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Commentary: Being conscious of what you eat takes work

Kristen Campbell, Editor in Chief

As hopefully everyone knows, obesity is a national epidemic and sadly the bad eating habits have been passed on to younger people, including children. In a time of economic crisis, people are working multiple jobs to pay the bills and therefore overlook healthy eating as a part of their busy day. It has become more convenient and cheaper to run over to McDonald’s or another fast food joint for breakfast and lunch, and sometimes to bring it home for dinner.

Everyone should want to be healthy because it makes life more enjoyable and less of a chore. However, being healthy takes thought and time which many of us do not have.

Doctors and television shows tend to push the blame of obesity on the over-eating of fast food because it is a logical, easy target. I agree that fast food is partially to blame for obesity but it is the overweight people who are also responsible.

Yes things like stress and some hereditary factors can aid this unfortunate process, but they both can be overcome if the person is willing.

I have heard people complain about their weight and push their unhappiness on me because I was blessed with a high metabolism. But just because I have a high metabolism does not mean I can eat whatever I please. I do have to eat healthy because weight is not the only determinant in overall healthiness.

Eating healthy is not always completely cutting sugars and fats from your diet immediately because it would make the process daunting and unpleasant. I admit I am no expert but my ways of staying healthy are easy and logical.

Skipping breakfast used to be a constant happening for me because at 6 a.m. I was tired or just not hungry. However if I did not feed my body until lunch, I overindulged and ate more than I probably should have.

During my senior year in high school, my physical education teacher had us keep a calorie journal for one week. In that week I learned that I had eaten nearly half of my daily intake during lunch and I ate randomly during the day without thinking.

I decided it was time for a change because those habits that were compensated for by my metabolism were one day going to backfire.

Every morning I have one cup of Honey-Nut Cheerios with a sliced banana and a half cup of 2 percent milk. Yes, I measure my cereal. It may sound ridiculous but I know how many calories I am putting in my body.

Food packaging has serving sizes for a reason. All those foreign numbers let us know exactly what is going in our bodies including nutrients, sugars and fats. They literally are there for our health.

Instead of paying for a fried, greasy lunch at Barbara’s Place or a fast food restaurant, I pack my lunch like I am in elementary school. I usually have a piece of fruit, a sandwich, pretzels and two Oreos, because that is the serving size. I can have two cookies because they are only slightly more than 100 calories and they taste good.

No, I do not bring a soda or a Gatorade; I have my reusable water bottle that I refill often during the day. Daily we are supposed to drink half our body weight in fluid ounces of water and that is the minimum. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should be drinking minimum 60 ounces of water per day to stay hydrated.

Drinking sugary drinks adds empty calories to my day for the mere perk of flavor and they dehydrate you.

Do I eat fast food or drink soda? Yes, but when I do so, I order a kid’s meal. They let you in most restaurants, the portion size is what we should be eating and you sometimes get a cool toy. Do I eat junk food? Yes of course but I look at the serving size and limit myself.

In my busy schedule, I do not have time to work-out, although I probably should. However I do pencil in time for sleeping at the end of my day, and I am talking seven or eight hours a night. Why? Studies show that people who sleep more are thinner, healthier and happier.

Like I stated before, I am not an expert in health nor am I perfect at it. However I am conscious of what I eat on a daily basis. I find my three secrets to staying healthy are to drink a lot of water, watch the portions I intake and to get as much sleep as possible.

Kristen Campbell, a sophomore journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at kristen.campbell@laverne.edu.

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