College student gets a different type of education while away from home -- weight loss

Sampling her way through the new farmer's market at Spelman College, Na'Quisha Marine says she came to Spelman from Virginia Beach looking for a school that would help her raise her personal bar, and really push herself.

"I didn't want to leave high school and not be challenged. I didn't want to go somewhere that wasn't going to make me grow personally or professionally," says the political science major.

But, something else had been challenging this now 23-year old senior for years. Her weight.

"So, ever since I can remember, probably at about 13 years old, I have been obese, morbidly obese," says Marine. 

Back home, growing up, Marine says, she ate what she wanted, when she wanted.

"All types of food, Cheez-Its, cookies, chips, anything you can name.  And I ate them in large quantities.  I didn't just eat a handful of chips. I'd eat almost the entire bag in one sitting," recalls Marine.

But, at Spelman, in this different environment, Marine realized, she couldn't physically keep up with her classmates, which was an epiphany of sorts.

"If I want to have a solid time in college, and I want to have the experience I see myself having, I had to do something within myself to make a change," she says.

Then, in January of 2017, Marine's freshman year, as part of a friendly weight loss challenge, she says she got on the scale, for a weigh-in.

"And I saw 301 pounds.  And that's when it struck me, like, okay. I always knew I was overweight, but to see a '3' in front of my weight was like, okay, you're only 19 years old and you're over 300 pounds."

Marine needed help.  And that's what registered dietitian Marisa Moore is here for.  She guides Spelman students who are adjusting to a new way of eating, not that their parents no longer call the shots.

"What I do is help them to navigate the cafeteria, find the healthiest foods. I'm helping them to figure out what are healthy dorm snacks, for whenever they're studying at night," says Moore.

Moore says a big challenge is adjusting to a new schedule.

"Maybe they're staying up a little later, snacking more than they used to.  You know, the cafeteria has desserts every  You may have not had that at home, so how do you make the decision, 'Hmmm.  Do I need sugar cookies every day, or maybe I want to scale it back?"

Marine joined Spelman's wellness program and changed the way she was eating.

"They provided a salad bar. I think Subway has definitely helped me on my journey.  Because if there were something other than Subway, like Pizza Hut, it would probably be much harder,"  says Marine.

But, she likes this new way of eating and the way she feels. She's down 120 pounds and counting.

"I don't want to go back and I want to keep reaching different fitness goals," says Marine. "I would say I'm way more discipline and I have way more willpower than I thought I had.