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Dear Hungry Girl,

About the HG Video Short that launched last week... I liked it, but to me, it seemed like an ad. What is the story there? Was it an ad? Will all of your video shorts be ads? I'd love to see more videos, but I'd like more information and maybe even some cooking. This one was a little goofy. Please explain!

Dear Video-Crazed,

I've been getting a LOT of feedback about HG's first video short, and I want to clear up any confusion about it. That particular video WAS a paid ad, which is why it included a message in it that read, "Sponsored by Yoplait Light" -- I wanted to be completely up front about that. Here's the full scoop on our first round of HG Video Shorts... We shot eight of them. A few are like mini-commercials for things (e.g., the HG book), and others are more informational. Some are sponsored, and some are not. The reason we started making these short video segments is 'cuz we wanted to try out a fun new way to deliver content. We're experimenting and taking into consideration all the feedback from the HG subscribers. Overall, the response to the first one has been great (thank you!!!). But there's also been lots of constructive criticism -- which I love, because it helps me know how to make changes when we shoot the next round of videos. In retrospect, we probably shouldn't have launched our videos with the first one being an ad. But I really am IN LOVE with the new Yoplait Light cake-flavored yogurts, so I felt totally comfortable making that video. Please keep in mind, we never promote any product, paid or not, unless we truly believe in it. We regularly turn down money from potential advertisers when we don't like their products, because we only want to expose you, the subscribers, to things we think you'd love. As for the "goofiness" of the first video, HG is largely about having fun, so the goal was to make the first round of videos cute, and even a little campy, while still being informative. The first eight videos were made with Jerry, my kooky pal you met in the first video, and they DO have a wacky flavor to them. Thanks to your feedback, the next round will likely be more straightforward and informative (and yes, less goofy). However, a big portion of the HG audience LOVED the first video, so we'll have to walk a fine line to make ALL our subscribers happy. I really appreciate the great feedback all of you have sent so far (even from the person who pointed out how short I am!). Your comments are extremely helpful, so please keep 'em coming. And in case you missed the first video, CLICK HERE to see it! More soon...

Dear HG,

I'm a freshman at college, and I'm really afraid of gaining the infamous "Freshman 15". Because of my meal plan, I eat at the dining hall for lunch and dinner. But since I have early morning classes, I usually have to just eat something really quick in my dorm room for breakfast (or skip it altogether). Do you have any tips or suggestions to help me avoid the "15"?

Fearin' the 15
Dear Fearin',

OK, I totally hear you! I know everyone talks about the Freshman 15 like it's inevitable, but I think there are MANY things you can do to avoid gaining weight in college. First, I want to address your specific question about eating a quick breakfast in your dorm room early in the AM, or worse, skipping it completely. Never skip breakfast! A little trick I like to use when I need to wake up early is to split my breakfast up throughout the morning. If I eat my entire breakfast super-early, I will be hungry for lunch before noon -- then I'll end up eating an early dinner and craving snacks all throughout the evening and into the night. I think you should keep your dorm room and fridge stocked with great stuff you can eat in the room AND grab and take with you. Some things I recommend are whole fruits (like oranges and apples), fat-free yogurt, packets of instant oatmeal, little microwavable cups of egg whites, and light string cheese. So wake up and grab a yogurt, nuke up some egg whites, have an apple -- eat some sort of 200-calorie-or-so breakfast. Then take a couple of 100-calorie snacks with you in case you get hungry mid-morning -- this way, you won't wind up super-hungry before lunch. Pace yourself throughout the day, and eat smaller meals. ALWAYS have emergency snacks with you at all times. I think college students end up gaining weight because they're usually busy and unprepared when hunger hits, so they grab whatever food they can, whenever they can. Bad idea! Other ways to avoid those fifteen extra lbs? WALK A LOT!!! Get that exercise in. Make sure you schedule time to work out as often as you can (bonus -- exercise is a great stress-reliever, which is especially helpful during your first year at college!). Avoid fast food (or choose it carefully!)... and don't make a habit of late-night pizza-eating. I think ordering pizza after 10pm is the cause of most college weight gain (this is just a theory, of course!). Want tips for eating at the dining hall? Click here. And click here for HG's College Survival Guide over at Yahoo! Food. Good luck to you!

Today, September 17th, is National Apple Dumpling Day. Want an apple-tastic treat, HG style? Click here!
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