We’re in the middle of February, the Winter Olympics are in full force and there’s enough snow to go sledding behind Danforth without getting a rock stuck up your rectum it sounds like the perfect time to start thinking about Spring Break.

Next to Halloween, Spring Break is one of the few times of the year when you can bare it all without being categorized and condemned. But, you might condemn yourself if you’re not in tip-top MTV-Spring-Break-Cancun shape. To avoid the notoriously unhealthy fads and crash diets, now is the ripe time to make dietary adjustments for your MTV gig.

Before embarking on your dietary journey, you need to have a reasonable and foreseeable goal. The best way to determine what’s reasonable is by asking a nutritionist. It may sound obvious, but most college students seem to be convinced that ‘Dr. Google” is the most qualified and diverse professional to date. Unfortunately, ‘Dr. Google” is an intangible object instead make the trip to Strong Hospital or ask someone from University Health Services to connect you with an actual human being.

Once you have a goal, the entire success or failure of your diet falls on your pre-emptive actions and attitude. It should come to no surprise that most diet mistakes are made from the start, setting the dieter up for their demise. Nutritionists suggest that two of the more common initial mistakes are unrealistic expectations and too restrictive of an approach.

Sure, we all might have seen an episode or entire season of ‘The Biggest Loser” in which a participant loses a gazillion pounds in one week. But that isn’t ideal, and is border line out-of-control. Both real nutritionists and ‘Google doctors” agree that one to two pounds a week is an ideal pace for permanent and healthy weight-loss results.

If you do the math, an individual needs a deficit of 3,500-calories to lose a pound. This can be achieved by either cutting 500-calories from your daily intake for a week, burning 500-calories from a daily exercise routine for a week or, ideally, by doing a balance of both. So, for those of us who want to lose 10 pounds before Spring Break, now is the time to make adjustments.

I’m not going to tell anyone what exercise they should choose (although, I would strongly suggest boxing and distance running), but I will state the obvious and suggest that you do what’s fun for you. Join an intramural team, a club sport, dance the night away, go for a jog before your morning class make sure that you do what ever floats your boat.

The second mistake hits at home for most of us: too many restrictions. Sure, you want to burn more calories than you take in, but it is important to note that we all have a basal metabolic

rates that determine how many calories we need to intake for our bodies to do functions as simple as blinking. When we fail to intake the necessary amount of calories, our bodies will respond by using fewer calories in order to conserve the little amounts that we intake. Thus, weight-loss will either become noticeably slower, or completely cease.

I’m not pulling these truths out of my religion major hat (although we often have the answers to everything else). Kristin Evans provided the foundational information and suggestions. Evans has a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science and is a doctoral student at UR Medical Center.

According to Evans, the most important thing to note about poor approaches is that they omit the most pivotal feature of an ideal diet. While we may think of a ‘diet” as a weight-loss program, Evans noted that they’re really lifestyles. When we adjust our diets, we’re adjusting our lifestyles. In that vein, we can think of yo-yo dieting as the near equivalent of the schizophrenic who can’t decide if he’s a superhero or custodian choose one life. Maybe not that extreme, but the point is simple: Dieters have to be realistic about a consistent or permanent lifestyle adjustment.

If you’re crashing for Spring Break, just imagine if you were crashing for an eternity. We’re all better off if we get wise in the winter, look fly in the spring and stay smart all throughout.

Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.



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