What I Learned in My Health and Wellness Class

Fiorella Beccaglia   Opinion Editor

Throughout the course of my health and wellness class, I’ve learned so much about eating healthy, which is something I’ve always done but also something I was never entirely sure about. Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of overall good health. As everyone knows, being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions such as type II diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health just as much. I feel like, when one isn’t educated, it’s hard to know what eating healthy means. Sometimes we find ourselves eating foods we think are healthy, but they aren’t, like very sugary granola bars or orange juice that have all those added nutrients in them.

There are so many rumors about all these different diets going around;
however, in reality there is no single diet that has actually worked for more than two percent of the population.

For example, my mother tried a diet where she deprived herself from eating carbohydrates for weeks. Back then I thought that seemed fine, but now I know that isn’t the way to go about losing weight. Carbohydrates are the most important macronutrients our bodies need and should be at least 45 percent of what we eat. They provide fuel for our central nervous system and energy for our muscles.

If you want to lose weight, you don’t need to deprive yourself of food. Reducing your calorie intake is helpful, but don’t deprive yourself of certain foods. Instead, eat foods low in calories but high in nutrients and vitamins.

Thanks to this course, I’m sure of what eating healthy means and the power food has on your body. Real food is everything. You really are what you put in your body and all your cells and organs thrive on the nutrients you provide yourself with. Thus, that is the biggest behavioral change I’ve noticed in myself. I consciously eat more fruits and vegetables and have made efforts to cook every day. I’ve switched from eating white rice and white bread to the good whole grain/wheat kind. When I get hungry in-between classes, I’ve stopped going to the vending machine to get my typical Lay’s chips and, instead, I just bring and apple and some walnuts with me. Another behavioral change I’ve noticed in myself, and this is more a psychological one, is that I now put less pressure on myself about eating healthy just to be skinny.

I believe society, specially Western society, equates being healthy with being skinny. Although exercise and a normal weight are definitely big factors in leading a healthy lifestyle, they are not everything. Being skinny does not mean a person is healthy.

Last semester, I lost a lot of weight because I was very stressed, barely ate, and had a lot on my shoulders, not only academically but also in regards to my personal life. When I went home for Winter break, my family congratulated me on having lost those 7lbs and said I looked good. Although the compliments felt great at first, I soon realized the way I lost weight was completely unhealthy and not worth being proud of. I used to not have time to eat, relax, or do anything I liked and the lifestyle I led was not making me happy, so why were people congratulating me for being skinny if I was not actually healthy?

Now I view eating healthy and taking care of myself as things I want to do to achieve longevity, feel energetic and good, instead of wanting to be skinny for other people. That doesn’t mean I’ve completely stopped treating myself with my favorite Lay’s chips from time to time, but now I eat them in moderation.

Like Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation. Even moderation.” I would like to send out a special thanks to professor Brian Griffiths for helping me learn so much and for also being an active reader of our student newspaper.

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