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The “freshman 15” is a common term for the weight gained by college students during their first year of school. However, being mindful of weight and physical wellness isn’t limited to students. For faculty and staff, health and wellness is a large factor in their lives.

A group of six women met together for their weekly meeting of Taking Off Pounds Sensibly Aug. 29 in the Union Meeting Room D.

Between swapping recipes for healthier substitutes for pizza, pasta and wine, the women also tackled how they stay motivated to work out and eat healthy.

The women discussed fasting options and the success they’ve witnessed in their friends who have done eight hour fasts, 16 hour fasts and even a 24 hour fast. They each wrote down two goals and put the scraps of paper in a pile at the center of the table.

At the end of the meeting, one woman drew out a piece of paper and made that the groups’ goal for the week. The goal this week was to either walk or ride a bike once a day.

For Assistant Director of Wellness Services - Clinic Services Judy Freuh, TOPS is a great way to stay accountable.

“It’s a program for staff and is a collaboration between Wellness Services and Human Resources,” Frueh said. “We offered it last semester and said if you (faculty and staff) show up to half the meetings you get half of your (TOPS) membership free.”

Northwest offers a variety of ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for both students and staff. Between the Wellness Center, free memberships to the Foster Fitness Center, reduced prices for workout classes and showing how many calories are in each dish at the Union, trying to keep weight off isn’t tricky. The biggest downfall is often self control.

Faculty and staff aren’t the only ones who can benefit from Northwest’s mission to promote a healthy lifestyle. Students are the main target for Wellness programs. 

In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is prevalent in 35.7% of college-aged Americans.

For many students, this is the first time they have complete autonomy of their food choices. Mom and Dad aren’t standing over shoulders to scold their children for eating Häagen-Dazs for dinner. 

With this new found sense of freedom and often less structured schedules to workout, students often gain the “freshman 15.” 

However, many activities on campus provide opportunities to stay fit and active. Alpha Sigma Alpha has mandatory gym hours. Intramural sports teams provide an opportunity to join team sports without the stress of joining the college team.

For human services junior Sydney Robinson, working out replaces a part of her routine from high school. 

“I used to play sports in high school,” Robinson said. “Just continuing to workout is really important to me. It makes me feel better and destress.”

The formula for an effective workout consists of three parts: warm up, work out and cool down.

Business management junior Hunter Klucke explained his usual workout.

“I usually walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes,” Klucke said. “Then I usually do some weights and walk again to cool down.”

Though staying active is a large portion of staying fit, another major component is eating clean.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, typical American diets exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat. Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products and oils.

With healthy options offered on campus combined with the FitBit fad, it’s easy for students and faculty to hold themselves accountable when sensibly taking off pounds.

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