Weight-loss triumphs


    One-and-a-half drastic months after hearing the shocking words, “morbidly obese,” Alli Vetter is 28 pounds lighter and experiencing a healthier body and a happier mind.
    “Obviously, there are emotional ties to being overweight and especially in a college environment,” Vetter said. “It doesn’t feel great to be a fatty — deathly obese is not a thing I want to be.”   
    Losing weight is not a new concept for Vetter. As a senior in high school, she used Weight Watchers, a weight-control lifestyle program, to help her lose weight.
    Vetter now uses a new Weight Watchers program known as the “core diet” in which the participant eats energy-dense foods. She said the program encourages its users to eat grapes instead of raisins, which, because of their water content, keep you full for longer.   
    Vetter said she likes to pull recipes from the site to cook at home for her friends.
    She said she often uses the recipe converter, a tool that translates favorite recipes into healthier alternatives for those trying to lose weight.
    As an added convenience, Vetter said Weight Watchers offers an online tracking program.
    Even without a membership, the site offers its health-over-diet persona through phrases like “Learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food: stop dieting, start living — a unique outlook on weight loss, and an ambition to inspire and help you to adopt a healthier way to live.”
    According to www.weightwatchers.com, this is the approach that has led 97 percent of followers to say that they would recommend it to a friend.
    College weight gain is something Vetter certainly has dealt with, as do many when the dreaded “freshman 15” rears its ugly, pudgy head.
    According to a 2006 Associated Press article, the actual weight gain of college students during their freshman year is less than widely believed, and is instead becoming more of a long-term gain throughout their college experience.
    Weight Watchers is flexible and realistic enough to provide a working system for participants as they develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    “It’s about health, more than it’s about weight,” Vetter said. “You are allowed to slip up here.”
    This philosophy has led Vetter to be a devoted follower, and while she has tried other weight-loss methods, she has had continued success with Weight Watchers.
    “Some of the other programs are not very conducive,” she said. “They’re a drastic change all of a sudden — foods you are not familiar with and eating tiny portions of a pre-prepared meal. This is especially important with a college lifestyle when your friends want to order pizza at three in the morning.”
    Whitney Landsdowne, fifth-year student in life sciences and pre-physician assistant, has experienced a gradual weight loss since summer 2006, after her sophomore year of college, when she became motivated to be healthier and feel better about who she was.
    Living three years in the dorms where food is readily provided, Landsdowne recalled how easy it is to gain five pounds here and there and how enticing it can be to put off living a healthier lifestyle.
    Following the adage, “everything in moderation,” Landsdowne attributes her success to practicing self-control in all aspects of her life — not simply in regards to weight — and was able to achieve her weight loss simply by cutting back on food-portion sizes and exercising.
    Regardless of the method, both Vetter and Landsdowne said the choice to lose weight is a lifestyle change and a practice in self-control.
    Though Vetter and Lansdowne used different methods to become healthier, they both said their weight loss has changed their lives drastically.
    Both said they are physically healthier and have a more positive outlook on their futures now. Landsdowne said having children one day has motivated her to be a healthier person.
     Vetter experienced what she calls a “plateau” in weight loss, explaining that this is a common experience for those trying to lose weight.
    She said she plans to begin work with a personal trainer in her efforts to continue losing weight and looks forward to continuing her newfound, healthy lifestyle.