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Health and Fitness Regrets and Advice

The Health and Fitness Mistakes We Wish We Could Undo

It's inevitable: at the start of a new year, we can't help but reflect on the past. And if the technology existed, I would rely on a time machine to give my younger self a heads up about a few things that would make life much easier down the line.

I enlisted the help of my fellow POPSUGAR editors, and they've graciously shared the health and fitness advice they'd offer the younger versions of themselves. And if you can relate, don't wait to turn these things around! Let go of these less-than-healthy habits, and start living your best life today.

  1. Vegan ice cream and cookies still contain calories. Just because something is "healthy" doesn't mean you can eat the entire bag.
  2. A little bit of exercise in your 20s saves you from a lot in your 30s.
  3. Wear sunscreen! That teenage tan won't be worth it when you're older.
  4. Even if you hate getting shots and blood work, go for a yearly physical. You'll establish a relationship with your doctor, and you can ask whatever questions you want. This way, you won't have to terrify yourself on WebMD ever again.
  5. If you want to lose weight, you need to do more than take a relaxing yoga class — calorie-burning cardio is a must.
  6. Just because you can go to bed at 3 a.m. and get up for work at 7 a.m. and "feel fine" doesn't mean you should. It is also not something to be that proud of.
  7. I used to survive off of anything I could get at the 7-Eleven by my apartment (like ramen noodles, peanut butter crackers, and candy), which is why I never had any energy and was anemic all through college. Nutrition is important, and eating whole foods is the best way to look and feel your best.
  8. I smoked, and it was stupid! It made me not want to do any cardio, and now, I have more wrinkles than my older sister who did not smoke.
  9. I walked around a lot on campus, but I never, ever exercised. Now that I run regularly and challenge myself when I do, I realize that running is my absolute favorite way to not only work out but also to de-stress and feel better about life. College is a hectic time, and had I had healthier exercise habits in place I probably would've been less of a stress case.
  10. Level of suffering in a fitness class doesn't correlate with quality of workout — you don't have to be on the verge of throwing up to be getting in shape. A less strenuous but enjoyable class is more likely to keep you in shape. You'll go more frequently and stick with it over the long term.
  11. Sugary instant oatmeal will fill you up for about two seconds. Opt for homemade overnight oats to still save time, but also save calories.
  12. Cutting back on alcohol will save you calories from the booze and the mozzarella sticks, pizza, or Nutella-peanut-butter creation you may inevitably eat at 2 a.m. — not to mention the hangover! Space out each drink with a glass of water.
  13. If you don't allow yourself any carbs for two weeks and pizza is in front of you, you will want to eat the whole pizza. (Don't eat an entire pizza because you will feel really sick.)
  14. Creating, then participating in, a grapefruit diet in high school (replacing two meals a day with grapefruits) won't make you skinny and popular. It will make you mean and hungry, and you'll quickly start sucking as a varsity athlete.
  15. Salad isn't rabbit food. When done right, salads are tasty and nutritious and more than just romaine with soggy croutons and mealy tomatoes. Instead of living off of fast food or skipping meals altogether, I eat least one salad a day.
  16. Find an exercise routine that you genuinely enjoy — don't kid yourself. As you get older and life's pressures grow (work, kids, you know the drill), exercise either becomes something you love or just another pressure or chore.
  17. I used to be sucker for any packaged food that had those hot-button words like fiber, protein, or low-fat, but then I realized that doesn't mean it's necessarily good for me! Now I try my best to avoid processed food completely, but if I do buy something packaged, I always make sure I can pronounce each ingredient on the label.
  18. Don't skip out on fitness classes or going to the gym just because you're paranoid or ashamed of people watching you. No one cares! They're all there to work on themselves, not to criticize or ogle others. (And if they are, you're going to the wrong gym.)
  19. Corn chips, beer, and ice cream do not make for a balanced dinner. I caught a bug one year I couldn't shake all Winter, and it was because I ate like sh*t.
  20. Those hippies doing yoga are not lame. You should give it a try before you mock it.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
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