U Health Fair offers tips to shed holiday pounds

by Mickie Barg

Two days before Thanksgiving, nutrition educator Deanna Latson presented tips on healthy eating during the University Student Union-sponsored Holiday Health Fair in Willey Hall.
Speaking to an audience of a dozen people, Latson said food can adversely affect health by causing tiredness, weight gain and disease. By becoming conscious eaters, people can change their food focus and improve their lives, she stressed.
Latson said she celebrates Thanksgiving like everyone else except her meal includes healthy ingredients. Food just needs to be prepared differently, she added.
“I have mashed potatoes made with soy butter and milk, a tofu turkey and pumpkin pie made with tofu,” Latson said. “I could make a healthy substitute for any food you can name.”
People need to define for themselves what is healthy, reduce or eliminate animal products, processed sugar and caffeine from their diets, Latson said.
“By watching everything you put in your body,” she said, “you will feel better and have more energy.”
If people are living to eat instead of eating to live, Latson said, they will end up like most people who get diseases from their diet.
With Christmas and New Year’s Eve right around the corner, information presented at the Health Fair on proper eating practices could help trim pounds off the usual holiday season weight gain many people experience.
“People can gain from seven to nine pounds over the holidays,” said Lyndsay LaPointe, student union programs committee chair. “We wanted people to learn how not to have that happen.”
Losing weight cannot happen through diets, Latson said, because they don’t work; some diets can also cause possible dangerous eating disorders.
“About 87 percent of dieters gain back any weight they lose and more because dieting screws up metabolism,” she said.
The American Cancer Society began addressing the relationship between food and cancer in 1997.
“Cancer is on the rise, especially in young people,” Latson said. “People don’t need to die if they watch what they fuel their body with.”
More than five years ago, Latson made a commitment to change her typical college eating habits that included fast food and other junk food. With her healthier approach to eating, Latson said she lost about 65 pounds.
At the fair, which also offered free chair massages and healthy snacks, University Student Union coordinator Lisa Solomon said the University needs to inform students about problems with not exercising, overeating and unhealthy practices during the holidays.

Mickie Barg covers health and welcomes comments at [email protected]