Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Go slow, be steady.

PORTRAIT, MICHAEL EASTERMichael Easter ’09

  • Fitness editor at Men’s Health magazine
  • Independent major, mixing international relations and environmental science

“Don’t take on too much, too soon. Studies show 80 percent of people who lose weight will gain it all back in a given year. That 20 percent of people who keep it off don’t have any magic tricks. They simply stick with their plan longer because they develop habits that become part of their overall lifestyle. The reality is that the best diet and exercise plan is the one you’ll do consistently—you can get in shape doing a lot of different things, eating a lot of different ways. Everything works, just so long as you remain consistent. Now, how do you build a habit? Start slow. Whenever you go from one extreme to the other, you create a lot of stress for yourself, and the more stress you have the more likely you are to go back to your old ways. For example, going from sitting on the couch eating Doritos all day to eating, say, 1,500 calories a day and working out for two hours is super stressful, and it radically changes your life. Crash diet and exercise plans can surely work in the short term, but what do you do when they’re over? They’re too demanding for the long haul, and they’re just not realistic. The better way: Incorporate one small change into your lifestyle at a time. Do it for two weeks, then add another small change. For example, walk a bit more; make just one meal a day ‘healthy’; cut out sugary drinks; try strength training once a week. By week 13 you will have developed all these healthy habits. And because you incorporate them slowly, you avoid a lot of stress and your lifestyle doesn’t radically change. That allows you to sustain those habits for the long haul.” [Read more...]

Get a fresh start. 

Zoe-HackZoe Hack Keller ’05

“Get clear about sugar. Start reading labels to see how much total sugar is in food. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar per day for adults, which is not much once you start paying attention to labels. For example, a can of soda could have 39 grams. Once you are clear about where the sugar in your diet comes from, you can start choosing which sugar really matters to you and which sugar you can eliminate.”

“Learn to listen to your body instead of following trendy diet advice. There are so many confusing and conflicting dietary theories floating around, and many of them aren’t healthy at all. Focus on building a relationship with your body to figure out what way of eating works best for you. Pay attention to how you feel after meals, how your energy levels change depending on what you eat, and any other physical symptoms you can connect to your diet. Eat the foods that make you feel best, not what someone else tells you to eat.” [Read more...]

Regain control.

Kara GanssleKara Ganssle Pachniuk ’08

  • Director of Nutrition at POP Weight Loss in Old Saybrook, Conn.
  • Psychobiology major

“To regain control after the holidays, give yourself a formal bedtime. Lack of restorative sleep can throw off your schedule as well as affect cravings and hunger.”

“Stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day will help with organ function and energy levels, as well as help prevent overeating.”

“Move. Walking around the mall or outlets can count as exercise. The key is to move every day. If you are active, make exercise non-negotiable.” [Read more...]

Reinvent yourself.

Kathryn Sollmann-MARGARET-FOX-PHOTOGRAPHYKathryn Amarante Sollmann ’80

“Just get to ‘next.’ People are often paralyzed when it comes to career decision making because they feel they only have one shot at what they perceive as a monumental, lifelong decision. A career is actually a series of steps—your only responsibility is to make your best move to the next step.”

“Make sure that your career decisions—to switch jobs or leave/re-enter the workforce—are made in the context of long-term financial security, even if you may be in a comfortable position today. No one escapes life’s twists and turns.” [Read more...]