Over the last one month, I have conscientiously kept a record of the foods and beverages that I consume on a meal to meal basis as well as my exercise habits. Keeping this food diary acts as an effective way of tracking the number of calories I intake on a daily basis, and at the same I am able to maintain a much healthier diet. In addition to this, the diary is helpful in maintaining a healthy weight, planning out meals, and also shows what the individual is skipping and needs to include in their diet. Planning for regular exercise and healthy diet is critical because collectively, the two are essential for ling-term health. They are responsible for boosting immunity, elevating brain function and maintaining healthy body weight (Who.int).
Regular exercise is crucial for improving chances of longer and healthier lives, protection from heart disease, stroke or is precursors, undesirable blood lipid problems as well as high blood pressure. Other illnesses which may be prevented by regular physical activity include certain cancers such as breast cancer and lung cancer; type 2 diabetes; osteoporosis; depression and anxiety; improves cognitive function and reduces risk of falling amongst older adults. Exercising vigorously for half an hour every day improves the quality of sleep which leads to improved mental acuity and levels of energy in the day time. When all is said and done, the benefit of an improved physique that boosts self-esteem cannot be overemphasized. A healthy and fit person feels confident to face the world (Harvard.edu).
Analyzing the First Two Weeks
The initial two weeks of the program were somewhat difficult to follow a healthy dietary program and keep up with the exercises though I consumed whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables, low fat milk/ yoghurt and various meats on a day to day basis.
Against the required eight glasses of water in a day, I was able to take 3-4 glasses in the initial days, though thereafter, I was able to increase that to 6 glasses, which I believe was inadequate due to my physical activity at the gym which made me sweat out a lot. However, I continue to increase the amount of water I consume daily gradually. The amount of proteins consumed per day was adequate in comparison to the recommended 45 grams of protein each day. I consumed meat in sandwiches while on other days I ate legumes in my meals or roasted nuts as snacks. As for carbohydrates, I ate whole bread, rice, pasta and various cereals in all meals, ensuring that 75 percent of the meals consisted of carbohydrates. The fat levels were also adequate due to the fat that in addition to the levels supplied by the carbohydrates, I consumed animal based fats sourced from milk and meats. Vitamin C requirement in the body is roughly 90mg per day, and due to the amount of fruits and vegetables like oranges, broccoli and strawberries in my diet, I consumed in excess of 100 mg in a day. Folic acid was also adequate because I consumed in excess of 400 micrograms in leafy vegetables, egg yolk legumes. The zinc intake was adequate I consumed wheat, oats and red meats in adequate quantity (Stallings & Yaktine, 2007).
The nutrients that were inadequate were Vitamin D and Calcium, whose consumption was less than 600 IU and 1000 mg respectively per day. My intake of eggs for Vitamin D and Calcium was limited to one egg every two days. I did not consume adequate iron in the initial two weeks because my diet lacked foods such as walnuts, turkey and fortified cereals, and my daily intake was at 5 mg in relation to the required minimum of 8mg (Loftas, 1995).
In regards to physical activity, I began working out for ten minutes daily and gradually, the duration of time at the gym has grown to fifteen minutes. I have also replaced the car-rides to school with taking the bus so that I may walk to the bus stop from the house, and also from the bus stop to school. This adds on to my daily physical working out time though it is not up to the daily requirement of at least 45 minutes.
Creating a New Plan
Three Worst Dietary Habits
These include too much intake of sugary foods due to excessive snacking, skipping meals and eating on the run. Eating excess sugary foods is bad for the body because it means that an individual is consuming too much cholesterol, which is unhealthy. Skipping meals, and especially breakfast and lunch mainly cased by busy schedule causes an increase in hunger levels which may force an individual to eat large portions in the next meal. At the same time, an individual may experience a decrease in sugar levels. Eating on the run deviates a person’s attention from what they eat and reduces chances of eating healthy, while at the same time increases the chances of eating more than necessary. The health risks associated with the bad eating habits are reduced sugar levels from skipping meals, high cholesterol from eating sugary foods which may lead to diabetes and obesity which comes from overeating due to eating on the run (Gupta, 2005).
Three Best Dietary Habits
These include high intake of raw vegetables and fruits, drinking lots of water and exercise. Intake of raw vegetables and fruits is considered healthy because it provides fiber which keeps the gastrointestinal tract healthy. They also provide vitamin c which is necessary for the absorption of iron in the body and acts as an antioxidant. Water on the hand flushes out toxins from the body system, and at the same time lubricates the body. It is also essential for the distribution of resources that the body consumes, that is, the food eaten and the air that we breathe. Exercise helps in relaxation and reduces the risk of contracting cardiovascular illnesses such as cancer and diabetes (Who.int).
Short-term Goals for Improving Diet
- Walking for 15 minutes for 4 days in a week
- Reducing the number of skipped meals to 3 meals in a week
Walking for 15 minutes for ate least 4 days in a week is crucial because it builds up on the time spent doing physical activity. It also does not eat into my schedule because I can walk during lunch hour or in between classes. Reducing the number of meals skipped in a day reduces the instances of feeling extremely hungry which may cause overeating later in the day (Loftas, 1995).
Long Term Goals for Improving Diet
- Reduce my weight by 10 pounds in at least 10 months
- For self confidence and to reach my goals of creating a career in TV
Reducing my weight will improve my health de to decreased risks of contracting cardiovascular disease. Improved self esteem are always a result of a healthy and fit body, and people always get the confidence to purse their dreams. This is something I hope to achieve from my attempt to improve my diet (Desai, 2000).
Short Term Goal for Improving Physical Activity
- Attain fitness in 3 weeks
Physical activity increases the fitness levels of an individual and they are able to perform various physical activities without strain. In this case, I would like to walk, jog, perform household chores and work out without felling fatigued (Loftas, 1995).
Long-term goal for Improving Physical Activity
To improve performance at sports
All along, I have been interested in sports as a co-curricular activity and probably as a professional swimmer though the dream has been deterred by my weight and fitness levels. I hope that I shall be able to participate in competitive swimming in 3 years (Cdc.gov).
In week 3, I made several changes including;
- Carrying a healthy snack to school
- Making time to sit down while I ate
- Making time to eat breakfast and lunch on more days that it was the case earlier
- Increasing my working out time at the gym by 5 minutes every day
I have not been 100 percent successful in implementing the changes though they are gradually getting incorporated into my schedule. To start with, carrying a healthy snack on a day to day basis did not prove worthwhile due to the fact that I often got hungry after I had already eaten the snack. As a result, I ended up getting additional unhealthy snack from the school cafeteria, and this interfered with the schedule. Sitting down while I ate was also not simple due to the fact that eating time, especially lunch is created as I transit from one class to the other. However, I try to sit at breakfast and dinner times. Eating breakfast and lunch are also interfered with due to the fact that the schedule is tight and I tend to substitute meals with snacks. The strategies I use are persistence, and on a day to day basis, I strive to meet the changes. I also make a reminder that alerts me of the changes and the times that each of the activities should take place.
The changes have increased my energy levels, I feel fit, flexible and lighter. My concentration levels in class have increased and I am very alert, and this has reduced the amount of time spent taking remedial classes and lessons (Harvard.edu).
My changed diet experience has been good so far and I hope to continue with the food journal. I have learnt that with discipline, I am capable of being a better person and that I have much energy which when put to use, could benefit me and my family in great ways. My health will improve and I will spend less on medical treatment, a factor which will save my family lots of money which could be put to other use (Gupta, 2005).
Gupta, U. (2005). Ladies Slimming Course. Pustak Mahal, Delhi
World Health Organization. Physical Activity.
Harvard School of Public Health. The Benefits of Physical Activity.
Loftas, T. (1995) Dimensions of Need: An Atlas of Food and Agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Desai, B.D. (2000). Handbook of Nutrition and Diet. CRC Press.
Stallings, V.A. & Yaktine, A.L. (2007). Nutrition Standards for Foods in School: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth. National Academy of Sciences.