This is a hypothetical case:

I am halfway through my freshman year of college and I am fighting against the “freshman 15.” I know that everyone goes through the same sort of problems with weight in college, but this is MIAMI! I feel like everyone is beautiful, thin and tan, and that it is not acceptable to be chubby. I know some girls who don’t eat, throw up, smoke, over-exercise, take diet pills and even do amphetamines to lose weight. I think this is crazy, but it seems to work for them, and simply exercising is not working for me. How do I lose weight and look good without killing myself?

OK, STOP! First of all, no matter what you look like, you should never let other people determine how you feel about yourself. I know, I know: You’ve heard that before and yet you still feel like crap when you walk out onto the pool deck and see a row of tan Barbie dolls. Well, just remember that those people are likely to end up with skin cancer and a face that looks like a crumpled-up paper bag when they’re 30.

Now as for the women that you know who throw up, don’t eat and take diet pills, they are in for a slew of health problems in their future. states that anorexia nervosa, or not eating in order to lose weight, can lead to organ damage in the heart, brain and kidneys, a drop in blood pressure, drops in pulse and breathing rates, hair loss, irregular heart beat, osteoporosis and death from starvation or suicide. Bulimia, or willingly throwing up food after eating, can lead to stomach ulcers, tooth decay, ruptures of the stomach and esophagus, irregular heartbeat, lowered libido, cardiac arrest and throat cancer. Amphetamines and diet pills can lead to an increase in heart rate, high blood pressure and addiction. Diet pills often contain laxatives that can lead to dehydration, uncontrollable bowel movements and a loose anal sphincter. If any of these side effects sound good to you, by all means, take the pills, throw up or stop eating. Just make sure that you have 911 on your speed dial.

However, if you are looking for a healthier way to trim down, you should try to eliminate 500 calories from your daily intake, said Wellness Center Assistant Director Ashley Falcon. This can also be done by completing moderately intense workouts for exercising 30 to 45 minutes of moderately-intense workouts a day and watching what you eat. Falcon noted that the average person shouldn’t drop more than 1-2 pounds a week, although heavier people are more likely to drop weight faster. Don’t starve yourself or deny yourself foods that you like because that may causelead to overeating other foods. Instead allow yourself some of your favorite foods, but eat them in moderation. When you’re really looking for something sweet, grab a piece of fruit or some organic sugar cane from Whole Foods so that you’;re avoiding preservatives.

Also, remember that just because you chose a Coke Zero, does not mean you can have that bag of potato chips or french fries. One of the biggest mistakes in dieting is replacing a soda with a diet soda and then eating more.

If you’re looking for ways to start a weight-loss program, the Wellness Center has a free CHAMP fitness assessment program that is great for measuring your body composition as well your overall fitness. The Wellness Center also offers more than 35 club sports, various intramural sports and daily group exercise classes that can help make working out a fun activity. It has also been shown that working out with a friend helps motivate a person to get up and get working. Remember no one should make you feel bad about yourself; even the biggest woman or man can be sexy and attractive as long as they exude confidence.

To ask Ashleyann a health question, e-mail her at