What does being healthy mean? Being healthy means not only being healthy physically but mentally and socially. For example, if you are physically healthy but have poor mental health you will not be healthy overall and may not experience all the benefits of health, holistically. Many people just associate good health with diet and exercise and whilst that is part of it. The other part is looking after your mental health.
I hear a lot of people saying that they want to be healthier or they want to loose weight, etc. However, some don't realise that being healthy is more than diet and exercise so they end up losing motivation, etc. This sometimes results in bad habits and bad emotional health in which can result mental health issues such as Bulimia beginning to form in the minds and bodies of people. I know that at a young age most people's parents cook meals for them and they don't always have complete control over what they eat. I have experienced the same thing. I wanted to start eating healthier. However, my aunt and uncle didn't have the money or the time to be cooking good, healthy meals so they stuck to the cheaper and easier alternatives such as pizza and chips. Yes, these things may taste good but they can have negative effects on your body in the long run if they are eaten all the time. Therefore: I have come up with a couple of ways that teenagers and young people can stay healthy.
1. Educate yourself. Sometimes what seems healthy, isn't. So do some research. Go on the change for life website and find out what things you should and shouldn't be eating. Change for life also tells you all about how important exercise is and how often you should do it. It also gives you activity ideas as exercise doesn't have to be just running and going to the gym.
2. Educate your parents. Some parents don't realise what they are putting in their child's bodies. Therefore, give them leaflets all about staying healthy or give them the link to the Change for life website. Let them know that you would like a change and how it could benefit the whole family.
3. Change or limit your snacks. If you cant control the main meals that are made for you then try to control the snacks you eat. I know crops and chocolate taste really good but they should only be eaten in moderation. Try to swap sugary and fatty snacks for healthy alternatives such as fruit.
4. Keep track of what you eat. Keeping track of what you eat is not so you can check calories but to make sure you are getting enough of all the right food groups or to make sure that you are not eating too much of one food group. Check, have you had your five a day? If not, why don't you go get a pice of fruit?
5. Portion sizes. Are the snacks and meals you are eaten too much? Talk to your parents or carers about it and let them now that you would like smaller portion sizes or try to eat smaller snacks.
6. Water. You all know by now that you should be drinking a lot of water! However, sometimes water isn't that nice and you just don't want to drink it. So I recommend buying sugar free flavoured water or sugar free cordial/squash. This will help to ensure that you are drinking enough water and it will prevent you from getting headaches and feeling tired.
7. Regular exercise. If you don't like going to the gym then it's time to find an activity that's right for you. Do you enjoy swimming, rollerblading, football or skateboarding, etc. Simple activities such as the ones listed above can help you stay fit without you even realising.
8. Talk to someone. Even if you don't suffer with mental health problems it's still good to talk someone about what's going on in your life. This prevents things from being bottled up and then resulting in a huge emotional outbreak. It reduces stress and allows you to concentrate on more important tasks.
9. Keep up to date with school/college work. I know it's easier said than done but if you create a schedule and get things done on time then you will not have as much stress and you feel a lot better knowing that you have handed in your work.
10. Hang out with friends. Seeing friends boots your serotonin levels and and dramatically improves your mental health. Sitting in your room all day may result in your brain going into over-drive and overthinking situations. When you are out with others, you feel more relaxed and able to have a good time.
Now I'm not a professional so these things may not work for you but they worked for me so it's worth a shot. If some of the things on this list don't work then don't panic, there will be something out there that will help you. Just keep looking and trying new things.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.