Students and faculty shared improving physical health and nutrition can positively affect mental health but being obsessed with dieting or maintaining physical appearance can negatively affect mental health.
Sophie Jones, a senior from Utah majoring in communications, explained getting consumed with counting calories and keeping track of the food someone is eating can damage one’s mental health.
She said individuals need to balance mental and physical health because they affect each other.
“I think that when you are healthy mentally, then you will find the motivation to improve your physical health. For example, you will be more motivated to get out of bed and workout, or you won’t have as big of a desire to be an emotional eater.”
Along with balancing mental and physical health, Jones noted the importance of having positive affirmations. She said she able to accomplish her physical health goals when she avoids negative thoughts.
Dr. Kate McLellan, an exercise and sport science assistant professor at BYU–Hawaii, said the key to getting in shape and making healthy body changes is consistency.
Micah Taotafa, a sophomore from California studying EXS, agreed with McLellan, and said consistency is vital in whatever diet and fitness plan he tries out.
“I have a lot of sleeping problems, so I have to stay consistent in my workouts and things I do throughout the day. If I don’t get a good workout in and get a lot of energy out, then I’m up all night and can’t sleep.”
With dieting, McLellan mentioned eating healthy might come at a cost. She added the cost is usually too much to continue the diet.
“When I have clients or friends wanting diet recommendations, I have them ask themselves two questions. First, ‘is this a diet you can be on for the next year and enjoy?’ And second, ‘is this a diet you would put your daughter and grandmother on?’
“You might enjoy eating cabbage soup all the time, but would you put a loved one on the same diet? Is it going to be healthy, sustainable, teach them good nutrition habits and help them create a healthy relationship with food? If the answer is ‘no’ to any of those questions, then find another nutrition plan.”
McLellan added her thoughts on the basic needs for getting in shape.
“At least six hours a night. Less than that will mess with your hormones and make you feel hungry and tired, which will make you eat more and move less.”
2. Stay hydrated:
“The body burns fat most efficiently when it’s fully hydrated, so drink, water. Also, many times what you think is hunger is actually thirst, so drink little sips all day so you won’t overeat thinking your body needs more fuel.”
3. Find sustainable, healthy nutrition plan (not “diet”):
“Diet teas, body wraps and detoxes get rid of water, not fat. They’re unhealthy, expensive and don’t work. Save your money and ignore the celebrities and ‘fitspo influencers.’ They don’t even use that stuff. They have personal chefs and trainers. Find a meal plan you can stick to for the next year and would be healthy enough for your daughter and grandma to be on, too.”
4. Build muscle:
“Muscle burns fat. Muscle creates shape. Muscle looks ‘toned.’ You want muscle. Go get some in the weight room. Ladies, leave the lightweights for alone. They’re a waste of time. Lift heavy. Lift like you mean it. You won’t look like a man just like guys doing cardio doesn’t make them look like ladies. That’s old-school thinking. Be smarter than that.”
5. Don’t overdo cardio:
“Cardio burns fat, but it also burns muscle. And the fat that it does burn is much less than if you spent the same amount of time lifting weights. You’re short on free time, so don’t waste it on a treadmill or elliptical. Use the leg press machine instead.”
6. Move more:
“During workouts and throughout the day: You can either eat less or move more. I like food, so I’d rather move a lot more during the day and eat slightly less than eating way less and staying lazy.”
7. Track your changes:
“Weight, tape measure and the fit of your clothes will all tell you if you’re moving in the right direction. Any weight change more than 2-3 pounds per week is water, not fat. Aim for 1-2 pounds per week. If you’re losing more than that it’s probably water and muscle, not fat.”