Jan 292004
 
Authors: Amy Sulzbach

Buying a trendy diet book and eliminating carbohydrates are just

a couple of the diet plans students and young people are using to

cut pounds fast.

With so many diets available to consumers today, people are

“joining the revolution.”

Trendy diets like these may appeal to students because they are

inexpensive and a speedy way to attain a desired look.

Ernie Chavez, chair of the psychology department, said diets

like the one by Robert Atkins and the “The South Beach Diet” are

quick fixes that appeal to young people’s desire to maintain a

healthy looking figure, male or female.

“We want the easy fixes and gimmicks to lose weight,” he said.

“We are so weight-obsessed.”

Chavez is concerned that students may be picking up a quick diet

book because they think they can just eat the way it recommends,

when in actuality it takes more than that, he said.

Tyler Albert, a junior open option seeking business major, uses

the “Body for Life” diet by Bill Phillips because it “isn’t very

time consuming.”

Some students using the low-carbohydrate miracle diets find them

not only easy but also cheap.

“Students don’t usually have a lot of food,” Chavez said.

“Eating healthy is expensive, so it is difficult for below-average

incomes.”

Individuals diet for a variety of reasons, Chavez said. Whether

a student is participating in a program like the Atkins Diet or

cutting down on the infamous carbohydrates it discourages, they are

trying to work toward an ideal. That ideal is aimed at health

reasons or attractiveness, he said.

Linsey Nance, junior organizational management major, diets

because it makes her feel healthy. Nance tries to eat more healthy

foods in an effort to stay fit.

“I don’t like the word ‘diet.’ I consider the way I eat a

habit,” she said. “When I eat healthy I feel better about myself.

I’m happier.”

Albert agreed.

“I eat and work out the way I do because I feel bad about myself

when I don’t,” he said. “I balance out my protein, carbs and

vegetables and avoid carbohydrates before I go to bed.”

Rather than cut out carbohydrates, he diets and exercises

regularly to maintain the body type that he has worked hard

for.

Social pressures and picture-perfect media images are what

Chavez said urges the desires of some students to obtain “the

perfect body” through dieting.

“A lot of people go to college and gain weight. I don’t want to

be one of those people,” Albert said. “I feel bad when I don’t stay

with my diet.”

Albert said that although people have noticed he is in good

shape, he will keep working at it until he is completely

satisfied.

While there is stress on both men and women to look a certain

way, Chavez admits that young women are more often targeted.

“I feel that maintaining a slim figure is expected by both

society and my peers,” said Laurie Dowd, junior business marketing

major.

Chavez said that students want to conform to fit in with their

peers around them. “Women, especially in the college age group,

often times reinforce each other’s need for dieting,” Chavez

said.

Though she will continue to keep up on her diet and figure, Dowd

said she is “happier when not watching her weight so closely.”

Chavez said students might be trying new diets because they are

participating in a different lifestyle than they were before

enrolling in college.

“New sedentary activities can cause people to gain weight

quickly,” he said. That weight, he said, can be shed more easily at

a younger age.

Programs like the one from Atkins aren’t likely to be a lifetime

fix, however. Students who eat healthy and get regular exercise are

more likely to fend off the consequences of a poor diet for a

lifetime, Chavez said.

“I eat the way I do because I don’t have to worry about all the

counting. I don’t have to do anything really,” Nance said. “When my

attitude is healthy, as well as my diet, I have a better body image

of myself.”

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