Jan 192005
Authors: Megan Schulz

Fifty-nine million Americans resolve to lose weight every year, according to cbsnews.com.

College students are not immune to this trend, but there are steps they can take to turn their resolutions into actual results.

Dawn Clifford, a registered dietician at Hartshorn Health Service, said weight loss can seem intimidating, but using strategies that involve baby steps really helps out.

"Set specific goals, such as going to the gym three times a week," Clifford said. "You should be able to measure and track your goals, and it's really important to write down goals and put them in a place you see often."

Eating right is an important factor in the battle to lose weight. Clifford said at this point in the year, students feel the dining halls are monotonous, but there are a variety of ways to be creative with the food choices.

"Each of the dining halls have a different emphasis and if you walk to different dining halls, you are not only getting a variety of food, but also increasing your physical activity," Clifford said.

Clifford also recommends students utilize the salad, fruit and sandwich bars in the residence halls to mix-and-match food for creative and healthy meal choices.

Hartshorn offers a Weight Loss 101 program that has shown considerable success in the past. Some patients have improved their eating and exercise habits, as well as their self-esteem.

Senior Adam Conticelli believes the key to weight loss is exercise, but he thinks people are more likely to change their eating patterns than to begin an exercise program.

"It's not dieting, it's exercise," said Conticelli, a finance major. "But (dieting) is easier than exercising because you already eat and you can just change what and how you eat."

Conticelli also believes having a good plan of action and a partner in crime makes it easier to lose weight, a statement with which Clifford agrees.

"When it comes to working out, (having a partner) makes it more enjoyable," Clifford said.

She also said that while having a partner is a good idea, it is possible to develop an unhealthy relationship with a friend if the two people becomes "food police" by negatively controlling each other's eating habits.

"Only use encouraging comments, not negative comments," Clifford said.

Healthy New Year's resolutions have had an impact on the number of students attending the Student Recreation Center.

"It's typical every semester that the crowd (of students) is bigger at the beginning," said Tamar Cline, assistant director of strength and fitness at the recreation center. "There is prevalence of people making an attempt to better themselves."

Cline said making reachable goals is key for exercise and weight loss. It is also helpful for some individuals to seek professional help.

The recreation center offers an hour-long fitness consultation for $12, as well as individual appointments with a personal trainer for $15.

"Professional help can help you set appropriate goals and help you meet those goals," Cline said. "A personal trainer is a great step for someone with an exercise resolution."

Writing a record of workouts and committing to a fitness class that costs money are other ways to stay on track.

If people sign up for a pre-pay class, they are more likely to commit to it because they will lose money if they do not go, Cline said.

Brett Cavanagh, a junior political science major, is one student who is not into the habit of making resolutions.

"Society's pressures force people to diet and exercise," Cavanagh said. "People need to be happy with themselves. A resolution shouldn't last a year; it should be a commitment to yourself."

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