Fuel up with nutrition education sessions

Baylor Womens Volleyball Assistant Coach Sam Erger moves through the salad bar at Penland Crossroads for a late lunch Tuesday afternoon. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Vivian Kwok | Reporter

Many people equate physical fitness with health. However, the wellness department recognizes physical health as only one area of wellbeing, and suggests making room for diet and nutrition goals in your New Year’s resolutions.

Bill Siddiq, master trainer for the Department of Wellness, said he believes that when it comes to getting healthy, exercise is only 20 percent of the equation while diet and nutrition is 80 percent of it.

“One thing I always stress to my clients is get interested in your nutrition,” Siddiq said. “A lot of the general population thinks that exercise alone is enough. I used to think exercise alone is enough.”

He said one of his current clients, Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone, saw the greatest results when she fixed up her diet at Baylor. He said that dieting was not on Livingstone and her husband’s minds at first.

“They’re in phenomenal shape,” Siddiq said.

Still, he said it was after they made dietary changes and cut out sweets for a semester that she lost about 15 pounds and her husband lost 25 pounds.

“When they got their diets in check,” Siddiq said, “that is when they saw the greatest results.”

The FitWell Program through the Department of Wellness offers Nutrition Education in addition to their group exercise classes. According to assistant director of wellness Van Davis, nutrition education sessions are one-on-one consultations with senior nutrition education majors.

“You come in and go over your goals, your objectives, your history and what you’re doing,” Davis said. “The educators are trying to help you reach your goal.”

Houston senior Alexandra Vrettos, liaison of nutrition educators, said she does not want people to think nutrition education is a scary step to take or that the educators would have judgment toward their clients’ eating habits.

“It’s more for us to let people know it’s OK to eat french fries. It’s OK to eat a burger. It’s just about moderation,” Vrettos said.

Vrettos also said she would like to see more students register for nutrition education sessions because making changes may help them become better students in school.

“We’re doing all the worst things to our body in this time of our lives,” Vrettos said. “It’s best to learn these things.”

Nutrition educators develop plans according to their clients’ goals that they voice in an initial consultation, Vrettos said. Goals could range from losing weight, to gaining weight or to gaining muscle.

“Before every session we always have to prepare a lesson plan on what we’re going to discuss with the client for them to get to where they need to,” Vrettos said.

Educators could develop tailored meal plans, provide information on certain food groups or give tips about cooking or how to eat in the dining halls.

Vrettos said educators must first complete the Nutrition Education course that is part of their degree plan. The information the nutrition educators give to their clients are science-based information that they have researched through their classes.

“It would always be science-based, always backed up,” Vrettos said.

Vrettos also said the nutrition educators are paid for their work experience and most are seniors, but the program is open to bringing in lowerclassmen as well.

“These are top of the top students that we have in the field,” Davis said.

Nutrition Education is $10 for three one-hour appointments. Register here. According to Vrettos, information given during a session would normally cost hundreds of dollars at a dietitian.

Baylor also has a Weight Watchers program and dietitians through the Counseling Center or through Aramark. All are open to Baylor students, faculty and staff.

“If you can fix your diet, you’ll be amazed at the results that come as opposed to just exercise alone,” Siddiq said. “If your diet’s in line, everything else will fall in line.”