Student Health and Wellness takes a body positive approach to fitness and nutrition programs

2016 02 13 Show you Care abiner Climbing Competition jatorner 0020

The beginning of the school year can be a rough transition for many students. From living at home and eating homemade food, to living in the dorms and eating in the dining hall, the move to college can be a big lifestyle change. Even for non-first year students, getting into the swing of classes can be a challenge. However, a healthy diet and exercise can make the transition feel much more comfortable.

Fit in Four is a brand-new four week program meant to transform students’ bad health habits into better ones. It’s goal is to help students track their diet and exercise in hopes of creating a healthier lifestyle. The first session of the year will run from October 1 to 28. 

Students start week one with a daily exercise goal of 20 minutes, and increase the duration of workouts every week. Students are also encouraged to increase their fruit and vegetable intake every week. The program then awards prizes at the end of the course, like water bottles and earbuds.

Instructors also give tips about eating on a budget, recipes, and more. Cooking workshops will be held during the course to teach students how to cook for their new lifestyle.

In addition to this new fitness program, Student Health also offers a four week group workshop called Intuitive Eating. Here, students are taught how to have a healthy relationship with food by the resident dietician.

“It’s really beneficial for people who are on a diet cycle, where they restrict too much, then overeat, then restrict too much,” said Trisha Welters, Associate Director for Student Wellness. “They really want to develop a healthier relationship.”

After completing the Intuitive Eating program, Welters said students reported feeling more confident in their choices. Developing a positive body image and high self-esteem is part of mental and physical health that students tend to struggle with. To address this, Intuitive Eating presents ten principles of smart eating that are the focus of the course.

The program will have a very body positive approach, teaching students to eat when they are hungry and exercise because it feels good.

“Body image is definitely an issue throughout the college student population,” said Welters. “So developing that healthy relationship with food and exercise can benefit students, health wise and body image wise.”

Because a positive body image isn’t always built up in just four weeks, Student Health always recommends and offers one-on-one follow-up appointments with a fitness specialist or nutritionist. Recipe links and workout tutorials are linked through Student Health’s website as well. Programs are open and free to all students.

A full description of the Fit in Four program and directions on how to register can be found here:https://studenthealth.uiowa.edu/fit-in-four/. Information on the Intuitive Eating program can be found here: intuitive-eating.