Weight Watchers On Campus

By: ERINN BOON

The “freshman 15” is a common fear among many college students. The ever-flowing soda machines and late-night junk food runs can be toxic for the waistline and that doesn’t even begin to explore the caloric explosions that take place in the bars or at parties.

Heather Campos, a senior at Simmons College in Boston, knows firsthand that keeping a healthy lifestyle can be tough while in college; “My life has been so busy for the past four years that I’ve put my health on the backburner”.

Campos, like most other students, hasn’t had time to frequent the gym and is lucky to have more than 20 minutes to sit down for a solid meal. Between running to classes and work, college students tend to rely on unhealthy coffee drinks and foods, like pizza and french fries, that they can grab quickly while on the go.

“Eating this way, in an already stressful environment filled with deadlines and exams, is an easy outlet that tends to provide instant satisfaction and comfort in an otherwise hectic situation.”

But as Campos knows, those feelings of comfort don’t last long. She kicks herself later for making poor decisions and it ends up piling more stress on her shoulders.

“We all have very busy lives, students, staff and faculty have so much on their plate that it is hard sometimes to remember being healthy and making healthy choices,” said Georgette Arato, the career services coordinator at Simmons College.

To help students on campus, Simmons has brought Weight Watchers to residence life. This popular diet among people of all ages and even some celebrities, such as singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, is a way for students and faculty to work on their physical wellbeing during school hours.

“The WW At Work meeting allows the community members to fit in something they want or need into that busy schedule,” Arato said.

The Weight Watchers meetings on campus have always had at least fifteen people. And although it takes place on the Simmons Campus, it is also open to people from nearby schools and may be expanding to other colleges.

Although Campos doesn’t attend the on-campus meetings, she uses the Weight Watchers online program and has found that it really helps her keep track of what she’s eating and has helped her learn more about her unhealthy tendencies.

“I’ve learned a lot through the information Weight Watchers provides about what’s healthy and what’s not and I’ve started tracking my food using their point system. I like it because it doesn’t force you to stop eating foods you like, it teaches you that you can eat them but in a healthy way. Each person is allotted a certain amount of points based on their needs and body type and it depends a lot on moderation. You can eat what you want, if you’re willing to give up the points.”

The online program that Campos uses has been great for her busy schedule and their application for smart phones lets her check the information for different foods anywhere at any time.

“It’s been my grocery store saving grace. Before I put anything in my cart I open the application and check its nutritional information and points value. I’m slowly learning for myself on some things, like bread, which ones are better without having to look and that’s a huge improvement for me. I knew nothing about nutrition before.”

Weight Watchers has impacted people of all ages, even in college where the food choices at the dining hall are limited. It also stresses the importance of exercise by giving an incentive. Each time Campos exercises, depending on the duration and type, she is rewarded with extra points to spread across her week.

“I never set foot in the gym before, but little changes like walking to and from work rather than waiting for the bus or going for a walk/jog around the pond near my apartment have really made an impact on my waistline and energy level. It’s like a game for me, how many extra points can I get and how much have I spent?”

Weight Watchers on campus is promoting health and introducing the community to a program that increases people’s confidence and changes their reaction to stepping on a scale. While it may not be for everyone, it’s a good educational option to become familiar with the basics of a wholesome diet.

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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Lifestyle, Your Nutrition

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