You drip your way out of your morning shower, leaving a trail of wet footprints from the bathroom to your dresser. Eyes still heavy with the want of sleep and a rumbling stomach remind you that your midnight snack was long digested. As your jeans slip past your hips you couldn’t help but notice the sudden snug feeling against your waistline. The dryers are always shrinking clothes, you conclude, even though the shrinkage only appears to be horizontal. You put this in the back of your mind because you only have just enough time to grab a bagel at Hillside Caf – with cream cheese of course, you would have it no other way – as you make your first class. You are a little out of breath from speed-walking through the tunnels, yet you settle into your seat with a sigh of relief. Your tummy grumbles away through the last five minutes of your last class and you hurry to a quick meal to appease your appetite. You drum your fingers impatiently against the counter of the grill line. You hear “Next!” and you quickly utter “fingers and fries, please” above the shuffling and the sound of the deep fryer. As you extend your arm to claim your prize, you accidentally hit a collection of bruised bananas sitting idly next to the ketchup. You take your meal to go because, well, you’re multitasking – homework and food. You pass by your mirror and this time it is undeniable – the dryers did shrink your jeans. You lift your shirt and notice the temporary creases in your flesh and even more terrifying, the sight of your lips laced in grease and the corners of your mouth stuffed with chicken and fries. This picture was definitely not a thousand words, just one – fat!Maybe this isn’t you. Maybe you spend the first moments of your mornings hitting the gym instead of hitting the snooze button. Or maybe the only time you pass the grill line is on your way to the sushi bar. Yet you can’t help but notice the recent carbs scare – television advertisements dripping with unrealistic beauties seeming airbrushed on screen. Hard bodies and flawless skin telling you about everything low in carbohydrates from frozen dinners to beer. Maybe you caught a glimpse in between the BowFlex or “Two second abs” commercials or even the report about how little exercise Americans receive. Yet it’s overwhelming, all of these images that bombard our consciousness. There are quick fixes for our waistlines and quick fixes for our diet. Carbohydrates are the next victim in the line of finger pointing for our unhealthy habits. Sure, there are carbohydrates that are no good for you, and I’m certainly no nutritionist, but my point is that getting healthy is a lifestyle. There is no substitute for a consistent, well-balanced diet and a daily exercise routine, no matter how efficient the Atkins Diet or Windsor Pilates are. Now, I’ve been know to dabble in my share of Pit food and sleep in on my gym days, which puts me in no position to condemn, yet I find it unnecessary to blame a class of food for the accumulation of fat. The fact is, you need to eat and you’re in control of what you eat, how you eat and how often. You decide whether you exercise your right to push the button on the elevator, or take the stairs. Maybe I wasn’t describing you in the beginning of this, maybe I was describing myself. Four months and seven pounds later, I pointed my greasy fingers at the mirror. I remembered my midnight milkshakes and addiction to those precious Pit french fries – which I still indulge in every now and then – and I had no choice. What is your reflection telling you?Noel can be reached at

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