Campus Weight Loss: A new beginning

Often times when a person embarks on a weight loss journey alone, obstacles are bound to arise. With countless resources available to help, undertaking such a big task alone seems almost sadistic.

Last semester, I set a goal to lose 100 pounds and enrolled in PEM 2930 Boot Camp Fitness I. I thought sharing my progress in The Oracle would help keep me on track. I had a fair share of ups and downs, and by the end of the semester, I lost 21 pounds.

When the semester ended, so did my diet and fitness routine. Now, exactly two months after my last article, I start my journey again with an 11-pound gain.

Clearly, doing things my own way was counterproductive, so I had to assess my actions and goals and try to find the proper way to confront the challenge at hand.

I have decided to utilize the many resources that USF offers students. Last time I began with fitness. To ensure this time will be more fruitful than last, my first stop was to the campus dietitian to make sure I do not fall back into bad eating habits.

Katie Jones, a registered and licensed dietitian, is on hand at the Student Health Services building for $10 per visit.

Walking into Jones’ office was a little intimidating.

I anticipated judgment, a long lecture about my bad eating habits and how everything I was doing was wrong.

However, walking through the door was anything but intimidating. Jones was welcoming, attentive and very encouraging about the goals I had set for myself.

Our meeting began with a brief dietary history, and I was very upfront with the fact that I suffered not one, but two eating disorders in high school —
anorexia and bulimia.

I explained to Jones I barely consumed 500 calories per day at the time, and if I ever went over a certain calorie mark, I would purge anything consumed.

Because of the sensitive nature in the history I have had with counting calories, Jones created a meal plan to exclude calorie counting. Instead, she said the main focus would be to make sure my meals are well balanced and to keep an eye on the fat found in the foods I choose to eat.

“When looking at a food label, pay attention to the fat,” Jones said. “Make sure that there is zero trans fat and that the mono- and poly-unsaturated fat equal more than the saturated fat.”

I explained to Jones the diet I created for myself in the spring combined a variety of theories from many sources, one of which was to not eat carbs after noon.

Jones said it is essential to not take away any of the food groups from any meal, and it is all about balance and consistency.

As Jones pointed out, what I was choosing to eat was not the only problem.

“You need to make sure that you are getting at least seven hours of sleep per night,” she said.

Sleep is an issue that I wrestle with constantly. With a full school schedule, being a mom of a 5-year-old and juggling work, I am lucky to get four hours of sleep at night.

She said not only will sleep help reduce stress, but it will also help keep me on a meal schedule, forcing me to eat three well-balanced meals and two healthy snacks every day, which allows the metabolism to function properly.

Getting in the recommended number of meals is another issue I struggle with. Though Jones said that eating breakfast 30 minutes after waking is crucial to help jumpstart your metabolism during the day, I rarely eat breakfast.

After my visit with Jones, I sat down to create a meal plan for the week. Looking at all of the factors one must put into creating a healthy strategy, I was grateful that I took the time to visit Jones and that she helped map out a balanced plan for every meal (see left).

She was also very encouraging by telling me it is all right to fall off of this plan once in a while and not to be so hard on myself if I do.

“Each day is its own day,” Jones said. “Everything is OK in moderation. It is OK to have chocolate, just don’t consume it in excess.”