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

A diet is simply the eating plan followed by a certain individual. But, these days, just seeing the word "diet" conjures up feelings of anxiety and insecurity, sending the average female into a frenzied state in which no food is safe—we're talking everything from yesterday's leftovers to your friend's half-eaten cookie. We say "going on a diet" because diets have come to represent a "going away" from normal behavior, a temporary period of self-inflicted suffering. Call me dramatic, but when we force ourselves to follow eating patterns that are often both unhealthy and inconvenient, seeing how long we can last before we crack under the strain, subjecting ourselves to the depression and fatigue that come from not having a balanced food intake, and longing for foods that are off-limits, do we actually believe that we are getting healthier? With restrictive diets, it's a race against time: do you really want to see how long you can last?

The Dorm Room Diet is nothing like the conventional diets you may have tried in the past. It offers guidelines for creating a healthy lifestyle on your own, without the daunting restrictions of a quick-fix diet. Most of us eat not only when we're hungry, but also when we're thirsty, bored, sad, or happy. This book will help you stop eating out of emotional need and put food back in its proper place, minus all the feelings of guilt and shame.

On the Dorm Room Diet plan, you choose when to indulge, and you choose how much is enough. You'll be amazed by how little it takes to satisfy your cravings once nothing is "off limits." As previously forbidden items start to lose their mystique, you'll be on a path to a happier, healthier, more satisfied you.

My book provides the tools to understand how what you put in your mouth affects the way your body functions and looks day in and day out. You'll never make decisions, at least about eating, from a place of ignorance. Clichéd as it sounds, knowledge is power. With the knowledge you gain in this book, you will have the power to take the exhilarating independence that comes with going away to college and use it to transform yourself into the healthy adult you want to be. Since you make the rules, you won't need to worry about whether that brownie is within the guidelines. The brownie is in if you say it is. Now, doesn't that sound like a piece of cake?

Think of this book as your 10-step program for achieving and maintaining your new healthy lifestyle. While you may want to consult more specialized texts if you are dealing with certain dietary restrictions or other health issues, this book will help you stay healthy—and happy—at college and beyond. Step 1 offers you some words of inspiration, and ideas for motivation, as you begin to establish your goals. Step 2 looks at the reasons college -students especially—and young people in general—find it so difficult to commit to a program of healthy eating, and explains how to move beyond these obstacles. Steps 3 and 4 examine when, where, and especially what to eat while at school (or anytime you're away from home), to make your mind alert and your body strong and resilient. Once you understand, for example, how simple carbs and sugars send your blood glucose levels soaring, then plummeting, propelling you into a coma-like state from which your only rescue is another sugar fix, that brownie we just talked about will seem a lot less appealing.

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