Spotlight On: Haley DeCristoforo

July 10, 2017


Name: Haley DeCristoforo
Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders
Position/Role at UNH: Student
Year Started at UNH: 2013
1. What does health mean to you? 
To me, health includes mental as well as physical well-being. My own definition of health includes my diet, exercise, and mental health rituals. 
2. What do you do to make a healthy UNH? 
My first step to impacting my health in a positive way is eating and drinking foods that have high nutritional value and give me energy. I am a highly stressed person, and fall victim to feeling fatigued and unbalanced. To counteract some of the symptoms of stress, I eat foods that will give me energy and substance such as whole wheat bagels with peanut butter, broccoli, lemon water, red meat, kale, brown rice, grapefruit, and bananas.  When I eat well, my body feels stronger and has more energy throughout the day. In addition to eating well, exercising also releases chemicals in my body that cause me to feel happy and invigorated. I try not to over-exercise which would counteract the original benefits of staying fit. Lastly, I try and meditate at least three times a week when I am by myself. It helps me unwind and feel like I can take on tasks the following day.
3. How do you stay fit? 
I stay fit by running outside or at the gym. Occasionally I will use machines at the gym other than the treadmill, but running is what I most enjoy. In my opinion, staying fit should be enjoyable rather than an arduous task that one has to do.  I also notice that I feel fit when I am on campus because I walk everywhere rather than drive since I do not have a car.
4. Do you have any tips for eating healthfully? 
My tip for eating healthy includes not only doing your research on the health benefits of certain foods, but only eat what you like. For example, I have read about the benefits of eating fish, or adding tuna to a salad. As much as I have tried, I hate fish. I decided to stop trying to like fish for the sole purpose of eating healthy. Instead, I choose to eat other foods that have other beneficial nutrients that I actually enjoy eating. Therefore, eating healthy is enjoyable rather than an unpleasant experience of foods you do not particular find tasty.
5. How do you find motivation to stay healthy? 
I have a very low immune system so staying healthy is extremely important to me. I am happiest when I feel healthy. I accept that I have my own version of what healthy means, and do not try to achieve the impossible. If I am exercising weekly, including nutrient rich foods into my diet, and keeping up with my mental health, I find myself satisfied.
6. Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life? 
I have made great strides in my mental well-being in the past year. I have found many benefits in speaking with a therapist on campus about managing stress, which had taken several tolls on my physical health such as hair thinning, and hives breaking out near my face. Participating in meditation and occasionally yoga has decreased my overall stress level tremendously and has alleviated these physical symptoms.
7. Anything else you would like to add that might encourage others on campus to make health efforts too? 
Being healthy does not mean being perfect. It means that you are doing things in your life that make your physical body and your mind feel balanced.
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