LIANE HANSEN, host:
As college freshmen settle into their new lives on campus, some may notice that their jeans are getting a little snug. Cafeteria food, late night snacks, long hours of study and weekend parties can take a toll on students' diets. In 2003, researchers at Cornell University reported that some students gained over four pounds in their first twelve weeks on campus.
Daphne Oz was already overweight when she entered Princeton University, but she managed to lose ten pounds her freshman year. She is now a junior and has shed some 20 more pounds. Daphne Oz has written what she calls a guide for getting through college, The Dorm Room Diet: The 8-Step Program for Creating a Healthy Lifestyle Plan that Really Works. Daphne Oz joins us from Princeton.
Ms. DAPHNE OZ (Author, The Dorm Room Diet): Hello.
HANSEN: This must really work. I mean, most students, they talk about this mythical freshman 15, and you've lost ten pounds. How did you do that?
Ms. OZ: Really just by taking back, you know, the control over my eating habits. I stopped eating for emotional reasons. I stopped eating without any control and any moderation in my indulgences. And again, this is a program for life. This is a program that allows you to indulge in certain things, yes, but do that in moderation and, you know, see wonderful results that keep you on track.
HANSEN: So give us an example. What would be a creative way to indulge in a food that you crave?
Ms. OZ: Well, I am a chocoholic, if I may so myself, and rather than having the whole chocolate bar, what I'll do is melt chocolate chips in the microwave and dip strawberries into it. So that that way I'm getting enzymes and fiber from the fruit in addition to that chaser chocolate, and without all the calories.
HANSEN: So was it your own diet that became the basis for the book?
Ms. OZ: The thing is, this is an eating plan that's been in the works since forever. I grew up with so much health information surrounding me. My father is a cardiac surgeon, as are both my grandfathers. So this is information I always had around but never was able to apply until I got to school and had all this independence to be in charge of where, when and what I ate. And that was really when I just started to develop, you know, the substitutions and the tricks and the sort of guidelines that I would use with myself, and that is where the book developed from.
HANSEN: What are some of the danger zones then? Where do college students get into trouble with their eating?
Ms. OZ: Well, they get into trouble when they eat for distraction reasons. We get into trouble when we, you know, eat because we're socializing, because it's the thing to be doing.
And again, all these places are zones where you're not eating because you need fuel, or because it's a meal time or even because you're hungry. You're eating for a variety of other reasons that make it so that you're not in touch, again, with when you've had enough and when you have started to indulge unhealthfully.
HANSEN: So if overeating happens during those late night study sessions or, you know, watching T.V. perhaps for relaxation, going to the sporting events and the tailgating or even staying up late with your friends to talk about what's going on, the point is to make better choices about eating.
Ms. OZ: Exactly. The point is to be prepared for these places. If you know you have a big test coming up, stock your dorm room or your study area with healthy snacks like soy crisps, and you know, baby carrots, fresh fruit, things that will keep your energy levels up without sending you to the u-store at, you know, 2:00 in the morning to stock up on less healthful and far worse options.
HANSEN: Have you become sort of a weight counselor to your classmates?
Ms. OZ: I've been very fortunate to have actually very health conscious friends, but they do - have started to come to me a little bit as sort of the health guru among our friends.
Especially for vitamins and supplements, because that's something that my age group hasn't really embraced yet, and I feel should. So I've definitely started my roommates on a new health regimen of vitamins and minerals and all sorts of supplements.
HANSEN: Daphne Oz is the author of The Dorm Room Diet, published by New Market Press, and she joined us from Princeton University.
Daphne, thanks a lot.
Ms. OZ: Thank you so much.
(Soundbite of song)
Unidentified Male: (Singing): You know, I love that organic cooking, I always ask for more. And they call me Mr. Natural on down to the health food store...
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.