It’s common to hear “I can’t eat that,” “I’m trying to lose ten pounds,” or “that’s not good for my figure,” around the Keene State College campus.

While I undoubtedly agree that it is important to eat healthy food and try to maintain a lifestyle of fitness, I can not help but notice that many college students are taking this the wrong way.

I can’t count how many times a day people don’t eat a chip, cookie, or have that one extra bite simply because they are convinced it will put them over their limit—whatever that limit may be. The most common gender I hear this from is women. In fact, it is really the only gender I have noticed that chooses what to eat based on what pant size they want to fit in.

In a world where the women on billboards, in beauty magazines or music videos are a size zero, perhaps we need to take a step back and look at why these women fit the status quo and how appearance can be quite deceiving.

I don’t believe fitting into size zero jeans makes a woman healthy.

I don’t necessarily believe those who “look” healthy, are healthy. There are numerous things to take into consideration when talking about what “healthy” is and means and it is not just about weight or fitting into a desirable size.  We need to re-evaluate what health means, and look at our body types and genetics, and then decide what is best for us—not look at what some magazine may say.

There are plenty of women who I know could afford to indulge in chocolate without completely altering their diet.

There are plenty more women I know who simply won’t eat something because they think, “It will make me fat,” or sadly, in some cases, make them “fatter than I already am.” Why do I hear those beliefs from people so often?

I argue that low self-esteem is more dangerous than that sliver of cake, that last cracker on the plate, that cup of whole milk. Eating smart and living a healthy life is far more important than just eating only fat-free food items (which is not always healthy anyway) or obsessing over total fat content and calories listed in food products.

Eating smart is about a realistic understanding of what one’s personal health goal should be, not what their weight goal is.


Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at

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