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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Consequences of getting that Spring Break body

Each+month+15%2C000+tests+will+be+provided+to+the+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+University+System.
Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

Each month 15,000 tests will be provided to the Texas A&M University System.

From fancy vacations to days spent trying to soak up as much sun as possible, Spring Break is a time for college students to relax and take a break from the stress that comes with being in school. But along with this sense of relaxation, Spring Break brings a heavy, easily overlooked stigma.
When it comes to prepping for Spring Break, young college students often find themselves with an unhealthy habit of finding new ways to perfect their body image. Whether it’s through weight-loss trends on the social media app TikTok, or slimming down through small diets and excessive exercise, it’s possible for young people to find themselves in a dangerous state of mind and health.
Student Health services physician and eating disorder team member Dr. Gayle Ponder said although an instant “Spring Break body” may be desired, it takes months to actually achieve anything similar.
“There is no quick way,” Ponder said. “Students may find some quick success in a very restrictive diet, but it is not going to be healthy or sustainable in the long run. Students need to be thinking of this goal months in advance to achieve it in a healthy way.”
The amount of temptations that come with being in college often cause weight loss and toning up to be pushed back until Spring Break is just within reach. Ponder said this need to get into shape quickly has several negative effects.
“If a person is really restricting calories it may result in fast weight loss, but it also can result in fatigue, irritability, low blood sugar or even muscle breakdown,” Ponder said.
With younger generations, it has been found that social media plays a major role in body image. Ponder said social media allows for instant comparison that is often a false reality.
“Photos can be altered and only the exciting parts of life are shared,” Ponder said. “People start depending on likes and follows to define self-worth, the perfect body image or the perfect life for that matter. We humans tend to feel that if we cannot look like or be like the images before us then we are not worthy.”
In order to maintain both a healthy mind and body when trying to achieve one’s physical goals, Bethany Smith, assistant director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said students must set realistic expectations for their individual body types.
“Poor body image can lead to low self-worth, depression, anxiety, poor eating and exercise habits, shame and even thoughts of suicide,” Smith said. “Focusing on health and the way someone feels instead of a number on the scale is important along with recognizing their worth as separate from appearance.”
Although Spring Break is known to bring up unhealthy habits, if gone about correctly, it can prevent long-term negative outcomes and practices.
“Spring Break is a short time period, but the preparation of unhealthy habits that can occur prior to that time can have negative effects,” Smith said. “Working to understand that healthy habits and building self-worth separate from appearance or just one thing can help students feel good about themselves and be successful in their personal and academic endeavors.”
In order to stay happy and healthy even after Spring Break has come and gone, Ponder said studying, sleep and exercise could be key to making college students more aware of exactly how they are treating their bodies.
“If students could come to college thinking that they need to find things they enjoy to stay active, yes, you can splurge and have fun, but you have to balance it with your lean proteins and vegetables as well,” Ponder said. “Sleep is important if you set priorities, meaning you may have to cut out activities that are not at the top of the list.”

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