College Students and Healthy Eating

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Eating healthy in college is challenging due to social pressures and an array of unhealthy temptations.

 

Making a healthy lifestyle change can be difficult, but making this change during college can be even harder. With academic, social, and financial stress, college is one of the most stressful times throughout one’s life. This stress, along with students being on their own for the first time, is what leads to the infamous weight gain that many coin the “freshman fifteen.”

The Dining Hall Can Lead to Fad Diets

College students consume almost all of their meals in a dining hall or similar on campus food service. Their parents are no longer cooking healthy meals for them, and dining halls are filled with the temptation of unhealthy foods: ice cream, cookies, french fries, and more. Most college dining halls are set up buffet style which means students tend to overeat many of these unhealthy foods.

Many college students turn to fad diets in order to loose the extra pounds gained from their uncontrolled eating within the dining halls. According to a survey by the National Association of Eating Disorders 91% of college females attempted a diet to help loose or maintain their weight. However, it is these fad diets that lead to even more weight gain in a cycle called yo-yo dieting.

The Dorm Room Diet

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The Dorm Room Diet helps teach college students how to take control of their eating habits.

 

To help better understand the link between college students and their struggle to control their eating Daphne Oz wrote The Dorm Room Diet. Daphne Oz is daughter of famous TV host and doctor, Dr. OZ.  Through her book, she shares her own struggles with weight as well as tips to help students avoid college weight gain. The Dorm Room Diet is not a fad diet plan; it focuses on healthy lifestyle changes. Daphne Oz gives healthy alternatives for eating in a dining hall as well as set exercises that all can be done within the confines of a dorm room.

 

Stress and temptation can lead to weight gain in college. Watch the following video which discusses these issues by looking at the opinions of students and professors at Furman University. 

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Making the Change to a Healthier Lifestyle

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Find a healthy balance between healthy eating and exercise by pledging to live a healthier  lifestyle.

 

 

Throughout this blog I have stressed the negative effects of Fad diets, reiterating that they do not lead to long term weight loss. The only way for success in terms of long term weight loss is through an overall lifestyle change. This post will offer helpful tips to make the change to a healthier lifestyle.

“Abs are Made in the Kitchen”

This saying has been passed around for decades. What it means is that one cannot continue normal eating habits and think that an hour in the gym will lead to weight loss. In order to achieve weight loss one has to change the way they eat, but they do not have to give up their favorite foods. To start eating healthier, one has to become aware of they are eating. Try writing down everything you eat for a day, then look at the list and find places where healthy substitutes could have been made.

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Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Instead of transforming your entire diet, try adding more fruits and vegetables into your snacks and meals.

 

Here are a few substitutes to try:

Whole Wheat for White Carbohydrates

Yogurt for Ice Cream

Air popped popcorn for potato chips

Water for Soft Drinks

 

Get up and Get Active

Exercise does not have to been running 2 miles everyday. Not everyone is a runner, and running is not the only way to become healthy. Exercising can be something as simple as walking around a neighborhood or biking with a group of friends. Exercise should be something you look forward to, not  a chore. Go to a gym and try all the machines. Find a group of friends and go hiking. Try  anything and everything until you find a form of exercise that you love.

Check out the following slide show to find ideas of how to stay active!

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What are the most popular Fad Diets?

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Nutrisystem, Atkins diet, and gluten free diets are some of the most popular fad diets, but they do not result in healthy, long term weight loss.

 

Fad diets, as we all know, have been around for centuries. However, it seems they become more and more popular each year, especially at the beginning of the year when New Year’s resolutions to loose weight are still on everyone’s mind. The following, are among the most popular fad diets.

The Atkins Diet

A typical meal on the Atkins diet focuses on protein and limits carbohydrates.

 

The Atkins diet is a plan that limits carbohydrates and focuses on protein and fat. Dieters on this plan begin with only 20 grams of carbohydrates a day and then slowly increase the amount each week.  On the Atkins diet you do not have to worry about portion control. Many believe that this helps people stick with the diet longer. However, the Atkins program does not allow for a well balanced diet and leaves  many individuals dehydrated due to the lack of carbohydrates.

Nutrisystem

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On Nutrisystem, a variety of prepackaged meals are provided to dieters.

Nutrisystem is a weight loss program that requires individuals to buy pre-made meals. The meals are individualized  based on weight, sex, and age. The main focus of this program is portion control. The meals are already prepared by the time you get them. Individuals are not tempted to eat more, simply because they do not have more. The typical cycle for Nutrisystem is 28 days, meaning one cannot eat on the system forever. Although Nutrisystem can help people understand portion control, this program is costly and cannot be used for long term weight loss.

Gluten Free

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A typical meal for dieters on gluten free diets relies heavily on fruits and vegetables.

Gluten free diets seem to be the new craze within the dieting world. These diets are important for individuals dealing with Celiacs disease or a gluten intolerance, but this only affects about 1% of the population. Now, people are using this diet as a way to loose weight.  Gluten is a protein source found in wheat, barley, and rye and is important to have as a part of a well balanced diet. Gluten is not bad for you, and removing it from your diet will not lead to healthy, long term weight loss.

It is important to take into account that no diet that makes its dieters give up specific food groups is going to last. Although they may result in short term weight loss, only healthy lifestyle changes will result in long term success. In my next post, I will introduce some of these lifestyle changes.

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Image Credits: Nutrisystem Photo, Atkins Photo, Gluten Free Photo

Fad Diets and their Prevalence in Society

While walking to class a couple weeks ago, my friend told me about her new 21-day diet that was guaranteed to make her loose 15 pounds or more. This was after her no carbohydrate diet ended three days in. And then it hit me; almost everyone I know has been on a fad diet at least once during their life and yet they are still unhappy with their body.

Why are “fad diets” becoming more and more the norm of the female, teenage diet? Why are we subjecting ourselves in order to achieve society’s idea of “skinny”? If these diets don’t work, then why do we continue to do them? These are the questions I hope to further investigate and analyze throughout this blog.

What are Fad Diets?

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Women have been struggling with their weight for decades.

A Fad Diet is any weight loss program that promises rapid, dramatic results or allows you to eat only a select number of foods.  They all have a plan for a certain number of days, but do not tell you what to do once those days are done. This is why they never seem to work long term.

Fad diets have been around for centuries, however Lord Byron (1788-1824), can be considered the father of these diets. Horrified with fat, Byron kept himself on a series of strict, low-calorie diets. He even used cigars as appetite suppressants. The Lucky Strike cigarette company used this same idea when advertising in the 1920’s.  The company sought to attract young women who wanted to loose weight by suppressing their appetites. Although Byron’s idea of diet and fat were uncommon back then, in today’s society Byron’s ideas have become the norm.

Fad Diets and their growing popularity

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Fad diets leave us feeling hungry and deprived.

We have all heard for years that the only way to loose weight is to eat healthy and exercise, so why do new diet crazes come out every week? We live in a world where there is a need for instant gratification, and these fad diets promise rapid weight loss. However, they do not promise that the weight will stay off. True weight loss takes time and requires patience.

Although many of us want to loose weight as quickly as possible, fad diets are not the answer. They can have negative effects on our health and, as Psychology Today explains, leave us heavier than we were before. In the weeks to come I will look at the most popular fad diets and offer healthy  alternative to these dramatic diet plans.

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