Taking strides to lose pounds in 2008

The holidays can be devastating in a multitude of ways. Not only does one’s wallet take a hit, but so does one’s eating habits. I know I consumed more than one chocolatey morsel in December with the rationale that exercising in the new year will more than make up for it.

Well, it’s been nearly a month into 2008, and today marked my first trip to the gym. Does that mean I haven’t had my physical well-being, and my ever-increasing waste size, on my mind? Of course not! After all, I am writing a column about it. While I haven’t been as active as I’d like, I’ve made a series of lifestyle choices that, hopefully, are going to keep me from reaching the next pants size.

The college lifestyle is not all that unhealthy by itself. A USA Today story found that the traditional ‘Freshman 15’ only turns out to be about half that. Even though weight gained is less than the famous myth, the researchers found that more is gained steadily throughout college years so that students will have gained about ten pounds by the end of their second year. These may be pounds that are hard to take off later in life. But with the rigors of a full class schedule, it’s often difficult to get my kiester to the treadmill in the here and now.

Honestly, a college routine eats up so many hours that it’s difficult to find time to hit the exercise bike, if only for 30 minutes. Personally, after I’ve put in an eight-hour day at my internship, I need to settle down and do my homework for the rest of the night. If I take the time for a full workout, I might not be prepared for the next day’s classes. It’s difficult to find a balance.

Instead of regularly taking time out to head to the exercise center, I’ve decided to incorporate extra physical activity into my daily routine. No, this doesn’t mean I’m going to hike up all sixty-four floors to my internship, but I’ve walked the twenty-five minutes there and the twenty-five minutes back several times. That’s about three miles for a round trip. And this isn’t just a leisurely stroll, it’s the commuter pace, keeping up with the best of the Mag Mile businessmen. Using a calorie calculator, I’m burning about 300 calories just by walking.

In addition, I’ve also managed to accomplish the near-impossible task of passing up dessert at every meal in the cafeteria. Delicious-looking cookie sundaes and ice cream cakes have had no sway over me recently. No, that’s a lie. They’ve had sway, but I’ve valiantly resisted their wiles. I haven’t completely altered my eating habits, but I feel that giving up sweets after meals is a big enough step.

Even though it feels like most of my friends have a regular regiment, this does not seem to be the case in most of the country. A study conducted by researchers at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that out of the nearly 5,000 undergrads who were interviewed, nearly half said they were trying to lose weight. Only half of the students in that group said that they used both exercise and dieting to control weight. I have to admit, I felt better about myself after working out, but the only reason I was able to fit it in today was because my internship was cancelled.

So in the end, I’m going to hold myself to a healthier lifestyle. I may not be able to make it to the gym regularly in 2008, but by walking a little more and not eating like a total slob, I’ll hopefully be able to maintain my sleek boyish figure for years to come.

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