Have Your Pumpkin Pie & Eat it Too! Healthy Eating Over the Holidays

The holidays are approaching and that means it’s time for get-togethers with family, friends and…food! Although the holidays are a time to celebrate and rejoice, it can also be very difficult to stay healthy with tempting foods and treats hanging about every corner.  According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Americans on average, gain about one pound during the holiday season. Luckily, there is a way to stay healthy this holiday season while also enjoying your favorite foods! Consider these tips before going to your next holiday party:

Don’t go to the buffet starving

If you know that you’re going to attend a holiday dinner party, make sure you don’t skip meals that day. It may seem like a good idea to restrict calories before eating at a dinner event, but this could actually cause you to overeat. When you deprive your body of food, your blood sugar levels drop, making you more hungry at dinner time. Remember to eat balanced meals throughout the day, that way you can focus more on enjoying time with friends and family versus focusing on how hungry you are.

Survey the scene

You don’t have to eat every food item served on the table. Scan the foods available and think to yourself which ones you find the most appetizing. The trick is to eat what you want without having to eat everything served.

Practice portion control

Living in a “supersized” day and age makes portion control one of the most difficult components to eating healthy. The trick to practicing portion control over the holidays is to focus on eating larger portions of healthier, whole foods and smaller portions of more savory, sweet foods. Imagine portioning your plate like this:

  1. Make ½ of your plate fruit and veggies
  2. Make ¼ of your plate protein (i.e. meats, fish, eggs & beans)
  3. Make ¼ of your plate grains or starches (i.e. rice, pasta, potatoes & breads)


Eat slowly and savor your food

It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating, for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Check in with yourself as you are eating and try not to eat too fast. Enjoy your food more, by learning to savor the flavor of every bite and giving your body time to register its level of fullness.


By Tyler Rolling, MS, RD






Member Spotlight – Curtis Williams

curtis-poster-photo-high-resCurtis Williams has been an Aztec Recreation member since August of 2015. He came to SDSU all the way from New Zealand, never having been to San Diego before. He didn’t know a single person, but he didn’t let that dissuade him from getting involved. “I knew before I came here that I wanted to be a part of the Waterski and Wakeboard club, in fact it was a big part of my decision to come to school here,” he explained.

As soon as Curtis joined the club, he said it was like instantly gaining a tight knit group of friends. “The Sports Club program gave me the ability to continue training and competing in the sport I loved and grew up with, while still pursuing a higher education,” he says. “We have a fantastic boat, and the ability to train as often as we want in Mission Bay, and I try and get out on the water 3-4 times a week. Being able to compete around the west coast and further afield has also been a great experience, within my first month of being a part of the Waterski and Wakeboard Club we travelled to Texas to compete at the National Championships.”

Curtis lives by the quote “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” His competitive drive got him a 3rd place victory in the NCWSA Collegiate All Stars competition, and, even though he knows it will be a lot of work, he’s extremely excited for this year’s Nationals.

“I’m not sure where I would be without the fantastic opportunities that Aztec Recreation and the Sports Club program have provided me with here at SDSU – probably milking cows somewhere in New Zealand.” Congratulations, Curtis! We’re happy you chose to compete for SDSU instead of staying in New Zealand and milking cows!


Member Spotlight – Luqi Zhang

img_8454Luqi Zhang has been a member with Aztec Recreation since 2013. She came to San Diego State as an international student, and is studying Business Accounting. Luqi initially joined Aztec Recreation because it was the cool thing to do. “In China, I never worked out. But when I came here, everyone had a gym membership. So I decided to follow the group and get one too.” And Luqi has been hooked ever since! Her favorite facilities are the rock climbing wall and the Aquaplex, and she loves the cardio and yoga classes that the Group Fitness program offers.

“Luqi is very involved in Aztec Recreation and I have known her for about two years now,” says Aimee Orozco, Member Services Supervisor, “She is always in the front of the Group Fitness classes with a smile on her face. She is one of the most enthusiastic people I have met with a great attitude and outlook on life.” Luqi’s personal motto is, “When nothing goes right, go left.” This embodies her happy and positive outlook on life.

Outside of Aztec Recreation, Luqi focuses on living well by eating healthy. She tries to get vegetables in daily, and avoids eating out at restaurants too often. When asked if she was an Aztec for life, she nodded and said, “Definitely.” She explained how great the international student program is with integrating the students with the SDSU student life and programs. Congratulations, Luqi!

