Food Journal

1070 words | 4 page(s)


In an attempt to lead a healthier life, control my weight, and have more energy in the day, a journal of my food and exercise habits were kept for a two week period of time. Proper exercise and nutrition can help to prevent many long term health consequences such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. To live a long and happy life, one must pay attention to maintaining their health. This is a lifetime journey. The purpose of this research is to examine my diet and exercise routines to determine what changes need to be made. The outcome of this research will be a plan to make the necessary changes to improve my health and wellbeing.

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Analyzing the First Two Weeks
The first two weeks of data revealed the current level of nutritional status and exercise. Overall, I found that my calorie intake was higher than expected and my exercise level was not as high as I thought that it would be. My average daily calorie intake was 1,900 calories per day, My BMI was 29.7, which places me in the category of overweight, but not obese. However, this number is near the limit for being overweight and being obese.

Knowing the total number of calories is only a portion of the story. One must also know how the energy is distributed among the major categories of foods is also important. It is recommended that the total calories from carbohydrates is 45 to 65 percent (Coleman, 2014). Between 10 to 35 percent of total calorie intake should be from protein (Coleman, 2014). Total calories from fat should be 20 to 35 (Coleman, 2014). My total calories from fat were at 42 percent. Total proteins were at 15 percent and my total calories from carbohydrates was at 63 percent.

In terms of major nutrients, my daily intake of calcium was much higher than recommended. The recommended intake of calcium was 800 mg/d. My actual average intake per day was 1,100 mg/d (USDA, n.d.). The USDA recommends 60 mg/d of Vitamin C. My actual intake of Vitamin C averaged 40 mg/d. However, there were days where my intake of Vitamin C fluctuated significantly and I had an intake of nearly twice the recommended allowance. My folate intake was notably low. A recommended folate intake of folate is 320 µg/d (USDA, n.d.). My folate intake averaged 160 µg/d. These are the most significant findings. All other nutrients were in bounds, or only slightly outside of the specifications.

In terms of exercise and activity, even though I make an effort at regular exercise, I found that I am inconsistent in this respect to. The recommended level of physical activity for a person of my age is 150 minutes per week of moderate activity, such as walking (CDC, 2014). I was well over the recommendation in terms of walking. I walk over two hours per day and am continually on my feet through the day. However, in terms of intense aerobic activity and muscle strengthening, I was lacking significantly.

Creating a New Plan
My three worst dietary habits are my morning Starbuck’s, quick restaurant lunches grabbed when in a hurry, and drinking soda pop when I get tired. These habits could lead to diabetes due to blood sugar fluctuations and they could lead to obesity. My three best dietary habits are occur at breakfast and in the mid afternoon snack. My breakfast consists of a cereal or grain, a piece of fruit, and a glass of milk. I usually have a piece of fruit in the afternoon. I limit my calorie intake before going to bed. These benefits help me to get enough servings of fruits throughout the day. I need to cut back on cheese, as my calcium was too high. I need to replace dairy servings with vegetable servings. I need to cut out the Starbucks. I also need to prepare healthy lunches that I can grab on the go and avoid restaurant food.

One of my short term goals is to cut back on the Starbuck’s habit to once per week. I will also attempt to pack a healthy lunch to take with me four times per week. These goals will be tracked by the number of days that I achieve these goals.

One of my long term goals is to improve my diet so that it is as close to ideal as possible. I will continue to keep a food diary and make little improvements until my diet resembles the prescribed diet as closely as possible. Another long term goal is to add in one hour of cardio three times per week. These goals will help to prevent diabetes and other deadly diseases in the future.

In week three, I attempted to implement the desired short term goals I was able to cut out cheese and lower my calcium intake. I was also able to eliminate three of the five Starbuck’s per week. I also substituted iced tea for soda pop. I was able to add in two more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I packed my lunch two days this week. I did not successfully integrate more cardio and muscle strength training. I believe that I need to establish accountability in regards to physical activity. I may try signing up for an exercise class to add accountability and a regular schedule. This would also make it a fun social activity. I did experience more energy during the day that lasted all day long. I also noticed that I was sleeping earlier at night.

I found that my experience with the food journal project revealed several habits of which I was not aware. I learned that the amount of activity that I get per day is not enough. I also learned that I was significantly low in folate. I need to shift the balance of my food from meat to fruit and vegetables. I will continue to use my food journal to make improvements in my food intake and physical activity. I found that the food journal was an excellent way to increase accountability to myself.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2014). Physical Activity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
  • Coleman, E. (2014, January 16). How to Calculate Percentage of Calories from Fat, Carbohydrate, & Protein. Livestrong. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/81042-calculate-percentage-calories-fat-carbohydrate/
  • United States Department of Agriculture. (USDA) (n.d.). Dietary Reference Tables. Retrieved from http://www.nal.usda.gov/

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