How to Maintain Healthy Habits Throughout Life’s Transitions
Humans are always in transition. Whether it’s starting a new job, going to a new school, or welcoming a new member to the family, we all have stages of our life that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Unfortunately, it is easy to lose sight of the healthy habits we had before the transition during these times.
How does a new dad cook healthy meals for himself now that his life has come to changing diapers and rocking his baby to sleep? Likewise, how can a first-year college student resist the temptation of an all-you-can-eat dining plan and avoid the lurking freshman fifteen? Situations like these are challenging – change is hard, and we don’t deny that! If you are interested in reading more about why it is so hard to change our human behaviors, check out this article on Forbes.
Harvard School of Public Health goes on to recognize how the COVID-19 pandemic–the most significant transition and change the world is facing right now– has affected nearly every aspect of our lives: “this health crisis has created a range of unique and individual impacts–including food access issues, income disruptions, and emotional distress.” They even share a ~visually appealing~ Healthy Living Guide to kick start some healthy habits, if you would like to check it out!
Anyways, maintaining healthy habits amidst change is not entirely impossible. There are many ways to ensure a nutritious diet and reasonable exercise routine (or at least some sort of movement!) without sacrificing in other areas of your life. I recently spoke to a couple of our team members at 6AM Health to get their take on staying healthy during life transitions and for their advice.
First is Brad Callow, our Founder and CEO.
Q: What is one transition you’ve gone through where you found it hard to maintain healthy habits you had before that transition?
A: Having kids is definitely a huge life change that either makes it a lot harder to eat healthy or makes it easier because you have to be structure-oriented. The hardest part of it is when you don’t sleep well, as your decisions aren’t as good and you crave higher calorie or denser foods. So if you aren’t sleeping well, it’s one part of the pyramid.
Q: As the creator of a startup, what advice would you have for others in the same boat?
A: Starting a business is almost always this life-consuming project that takes so much energy and time, and so it is important that you take the time to make good decisions and put good things into your body. Many people who start businesses allow themselves to be so consumed with their work that they disregard the importance of taking care of their bodies.
Q: What personal experiences led to your vision of what are now Fresh Fridges?
A: I started with the idea of how we can help people make better decisions around food. The easiest way to do that is to change their environment, so we don’t force them to make these decisions but provide them with options. The original idea was to deliver to people, but now we use fridges.
I then spoke to Ryan, a Business Development Intern at 6AM Health, who is going into his Freshman year in college.
Q: As an incoming college student, are you worried about your ability to maintain the healthy habits you have now?
A: No, because the school I am attending, the University of Connecticut, has a brand new Recreation Center, which I believe will motivate me to workout there in between classes, as long as I make the plan ahead of time.
Q: What do you think are good ways to manage your time in college, particularly when it comes to physical activity and healthy eating?
A: I think it may be difficult to find healthy eating options because colleges don’t necessarily have a specific healthy food section. It will be up to me to identify the best options for me and to practice moderation. In terms of exercising, I know it will be difficult initially, but with some practice and planning, I know I can strike a balance between my school work and my health.
A common theme from my conversations is the emphasis on planning and organization. Yes, the only thing you want to do after a hectic day in a new environment is sack out on the couch (I’ve been there, trust me), but if you can dedicate 15-30 minutes to creating a plan for your meals and activity the next day, it will go a long way. The National Institutes of Health suggest making a plan that includes small, reasonable goals and specific actions you’ll take to move forward with them.
Transitions are hard. We all know what change, both big and small, can do to our lives. But all we are proposing is that you start small. How do you plan on staying a little bit healthier during your next major transition?