Excerpt: 'The Dorm Room Diet,' by Daphne Oz

What made the difference between the Fat U student and the Fit U student? Simple: lifestyle and eating habits. While our Fat U student opted to save time by cramming down simple carbohydrates and sugar-loaded snacks, in the end she suffered because of her poor nutrition. Our Fit U student, on the other hand, began her day with a healthy meal, empowering her body to do its work effectively and establishing a cycle of restful sleep, clear skin, high energy, healthy body image, and overall satisfaction and happiness.

Okay, so maybe these examples are a little exaggerated. But figuring out how to eat healthfully on your own without your parents' guidance is one of the hardest lessons you must learn when you leave home for college. Whether you grew up in a home where healthy eating and purposeful activity were priorities or where fast food was a frequent standby and physical exercise was never on the agenda, college can pose a huge threat to anyone's jeans. If you're not careful, it is easy to lose good habits you learned at home, or reinforce bad ones. If you find yourself on a couch in the student lounge face-to-face with a mountain of junk food wrappers, you know it's time to make some changes.

While calorie-counting programs or trendy quick-fix diets might seem like the easy way out if you want to lose weight fast, these strict regimens are not long-term solutions. For one thing, some recommend extremely unhealthy eating habits, such as consuming really high levels of protein and no fruits or veggies. For another, they are often hard to follow, especially when you're surrounded by friends who aren't watching what they eat and you live in a place that doesn't exactly cater to the health conscious. (See how long your no-carbs rule lasts when you're looking to get a late-night snack delivered and pizza is the only option.) Most importantly, fad diets throw everything out of perspective and give food more power than it should ever have. When you're in control of your eating habits, it's easy to recognize that food is there for fuel (and enjoyment). Most quick-fix plans force you to see food as the enemy because it is so often "off limits." In most cases, it's only a matter of time before you go off your diet and binge your way through several forbidden items. For all your days or weeks or months of suffering, you're right back where you started (if you're lucky). Even worse, your relationship with food is completely out of whack. Why bother with all this negative energy? Rather than torture yourself (and anyone around you) by limiting your eating to a few, select items, why not try a plan that lets you decide where, when, and what to eat? When you're in control of the "rules" of your eating, you're in control of the outcome of your eating, too.

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