Going Back to School and Planning for Change

The key word in the title of this blog is Planning. If we do not have a plan we can not follow through.  Sure that makes sense now that I have mentioned it, but really, think about it. Of course we can not plan for everything as Life Happens (one of my favorite personal mottos), but any change can be overwhelming and scary at times, so why not prepare as much as you can.

The summer is coming to an end, unfortunately, and that means it is back to school time. For some of you this may be a new school, new teachers, or new classmates, but it also is a new chapter of your life. Maybe you are entering this year as a new you, maybe a healthier you and now you are faced with the demands of school on top of your new healthy lifestyle. You may ask, how am I supposed to be as active as I was over the summer, or how am I supposed to eat healthy when my only choice is the school cafeteria? Once again the key is to plan and be prepared, but another important part is to be flexible and think healthier.

 Of course life would be easy if we lived in a world where there were ONLY healthy options, but unfortunately we live in a “toxic food environment” (thank you to Kelly Brownell, Ph.D. for this term). We live in a world where high fattening, unhealthy food is readily available and can be yours whenever you want it. Of course some places, including schools, are becoming more health conscious, but at the end of the day only one person can take responsibility for what you eat and that is YOU. So, when you are surrounded by unhealthy food, if that be on the streets of NYC, walking around downtown Charleston (i.e. candy stores, pralines, fried food), or in your school cafeteria, YOU have a choice to make and that is to make the healthier choice. You may not always have a healthy option (i.e. apple slices instead of French fries), but there will always be a healthier option and that choice is yours to make. Of course the best option is to always be prepared by bringing your own healthy food wherever you go, but that may not always be feasible, so ask yourself what is the healthier option? Then make your decision and stick to it, which is not always easy, especially when you are surrounded by peer pressure.

 Another key point I would like to make with this post is to be assertive. As I mentioned earlier, YOU are in control of what you eat and (some of) the decisions you make (of course your parents make decisions for you as well). With that being said, if you decide to eat the French fries instead of the apple slices because it seems like the ‘cooler’ thing to do, who is it going to impact at the end of the day, your friends, or you? Plus, do you really think unhealthy and greasy food is the ‘cooler’ thing? Do you see what is happening to American society and the obesity epidemic? I think making the healthier choice is clearly the ‘cooler’ thing to do, but yes, it is not easy to be assertive, especially with pressure from your friends.

More tips from SparkPeople on school lunches and planning: