All Kinds of News for August 08, 2018
As the fall semester approaches, college students will face a number of unique stressors that can make prioritizing nutrition and exercise difficult. With the energy it takes to manage work and class schedules, prepare for exams and navigate social life on campus, many will admit that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t at the top of their ever-expanding to-do lists. EDGE Learning and Wellness helps its students overcome this mindset and discover that they don’t have to sacrifice their physical wellness for school.
”When I begin working with students, they usually think I’m going to suggest intricate diet and exercise plans that will cost a lot of time and money,” said EDGE Dietitian and Personal Trainer Jennifer Ventrelle, MS, RDN, CPT. "Instead, I help students develop small, realistic and budget-friendly goals they can incorporate and work toward in their day-to-day lives.”
Jennifer first helps students identify their unique motivations. For example, one student may want to walk more during the day, and another may want to lose weight without resorting to disordered eating. After working together and creating a plan to meet these motivations, Jennifer periodically meets with students to discuss progress and update the EDGE team on what the student is working on. This helps keep students accountable and gives them the opportunity to address any barriers they’re facing. With Jennifer’s support, students can determine how to overcome these barriers, normalize healthier behaviors and learn the positive impact healthy nutrition and exercise can have on their mental health and academic success.
“I try to motivate students to follow through on their goals by giving them the autonomy to make their own decisions,” said Jennifer. “Maybe that means a student wants to incorporate a favorite unhealthy food in his or her plan. That’s fine! Living healthy doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”
Although Jennifer eliminates the idea of perfectionism, she still makes sure EDGE students understand that they have to consistently prioritize and implement healthy behaviors. Students receive even more physical wellness education in a group setting with games, monthly learning topics and cooking demos. Most recently, Jennifer collaborated with an EDGE student to design a healthy chicken pesto pasta and Greek salad recipe.
“I like Italian and Mediterranean food, so I thought, 'Why not just combine the two?'” said the EDGE student. “Creating my own recipe changed the way I view healthy eating because it taught me that there are more options than just raw vegetables. I’m looking forward to my next recipe — I want to create a cucumber salad with a simple dressing my grandmother makes that contains mustard, olive oil and black pepper.”
Another thing EDGE students are looking forward to? Continuing their weekly fitness classes outside before Chicago’s beautiful summer weather says goodbye. Students are making the most of their exercise routines with activities such as jogging along the Riverwalk and rock climbing at Maggie Daley Park. With encouragement from both Jennifer and the city itself, EDGE students can learn the physical wellness skills they need to enjoy their lives and achieve their goals in college and beyond.
About EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically, while creating a life of balance, joy and wellness.