We live in an age where eating a bacon-wrapped grilled cheese (aka a gooey heart-attack on a plate) is considered “trendy” and where laziness is celebrated as a quirky and lovable personality trait. Don’t get me wrong, if seeking out over-the-top foods is your niche and the gym isn’t your favorite place to be, that’s totally fine, but living that way would drive me up a wall.
Even though the popularity of healthy living seems to be receding in recent years, there is no need for fitness fanatics to feel ashamed for their lifestyle choices. Every health nut has experienced mocking or teasing from their friends for always ordering a salad when they go out or for the priority they give to fitting workouts into their already busy schedules. Although not everyone is going to support you, these are some reasons why I have decided that I’m
not ashamed proud to be obsessed with my health and fitness.
I Feel Great
One of the best things about eating healthy is that your body is going to thank you. Making sure to stay away from fatty foods and making it a point to get in five servings of fruits and vegetables seriously improves the way you feel throughout the day.
I’m not saying that a scoop of ice cream or a cookie here and there is going to kill you — and I definitely enjoy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every now and then. However, constantly eating junk is going to ultimately have a negative effect on your body and mind. You’ll start to feel sluggish and generally lethargic when the only thing fueling your body is full of chemicals, sugar and fat.
So sure, my salad probably didn’t taste as good as your triple bacon burger deluxe and chocolate lava cake, you’re right, but at least I’ll be feeling more energized after the meal instead of being ready for nap #4 of the day.
I’m Super Productive
Just like most college students, I’m busy during the day. I have classes to attend, papers to write, meetings to attend and exams to study for. That being said, a majority of my day-time schedule is pretty much spoken for. That means that workouts have to be done early in the morning, whether I like it or not.
In high school, it’s a lot easier to fit in workouts after school, but in college school never really ends and chances are, you’re going to have a social life and want to go out at night. This leaves incoming freshmen with a decision to make. They must ask themselves the question: What do I hate more? Waking up early or being out of shape?
For me, the answer to this question was a no-brainer. Getting out of shape just because I “won’t have time” to work out was not an option for me. Despite my hatred of early mornings, I found that waking up earlier made me much more productive throughout the duration of my day. The endorphins released during my morning workouts improved my mood and since I wasn’t wasting time sleeping in, I had time in the mornings to review notes and tie-up loose ends before heading to start my academic day.
I’m Hardly Ever Sick
College campuses are breeding grounds for infections. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are sure to be sick for just about the entirety of your college career. Eating healthy and exercising gives your immune system the boost it needs to keep you healthy no matter how many people are taking pulls of your bottle of Skvedka or how many germy frat-boys you kiss.
With constant tests, assignments and social gatherings going on, being sick all the time can be a real downer for your typical college kid.
I’m Less Stressed
Don’t get me wrong, I’m stressed out all the time. However, exercising regularly definitely helps reduce that stress. For me, skipping a workout means openly inviting a mental breakdown.
Plenty of people have their own unique methods of stress relief and prevention. Some people draw or listen to music or watch TV. Everyone is different so it makes sense that everyone has their own way to stay sane. The thing that I love about exercise being my stress reliever is that I am getting in great shape while reducing my stress level — at risk of sounding like a suburban dad, I’m killing two birds with one stone.
It Makes Me Happy
The main reason I’m not ashamed of my obsession with health and fitness is that it makes me happy. I couldn’t care less if everyone at lunch is eating chicken fingers and fries while I’m hitting up the salad bar. I couldn’t care less if I wake up at 7 to workout, even though I don’t have to be at class until 11. I couldn’t care less if I can’t remember the last time that I ate a cheeseburger or if all of my friends get annoyed by my rejection of unhealthy foods. You know what, It makes me happy to be healthy.
For those who aren’t overly health conscious and find happiness in eating whatever appeals to them and sleeping in until noon, I applaud you, just as I applaud my health-nut comrades out there. You are doing what makes you happy and that is all that should matter.
Whether you find solace in a good gym sesh or consider biting into a juicy steak to be a religious experience, you aren’t wrong or right. You don’t need to be crazy about your health and you don’t need to not care about your health to be “cool,” what you do need to be is happy and not ashamed of the way you are choosing to live your life.