Kassidy Kelly tries not to worry about her body image, but said if she could change anything about her body, it would be her stomach.
The communication junior is not alone in wanting to change her stomach. 33 percent of Texans would most like to change their stomachs, according to a survey done by The Miami Beach Plastic Surgery Center and Medspa. Other students said they are unhappy with their bodies as well, especially as the end of summer draws near.
“I feel like it’s the hardest body part to get in shape and to stay in shape,” Kelly said.
When trying to lose weight, it’s important to make realistic goals that are specifically tailored to each student, nutritionist Allison Dominguez said in an email.
Dominguez said there’s a variety of ways for students to reach their health goals. All they have to do is use the resources on campus.
Biology junior Isabella Mutak said she lost twenty pounds from her freshman to sophomore year by eating healthier and working out more.
“I limited desserts,” Mutak said. “I cut out soda completely and just ate balanced meals in good portions. I ate a lot of salads with vinaigrette dressing.”
Students struggle with feeling overwhelmed in college, Dominguez said.
“Stress and anxiety is a powerful trigger for weight gain,” Dominguez said. “It triggers hormonal responses that can makes us feel hungry and crave unhealthy foods.”
Dominguez recommends minimizing consumption of processed carbohydrates, added sugars and unhealthy fatty foods if students are trying to lose or maintain weight.
“Don’t buy in to fad diets that advertise a quick fix for giving you the body of your dreams,” Dominguez said. “Eat a diet that includes a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods such as lean proteins, colorful fruits and vegetables and fiber-packed carbohydrates.”
In addition to eating healthier, eating at earlier times during the day can be beneficial to weight loss. Kelly stopped eating out late at night and said it has made a difference.
“It just makes me feel really bloated,” Kelly said. “That’s a big college thing, eating out late. That’s what gets to me. I tend to gain weight faster when I go out to eat later and then go straight to bed.”
Dominguez also recommends finding an outlet to help manage stress, such as committing to a regular exercise routine that will burn calories and improve students’ moods.
When she has time, Mutak likes to go to the Maverick Activities Center to run and do abdominal exercises.
“School takes a lot of time away from doing things you want to do,” Mutak said. “When I have time, I like to workout.”
Mutak said eating healthier is what helped her lose the weight. Even though she’s living a healthier lifestyle now, Mutak said if she could change anything about her body, it would be her stomach.
“My stomach has been an insecurity for a while,” Mutak said. “Social media and media in general are contributing factors, because everyone has flat stomachs for bikini season.”
Dominguez said in today’s culture, what is or isn’t considered attractive is heavily influenced by the media. She said that students should stop comparing themselves to others.
“Everybody has different genetics that influence bone structure, body size, shape and weight,” Dominguez said. “Focus on what your strengths are and what makes you unique.”