Healthy Living Challenge: Challengers reflect on choices made throughout five weeks

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The healthy living challenge is done but my commitment to living healthy is far from over.

In the past five weeks, I torched my old habits and dedicated myself to eating right and exercising regularly. 

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit, and even though I looked at eating unhealthily and skipping workouts as more of a convenience than a bad habit before, I can now say I hardly miss the unhealthy lifestyle.      

As much as I could write about how deliberately living healthily has helped me improve myself physically by giving me extra energy and making me stronger, the main perk of living a healthy life is that it truly makes me happier.

Many studies show a link between exercise, eating healthy and living a stress-free life. Exercising releases endorphins in the brain, creating a euphoric feeling called “runner’s high.” And although it can be synthesized with drugs and alcohol, the “runner’s high” that comes after a big workout is the kind of high that doesn’t cause any negative side effects, terrible crashes hours later, or second-hand smoke poisoning in your friends.

When it comes to the healthy eating I subjugated myself to the last few weeks, I have a confession to make: Tobasco sauce.

Those who know me know of my insatiable addiction to Tobasco. I put it on nearly everything I eat. And because its three ingredients are simply vinegar, red pepper and salt, I consider it an easy way to make my healthy meals – no matter how much they resembled rabbit food – to taste delicious.

The official healthy living challenge is over. If I wanted to, I could eat an entire pizza tomorrow without breaking any rules. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t feel guilty doing it. I committed myself to this challenge for a bit longer than 21 days, so now that it’s an official habit, I’d have to take another 21 days if I’d wanted to break it.

But I hope to keep this habit up for a while. I hope it becomes more than just a challenge I write about in the newspaper but an entire lifestyle to carry with me forever. So you can count on me to keep running around campus between classes and drinking those hideous looking smoothies that leave bits of spinach in my teeth.

Because whether it’s the Tobasco or the “runner’s high,” I’d say I’m addicted.