it with your organic peanut butter, your yogurts, and your whole wheat bread. Label it with your name if your family won’t stay away, or encourage them to all eat healthy.
- Keep your moisturizer away from your eyebrows. It clogs the pores there and can make you breakout.
- Take allergy medication even when you think you don’t need it. If you keep yourself covered constantly, there’s less of a chance for an attack to sneak up on you.
- Go natural and keep it simple. Ignore those commercials offering youth in a jar or weight loss in a bottle. Don’t buy into the idea that pills or a certain berry are going to make you perfect. Just keep it clean and healthy. If you’re eating well and getting some exercise in, you’re good to go.
Okay, onto the specifics:
Food is your friend (please to be saying this in the shark voice from Finding Nemo). Don’t be scared of it, don’t see it as the enemy, and don’t scarf it all down at once. Good food is good for you, it’s the easiest thing to remember.
- Pick the right sides/dressings. Go for veggies instead of mashed potatoes. For dressings, go clear instead of thick and white or orange.
Never be hungry. You’ve heard this before, but I’m serious. If you’re the kind of person who likes to snack while you’re working on homework or work like me, make it fruit. I slice up a bunch of water heavy fruits (like watermelon, kiwis, and strawberries) and dump it all into a bowl that I take to my computer and can chow down on without guilt.
Set your meals up before hand. I ignored this forever. When I finally started making my meals before going to work or school or even at home, that’s when I stuck to an eating schedule and actually gaining a healthy lifestyle.
Learn how to cook two things. Eggs and fish. Egg whites are great protein, and if you fill up your plate with egg whites and a ton of fruits, then eat a little Kashi cereal, you’ll be full until your scheduled lunch (which should be around noon!). When cooking fish, put a little olive oil in the pan, be careful not to let it snap up and burn your bare arms, and drop the fish in. It cooks quickly, so keep an eye on it. Fish gets lighter when it’s cooked, from pink to whitish. Put some pepper, throw a lemon slice on it, and eat up!
If you can’t always avoid the package, just be picky about your packages. Pick Kashi cereal or healthy trail mix. Go for organic peanut butter, which has less oil. Spread a tbsp on whole wheat toast. The toast part is important, it makes it easier to use less peanut butter. It dries faster though, because it has less oil in, so bring the jar with you to work if you can instead of making the sandwich in the morning.
If you’ve snacked on fruits and veggies all night and you’re still hungry, you probably need a little fat and protein. Eat a piece of cheese or a spoonful of peanut butter, it should satiate you. As for cheese, buy the sticks instead of a block, it’s easier to gauge how many calories are in it.
Don’t deny yourself. Craving ice cream? Do frozen yogurt! It’s still yummy and sweet.
Make it fun, make it challenging, make it a reward. Working out makes you stronger, even if you aren’t packing on the muscle.
- Learn how to breathe. In through your nose, out through your mouth for yoga. Picture your body like a water bottle. Inhale through your nose, fill yourself up from your stomach to diaphragm to throat, then sigh it out. For running, inhale and exhale through your mouth. Time your breath. When I’m jumping rope, I exhale on every other jump. If I’m jogging, I exhale on my left footfall.
Do something different. Don’t play the same home workout video over and over. Youtube some stuff, look through the Bodyrock.tv workouts, PopPilates, then once you learn a lot of moves, put them together yourself.
Make your own interval training. You’ve heard of Tabata training (the 4 minute workout of 20 second cardio bursts). You don’t have to do the exact moves in the video. Switch it up. Do any eight moves you want. You have so much to choose from: jump rope, high knees, crazy dancing, mountain climbers, burpees, quick push ups, front kicks, side kicks, punches, gliding, fast feet etc etc. You can make an entire workout out of this too. Do twenty minutes of five little intervals. One of eight ab moves, one of eight arms, one of eight legs etc.
Go outside. Take the dog for a run or go for a swim. Go look at the trees changing colors.
Celebrate every single workout you complete. You’re strong and beautiful. You kick so much ass!
Never make it just about losing weight. Make it about getting stronger, balancing yourself, and being in touch with your body. When you learn to focus on your body, you’ll be able to predict colds (which will be less frequent because you’re so healthy) and know when you need to give yourself a break, even if it’s just a mental health day.