Thesis: Diet and Activity Plan

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Diet and Activity Plan

What I have learned

Beginning this class, I believed that my diet and nutrition habits were acceptable because I know that eat healthier than many of my contemporaries. In addition, at 6'3" and 210 pounds, I certainly appear within the normal range. However, my BMI is 26.2, which places me in the overweight BMI range. I have also realized that much of that extra weight has come on within the last few years, which alarms me because I could gain more weight as I grow into middle-age. I realize that I have taken my diet and nutrition for granted, because I have not historically struggled with my weight. However, this class has made me aware that the diet habits that worked when I was in my 20s and 30s are not going to continue to keep me healthy in my 40s. Therefore, the first thing that I learned is that I need to make a change in my eating habits.

The second-most important thing that I learned in this course is that I do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Even on the days when I was not entering my menu choices into mypyramidtracker.gov, I noticed that I am only eating 2-3 servings of vegetables each day, if that many. I tend to eat a greater percentage of my fruit servings, but I generally fail to eat them all. I exceeded my recommended number of fruit servings on the day that I ate watermelon, which I think is attributable to the fact that watermelon has such a high water content, and people generally consume larger servings of watermelon than of other fruits. Therefore, I need to make a conscious effort to increase my consumption of fruits and vegetables.

In fact, the third thing I noticed is that my diet is not as balanced as I believed. A balanced diet does not mean that one consumes equal amounts of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates at each meal. Instead, the body's requirement for protein is much lower than its requirements for fruits and vegetables. Achieving a balanced diet requires one to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products than meats or fatty products. For example, I did not consume meat with each meal, and I believed that I was consuming reasonable servings of meat. Despite that fact, I still consumed an amount of protein that exceeded my recommended amount. In addition, I generally consumed an amount of fat that exceeded my daily recommended amount. However, I failed to consume a sufficient amount of dairy products, and my fiber consumption was lower than it should be. All of these factors indicate, to me, that I need to change the focus of my diet to plant products, including legumes, and reduce the amount of meat that I eat. In fact, I could probably limit my meat intake to one meal per day, and still meat my protein requirements, while increasing fiber and reducing fat.

Weight management need to maintain or reduce my present weight. I am considered overweight, though I am barely in the overweight category. Because I have no other conditions that are weight-related, such as diabetes or heart disease, I might be able to maintain my current weight without incurring any health risks. In addition, some people suggest that there are no substantial health risks associated with being mildly overweight, but that health risks only begin to occur once someone's weight moves into the obese range. However, most adults put on weight as they approach middle-age, and continue to do so until entering old age. Therefore, 10 extra pounds in ones 40s could easily translate into 20-40 extra pounds by ones 60s. This is because people generally become less active as they get older, without making a concurrent change in eating habits. Therefore, if I want to ensure that I remain healthy into my old age, the least I should do is maintain my current weight.

However, I feel like I need to take a more aggressive approach to my weight. Though I have no weight-related health problems, and am not currently at a weight that would suggest the occurrence of weight-related health problems, I do have a family history of such diseases. I have family members with Type II diabetes, which has been strongly linked to obesity. In addition, there is a strong family history of heart disease, which is also linked to obesity. Though I am not obese, I would not consider some of my family members who have these diseases obese, either. Therefore, I think that I am one of those people who should strive to keep their weight more in the middle of the healthy-weight range. As a result, I need to take steps to reduce my weight.

In order to reduce my weight, I need to make some changes to my diet. I noticed that when I planned on documenting what I ate in a day, I snacked less frequently. Even though my food choices on those days may not have been that healthy, I consumed fewer calories on those days than recommended for weight maintenance. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I need to keep a food journal, so that I will remain accountable for my food choices. In addition, though I understand that all calories are processed by the body in the same manner, I also understand that certain foods are more nutrient-dense than other foods. I need to increase my intake of these foods, especially leafy green vegetables. I also need to increase my intake of fiber, because a diet that is low in fiber can make one feel less full and satisfied, leading to more snacking. I also want to increase my intake of dairy products. Though I realize that dairy products are not miracle weight-loss foods, I have done some research into the concept that low-fat dairy products can help increase weight loss when incorporated into a reduced-calorie diet. Even if the dairy products do not have that impact, I need to increase my intake of dairy products.

A also need to increase my activity. The key to weight loss is to increase activity while decreasing food intake. When I was younger, I maintained a more active lifestyle. I participated in a weekly basketball game, walked more for transportation, and was generally more active. As I have aged, I have become more sedentary. Instead of going outside for recreation, I find myself turning to the television or the internet for entertainment. Therefore, I need to increase my activity. Furthermore, because my current lifestyle clearly does not lend itself to a tremendous amount of incidental physical activity, I believe that I need to implement an intentional exercise program, striving for 30 consecutive minutes of physical activity each day. Doing so will lead to me burning more calories, which will help me reach my weight-loss goals. In addition, doing so should help increase my cardiovascular health and reduce my risk of developing Type II diabetes.

Changes

The first change I plan to make to my daily activity is to incorporate a 30 minute walk into my morning routine. This change will not impact my family, because I already wake up before any of my family members. In fact, it is because this activity will not inconvenience my family that I have chosen to use walking as my fitness activity. However, I will be walking my dog with me in the mornings. Though she is not a human family member, my dog is a member of my family, and, like me, she has gotten a little overweight as she has approached middle-age. Therefore, incorporating a regular walk into our weekday routine should help us both lose a little bit of weight. In addition, she has started having some behavioral… [END OF PREVIEW]

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