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Weight (ing) To Go Back Home
besides making you feel home sick, studying abroad can also make you feel heavy and overweight.
It has been a known fact that most young adults gain at least 4.5 kilos weight in their very first year away from home. Even nutritionists and college fitness experts agree. The reason? It's the many parts of a lifestyle change, said Judy Simon, a clinical dietitian at the University of Washington Medical Centre Roosevelt clinic. It's staying up late, snacking while studying, drinking beer and having irregular meals, not to mention a lack of physical-education classes and after-school sports, among other things, she adds.

College students and working people don't give enough thought to nutrition when they're ordering that meat pizza at midnight, she said. Nor do they think about the calories in beer at a party.

"They wouldn't drink six regular sodas, but they're drinking six regular beers," said Simon.

One of the reasons for 'freshman weight gain' is emotional eating. When students get stressed, break up with partners or have a big deadline coming up, they often chow down on comfort food: cookies, chips, ice cream and anything else that can be found at the convenience store, she said.

Though some students come to her before they start putting on pounds, Simon said that she sees many of her patients only after the jeans stop fitting. "I don't think the weight gain is inevitable, not everybody gains it, and not everybody has to," said Simon.

Simon's advice is aimed at busy college students and working people: Go to the gym. Or at least walk a lot. Eat a good breakfast and don't skip meals. Skip fast food and fatty lattes, and eat reasonable portions. Drink alcohol in moderation. Drink lots of water all day long.

Levitsky, at Cornell, found in his research that if young working adults watch their weight, it keeps them from eating too much. Also, if they're educated about proper portion sizes, they will be less likely to gain weight, he said.

There's another danger, the experts warn: Some students become obsessive about their weight, and it turns into a control issue, Simon said.

Simon suggests that students shouldn't create their own diets, and said they should try to stop obsessing about their weight.

"If there's so much focus on your weight, then there's definitely some other issues going on," she said.
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Posted on : 2/12/2005
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