Single Servings – Nurture Your Mind, 50 Minutes at a Time

Single Servings
“Nurture Your Mind, 50 Minutes at a Time” 
** Single Servings, the workshop series presented by Counseling & Psychological Services, continues during the month of November, covering topics such as navigating that social media life, riding out big emotions, and finding connection and balance in your life as an SDSU student.
“Balancing Roles & Self-Care”
Tuesday, 11/29 from 12:30-1:20pm
Commuter Resource Center
Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union
Student. Friend. Partner. Sibling. Classmate. Employee. Wearing all these hats isn’t easy. Join this space to explore and discuss the multiple roles you fulfill, and learn self-care skills to help you manage them and your time more effectively. **
Counseling & Psychological Services presents Single Servings, a weekly series of drop-in gatherings for students to connect with one another and to discuss PowerPoint Presentationand learn strategies to help you succeed at SDSU. Whether it be maneuvering through social media life, learning how to manage stress with Baxter the therapy dog, or working on test anxiety, there is a space for you. Join the program every Tuesday from 12:30pm-1:20pm in various locations on campus. Single Servings is open to all students and no registration is required! The full schedule with descriptions can be found on the Counseling and Psych website http://go.sdsu.edu/student_affairs/cps/groups-workshops.aspx or check the flyer on this blog post.


Think Before You Drink

Think Before You Drink

For many adults, enjoying a drink can be a welcomed way to spend time with friends.  Whether you go to a local bar or micro-brewery, a party, or just hanging out at homes with friends, it is important to remember if you overindulge, it can lead to some not-so-good effects. To make sure that you and your friends have fun and stay safe, try following these simple tips…

1. Plan Ahead

Talk to someone with a DUI and they’ll likely say they didn’t intend to drink and drive.  Deciding in advance to either have a non-drinking designated driver, using a rideshare (like Uber or Lyft), or spending the night can mean you can avoid one of the most dangerous aspects of drinking.

However, sometimes people still end up drinking too much to the point where alcohol is no longer enjoyable. They may move on up the BAC curve to the not-so-good feelings and outcomes.

So for those of you who may be drinking…

2.Eat food before and during drinking

Eating a meal before drinking can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol and help to avoid a spike in your blood alcohol content (BAC).

3.Track how much you consume

Depending on the type and size of the drink, the amount of alcohol can vary. Here are the standard drink sizes for the four most common drinks:

  1. 12 fluid ounces of beer with %5 alcohol (darker beers often have higher alcohol content)
  2. 8 – 9 fluid ounces of malt liquor
  3. 5 ounces of table wine (dessert wines such as Port have more alcohol content than table wine)
  4. 5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirts (like vodka and tequila)


Source: (NIH, National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)

Keep in mind that mixed drinks, like a margarita or a mojito, contain more than one drink. If you are unsure, look up the recipes before you order and watch how it is prepared.

4.Use the one drink per hour rule

Pacing your drinking is an excellent way to maintain your buzz without overconsuming. It takes your body approximately 1 hour to absorb and eliminate each standard drink of alcohol. Also, remember that many craft beers, a large glass of wine, or a strong mixed drink are likely more than one standard drink!

5.Do not mix alcohol and drugs

The mixing of alcohol and drugs can have adverse and unpredictable effects. There is an increased chance of liver problems, difficulty breathing, confusion, and dizziness. There is even an increase chance of overdose and death in some cases. Your best bet is not to mix and to avoid illegal drugs altogether.


Be safe, know your limits, and have a Happy Halloween!

By Russell Argenal, Graduate Health Promotion Intern, MPH canidate



  1. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/what-standard-drink
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7903430_College_Students_Lack_Knowledge_of_Standard_Drink_Volumes_Implications_for_Definitions_of_Risky_Drinking_Based_on_Survey_Data
  3. J. McKnight et al., “Why People Drink and Drive: The Bases of Drinking-and-Driving Decisions,” Final Report (Springfield, VA: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1995).

Member Spotlight – Tyler Farnsley

IMG_7745When asked what his life motto was, Tyler Farnsley replied with “Stay positive.” As a blind individual, Tyler says that staying positive is incredibly important, especially when people
are constantly thinking you can’t do something because of a disability.

Tyler proves the cynics wrong – he has been a member of Aztec Recreation for two years, taking public transportation almost daily to utilize the ARC cardio and fitness rooms. His father works on campus as a Professor in the School of Theatre, Television and Film, which helped Tyler’s select Aztec Recreation for his active lifestyle journey.

Aimee Orozco, Aztec Recreation Member Services Supervisor speaks highly of Tyler, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Tyler for the past two years…almost the entire time he has been a member with Aztec Recreation. He now knows me by the sound of my voice and greeting when he walks into the facility. Tyler is an extremely friendly person with a great attitude. He is an inspiration to many of us here at the ARC.”

Outside of Aztec Recreation, Tyler lives well by walking everywhere. He tries to maximize his daily exercise by walking the long way to maximize his steps. He’s an Aztec for Life with connections at SDSU and with Aztec Recreation staff. Congratulations, Tyler!