Since September 2005, the Independence Blue Cross Student Recreation Center has been hosting their Body Composition Challenge, in which more than 100 students, faculty and staff try to maintain or decrease their body fat percentage to win a new iPod.
If that wasn’t generous enough, people logging 13 or more workouts during February are also iPod-eligible.
The IBC should be commended for offering a real incentive for Temple’s student body to get their priorities in order. We all want to be attractive – aka thin – but with classes, jobs and other commitments, working out and eating healthy has not been worth all of the time involved for many students, me included.
It is difficult for a student on a budget with a fulltime class and work schedule to stick to today’s most popular diets.
The stockpile of meat needed to follow Atkin’s was just a bit more than my wallet and vegetarian roommate could handle.
The South Beach Diet expected me to go shopping for the week and plan all of my meals ahead of time. If I had time like that on my hands, I would just workout and eat what I wanted.
These methods of losing weight just do not allow for the time and money constraints I am working with, so I offer my own fitness philosophy.
If we employ the principles of Henry David Thoreau’s “Ecomony,” we measure if an activity is worth doing by how much time it takes away from the rest of our lives.
If we only have 24 hours in a day, why waste one watching TV instead of using it to improve our quality of life by making some cash? We must realize that two hours spent going to the gym or shopping at Whole Foods Market could be used to study, earn money, or eat pounds of chocolate – all of which are much more instantly gratifying than lifting weights or eating organic squash.
For some time, it has been clear to me that all dieting should be ranked best to worst by the time and money they cost.
The obvious winner using this system is anorexia because all of the time that would be spent eating can be used more profitably; and tons of money is saved on food. The only real drawback is the constant hunger.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, only an estimated 0.5 percent to 3.7 percent of females have the willpower to stick with anorexia.
Bulimia ranks a distant second because all of the vomiting yellows teeth, and if the priority is to improve appearance, that is just working backward. Also, the Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus that a person would need to buy sells for about $40.
Add that to the cost of the food just vomited up and there is no financial gain to bulimia.
After bulimia, there is diuretic abuse. This has been a longtime favorite for people who want the immediate joy of eating and dislike all of the forced vomiting. That’s great if $10 to $15 per week for laxatives fits your financial portfolio, once added to the cost of food (and the Crest Whitestrips are optional).
The next option down the totem pole, and my longtime method of choice, is the coffee and cigarette diet. When used as meal replacements, $2 a day for coffee and $3 to $5 for a pack of cigarettes is not a bad deal. But the cost of Whitestrips (again) and possible cancer treatment must be factored into the price of this diet.
With so many choices, losing weight is harder than shoe shopping. And now that the IBC is offering iPods in exchange for working out, that choice just got a little harder.
Natalie Lavelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.