The Student Body

Lindsey Barr

People really will try anything to lose weight. It’s truly astonishing to learn what people believe will cause weight loss. All those secrets and solutions that will shrink them down to a “sexier” size – everything from vinegar to nuts – is truly nuts.

A few years back, I heard through the grapevine that there was this fabulous diet that was guaranteed to work: the grapefruit diet. Great, I thought, I love grapefruit. Then I realized that you were allowed to eat only grapefruit. That’s about 500 calories a day (give or take a grapefruit or two), so is it really the grapefruit that is the magic weight-loss gem? Or could it be the fact that this diet is based on near-starvation?

This brings up an important point that I feel I should address. You should never eat less than 1,200 calories a day. Any fewer calories daily can be considered starvation. Yes, it would be nice to get by on 500 calories a day because you figure, that way, you can lose weight twice as fast. I am not going to give a big lecture on eating disorders because as sad as it sounds, our society is well aware of these problems. The average college-age person should have at least 2,000 calories a day. This number varies, depending on height, weight, age and gender. It is especially important for teenagers to receive enough calories each day because their bodies are still growing and a lack of nutrition will endanger normal growth. Starvation is just not an option.

If you are an athlete, which I am sure a lot of you are, being on the sporty campus that is Colgate, you should be eating more than 2,000 calories a day in order to compensate for the rigorous daily training that your sport requires. I recently learned that Lance Armstrong feeds off a 6,000-calorie diet while training for the Tour de France. How amazing does that sound?

Another diet I would like to discuss is the Atkins Diet. These days, I know that many people are obsessed with carb-counting and believe that cutting out daily carbohydrates will act as a successful dieting technique. It is also quite appealing when you hear that celebrities like Jessica Simpson used to swear by this type of diet. But in reality, if you care to read the fine print, Simpson did lose a lot of weight on Atkins but quickly gained it all back when she went off the diet – a sure thing due to the mechanics of a low-carb diet. The three major flaws of Atkins are bad breadth, poor nutrition and uncontrollable weight gain if you ever plan to go off the diet. In addition, I would like to mention that the creator of the infamous Atkins Diet, Dr. Robert Atkins, died as a result of a head injury; yet his autopsy showed symptoms of heart disease. Guess what? His own diet wasn’t too healthy for him.

The key to dieting is moderation. It is not healthy or normal to completely cut out an important component of a nutritious diet, such as carbohydrates. The body is designed so that it needs each nutritional group in order to function properly. Don’t despair – it is possible to lose weight in a healthy way. The trick is moderation and elimination of unnecessary junk foods that might taste delicious but only lead to unwanted pounds, cellulite and other undesirables.

I have a great love for frosting; but a friend of mine said that if she wants to eat frosting she might as well skip putting it down her throat and ice it directly onto her thighs, because that is where it winds up anyway. Frosting is delicious – it’s one of my favorite food groups. But it is a purely superfluous food. Start with cutting back desserts. Try limiting soft-serve ice cream to three times a week instead of every day. Instead of dry cereal every morning, try some eggs – they are actually not bad here. Look out next week for many more healthy ways to keep off the pudge and stay trim!