Dorm Room Diet’ helps keep off freshman 15

Sharon Thompson and Sharon Thompson

Daphne Oz says it’s possible for college freshmen to lose weight instead of gaining the dreaded freshman 15.

Oz, daughter of cardiologist and author Mehmet Oz, has written a book to help students stay fit while at college. “The Dorm Room Diet: The 8-Step Program for Creating a Healthy Lifestyle Plan That Really Works” (Newmarket Press, $16.95) encourages students to make smart choices in the college cafeteria and avoid common pitfalls such as fad diets, emotional eating, late-night pizza and snack binges.

Oz was overweight for several years, even though she grew up hearing about the importance of a proper diet and exercise from her father, co-author of “You: The Owner’s Manual;” her grandfather, also a cardiac surgeon; and her grandmother, a nutritional adviser. When she was getting ready to go to college, Oz realized it represented a new stage in her life, so she began the process of changing her lifestyle.

During her freshman year at Princeton, Oz lost 10 pounds following her Dorm Room Diet, which is nothing like the conventional diets, she said. “It offers guidelines for creating a healthy lifestyle on your own, without the daunting restrictions of a diet. Most of us eat not only when we’re hungry, but also when we’re thirsty, bored, sad, or happy.” Her book was written to provide tools for students to understand how what they put in their mouths affects the way their bodies function and look.

Oz offers three easy steps to start eating healthfully right away.

– Drink a glass, or two, of water before every meal.

– Try not to eat when you are distracted, watching TV, using the Internet or otherwise engaged. The food you are most likely to eat in these settings is probably junk, and you’ll end up gorging on snacks that won’t keep you full. Your goal is to be conscious of what you eat at all times.

– Try not to eat less than two hours before bed. You’ll guarantee yourself a better night’s sleep. When you eat just before going to bed, the digestive process is still in high gear, making you sleep less deeply, not to mention that you don’t give yourself any time to burn off those calories.

Oz reminds students that drinking alcohol in excess can do more than impair judgment. “Every once in a while, adding a little alcohol to the mix is fine. But the excess with which so many young adults drink not only makes them fat but diminishes their physical appearance in other ways. Excessive drinking puts the abuser at risk for premature wrinkling, under-eye bags, straggly hair, and a sickly complexion,” she said.