“I wanna enjoy life. I wanna eat pizza! Why should I exercise if I’m not fat!”
Last year was my first year at college and one thing I realized was: donuts, pizza, chicken, candy, and more donuts.
Yeesh, I thought after high school, we would all transform into responsible, health-conscious adults. But no, I realized. Not everyone wants to prevent clogged arteries and high blood pressure.
One of the reasons I didn’t fit in as a freshman is everyone wanted to eat junk! People would invite me to parties with nothing but booze and talk to me about craving their favorite fast-food restaurants that I had not a sprinkle of interest in.
And it’s sad because yes: I’m not fat, and I believe I do have a high metabolism too. But eventually—and what we young adults seem to forget—is that that metabolism is going to slow down.
Even though I’m 19, weigh less than 200 pounds, and have enough money for fast food, I live a healthy lifestyle, and I do this for a multitude of reasons:
Reason 1: I don’t want to be fat.
I read this one post on my twitter account along the lines of
“all of y’all think y’all cute snapchatting and eating fast food but yall gon be fat in like 20 years.”
And if only you could just see how my thumbs broke off trying to retweet that so quickly!
It was just a wake-up call for me. A “Hey, not all youngsters are oblivious to the fact that metabolisms slow down!”
The quick, less scientific answer I tell people when they ask why I eat right and live a healthy lifestyle is because I don’t want rolls. I don’t want muffin tops, (extra) cellulite, double chins, or baby-lacking pregnant belly. When I’m 60, I want to look good in a bikini.
Reason 2: I don’t like acne.
Ok, so there isn’t much proof behind a link between oily foods and acne. The “pizzaface” doesn’t happen because of pizza.
Every time I eat a Nigerian puff puff—similar to Apple turnovers but it’s fried—the VERY NEXT DAY, a pimple is born.
I was reading articles about this for longer than needed, and the only possible reasoning is that the grease from the puff puff missed my mouth and crawled to my face and clogged my pores on the surface of my skin. But I truly don’t think that’s how grease works.
Ever since I started living healthy, which implies drinking more water, avoiding fast foods, and exercising, I noticed that I don’t suffer from awful breakouts I used to. I mean, it comes around at that time of the month still, but my acne game for the most part is pretty weak.
And I’m tellin you, I used to have AWFUL acne. I mean not as bad as the before pics on proactive commercials, but I had a HUGE forehead. Forehead+ bad acne = do I even need to explain it? My pimples had their own show on my Code Lyoko-forehead for everyone to see each day. And then makeup made it worse and bangs also make it worse so I just accepted looking ugly for a while. Luckily, all of that changed when I started drinking more water. I haven’t touched a bottle of coke in like 4 years.
Reason 3: I don’t want arthritis
Arthritis runs (ha) in my family. Mom wouldn’t be able to go to sleep because her joints were swollen. And my Grandma just had surgery on her knee because the pain was too much.
I didn’t want to be like them.
I know genetics plays a big role in life, but a natural cure/preventative measure for arthritis is to MOVE. We’re recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day: walking, running, burpee-ing, cycling. And I did it all.
I didn’t want to walk around with a cane
I didn’t want to be weak and frail and lose my muscles (your muscle starts degenerating as early as 30 years)
And once you get arthritis, moving HURTS. I’m not tryna be in unnecessary pain when I’m old.
Need help exercising? Got you covered.
Reason 4: I’m gonna be lazier if I start later.
I already know it. If I don’t start now, I’m not gonna have enough willpower to do it later. I’m probably going to learn how to cook more unhealthy foods and it’s going to be hard for me to just stop with all the salt and seasoning that I’ve gotten so accustomed to. And I feel like it’s going to be even harder to jump around if I’m bigger because, you know, all that extra mass.
Plus I’m gonna be going through a lot of things when I’m older. Bills. Mid-life crises. Belgium chocolate.
it’s gonna be hard for me to stop what I’m doing and commit my time to reading all these articles and learning how to eat and exercise.
Because it’s not just a “let’s lose 50 pounds and be healthy again;” it’s a “let’s lose 50 pounds and KEEP it off for good.”
Why start later when I can start now?
And it’s gonna be the same for you! You might want to go back to school while you have three kids eating away your sanity (and money) every night. The busy bee stings us all come adulthood.
Reason 5: A healthy lifestyle reduces my risk of cancer—13 of them.
A recent study just concluded that exercising decreases your risk of 13 different cancers. From esophageal to breast to rectal cancer.
Cancers don’t really run in my family like that. I think one reason being is that we eat natural foods. Natural foods drenched in oil and salt, but nonetheless natural.
There aren’t lots of hormones in our cultural Nigerian foods that may eventually incite growths in our body. Not saying that GMOs and processed foods are the culprits for all cancers, but they do have a bit of a hand in it.
But since I’m now more exposed to American foods (and since the U.S has the sixth-highest population of cancer diagnoses in the world) my risk for cancer (GOD FORBID!) is probably a bit higher than let’s say my grandma’s who lived off of fufu, chicken, and rice for years on end.
And I can’t just remove myself from American foods all the time or go the extra mile to buy straight from a legitimate farm that doesn’t use chemicals all the time (too much work.)
So the solution? To eat lots of fruits and fiber, go veggie when I can, and watch fun YouTube exercise dance videos.
And if breast cancer runs in your family, I advise you to do the same! Breast cancer happens when there is an overproduction of the oestrogen hormone in the body, and it tells cancerous cells to grow and multiply. Luckily, this study has shown that physical activity can lower that amount of oestrogen, reducing the risk.
So those are all the reasons I don’t partake in Fried Chicken Wednesdays or nights of calorie-dense alcohol.
Well, all the reasons….
Bonus: So my husband won’t get erectile dysfunction:
Oh, stop blushing. It’s totally natural to be interested in the functionality of the other genitalia!
In short, erectile dysfunction is when the penis goes limp during the dirty.
And there are a lot of reasons for this, one of them being diet. As you may know, fried foods clog the life out of your arteries. And your arteries help bring the blood to the penis.
How do you prevent clogged arteries? Eat more fruits and veggies, says Pubmed.
And so that’s exactly what I’ll force tell my husband to do.
I believe living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just start and end with me. Rather, it should touch my family now, my husband, my family later, and even you all! Learning how to be in charge of your own health at an early age is one of the best investments you can make in life.
So say no to daily Starbucks runs!
Don’t skip out on veggies!
Stop drinking so much!
And let’s give our body what it needs, not what you think it wants.
Don’t know how to get started? Let’s tackle the hardest part: exercising: