health and quality improvement. Specifically it will discuss how to manage weight with proper diet and exercise, including the quality improvement process of how to achieve a healthy weight. As with many people in the United States today, I have experienced a weight gain, and this seems to be increasingly common in college. My weight is out of control, and I want and need to improve my health with proper diet and exercise. This paper will detail the QI process of how I will achieve this goal.
The Goals of My Program
I need to lose weight, and I am not alone. A group of authors writes, "Due to a lack of healthy eating and regular exercise, a significant proportion of college students are becoming increasingly susceptible to overweight and obesity" (Stellefson, Wang & Klein, 2006). The first step in this process is to identify my short- and long-term goals for this process. I want to lose 50 pounds, and I want to do it within a year. That averages out to about 1 pound per week, which seems like a realistic goal. In addition, I would like to develop a diet plan that I can stick to, and that becomes a lifestyle change for me, rather than a diet that would be too restrictive and might give me the incentive to go off it or "blow" it by eating undesirable and unhealthy foods.
I would like to modify my diet to take advantage of more healthy food choices, rather than settling on a restrictive diet. Two authors on diabetes note about dieting, "And what is the magic formula? It's a diet that tastes good, is easy to follow, promises quick weight loss results without feeling hungry or deprived, and includes detailed menus of what and how much to eat" (Nathan & Delahanty, 2005, p. 137). That's exactly what I need, and what I will look for. There are guidelines, however, and my research shows to achieve my goals, I need to understand caloric intake. Several authors note, "Usually a calorie reduction of 500 to 1000 calories per day will be sufficient to decrease weight at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week" (Hunt, Bogle, Gillentine & Daughtrey, 2001). Since that is my weight loss goal, I know that what I eat will have to decrease, because I am sure I eat far more than that now. To make this decrease, I have to monitor what I am consuming now, so I know how many calories to cut. A group of writers note, "Self-monitoring may, consist of such strategies as recording food intake including amounts, calorie and nutrient content, and fat grams, and recording events or feelings that promote overeating" (Hunt, Bogle, Gillentine & Daughtrey, 2001). That is the first intervention I need to start, and I will start it today.
To go along with my diet, I would like to develop an exercise regimen to help me regain my health and that is doable, that I will not procrastinate or avoid because it is too difficult to maintain with my lifestyle. To go along with that, I want to get more exercise in my daily activities, such as walking or riding a bike to school instead of driving, parking farther away from my destination and walking more, and taking advantage of exercise classes on campus. I feel these are all attainable goals, and they will give me the impetus to change my diet, get healthy, and remain that way throughout my life. Now, I will analyze data as to how to achieve my goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Collect and Analyze the Data to Measure Against my Goals
Now that I have identified my goals, I need to collect data and analyze it to ensure I meet my goals. First, I must select the type of healthy eating habits I will engage in to reach my goals. I know that one thing I need to cut out is fast food. I eat a lot of fast food because it is easy, convenient, and I am often pressed for time. I need to stop relying on fast food, because it is very high in fat and calories, and it is very unhealthy. Therefore, when making my decision, I must find healthy alternatives that are also quick and easy. I will identify the three basic types of diet or eating programs that I can choose from, analyze them, and then choose the one that makes the most sense for me and my lifestyle.
Very low-fat diets. These diets urge the dieter to eat only 10% of their calories from fat. They make sense because fat contains more calories than protein and carbohydrate do (fat contains 9 calories per gram, while protein and carbohydrate contain 4 calories per gram) (Nathan & Delahanty, 2005, p. 140). If you limit your fats, you can eat a lot more protein and carbohydrate so you feel full while you eat fewer calories. Many of these diets severely restrict meats, and urge the dieter to become a vegetarian. The authors note about these diets, "Although very-low-fat diets are touted as being simple and easy to follow, many people find them difficult to follow for the long-term because of the number of food restrictions and the limited number of meal options when eating out" (Nathan & Delahanty, 2005, p. 141). These diets also restrict even the "healthy" fats, like olive oil, fish oil, and others that have been proven to create better heart health, so I think they are suspect. I think this type of diet would be too restrictive for me and too hard to stick to, because I do like meat, and I would not want to severely restrict it. I think choosing healthier alternatives, like chicken and fish, is better than restricting it entirely.
Low-carbohydrate diets. Some people call low-carb diets "high-fat" diets, because many of the allowable food choices are high-fat foods, like butter, cream, red meat, and cheese. However, a low-carb diet can be made more healthy by choosing other alternatives, such as lean meats like chicken and fish, avoiding high-fat dairy options, and eating a lot of vegetables, salads, and even some low-carb fruits, like strawberries or blueberries. If I was suffering from type-2 diabetes, a low-carb diet might be the right choice for me. The authors continue, "For people with diabetes, an important potential benefit of low-carb diets is that they can dramatically lower blood-glucose levels and insulin requirements (Nathan & Delahanty, 2005, p. 145). Since I do not suffer from diabetes, I'm not sure this diet is right for me. I like meat, but I think I need to look at another alternative before I decide.
Balanced diets. These diets combine the right, healthy types of foods to create an eating plan that is based on healthy choices, rather than overly restricting foods. It is more of a common sense approach to eating. For example, replacing red meat with poultry and fish, replacing high-fat breads and side dishes with lower-fat vegetables, fruits, and salads, and drinking more water or juice instead of high-fat sodas and lattes. These are all fairly easy choices to make that do not take a lot of time and energy to figure out. Ultimately, the idea of any diet is to eat fewer calories and lose weight. All of these diets will help you do that, it is just finding the one that is right for my body, my lifestyle, and me.
After considering all of these diet types, I think I want to design a lifestyle shift around the third, common sense plan. I think that fits the best for my tastes, my needs, and my particular lifestyle, and I think it would be the easiest to keep and maintain throughout my life. I know that I will have to make important decisions about my eating habits, but I feel I can do this with help from menu plans, Web sites, and perhaps even a nutrition class to help me understand the foods I put into my body.
I also have to identify the type of exercise I want to pursue. I already noted ideas to walk more, park farther away, and such. I will also take stairs instead of elevators, and generally try to become more active in my everyday life. I know that is not enough, so I have to decide on a regular exercise program. It is hard for me to join a gym and keep up the commitment. I do not like going to the gym, especially when I am overweight, and I do not like having to choose a time to go every day. With my schedule of work and school, it is difficult to fit in gym at irregular hours. However, I do have the ability to buy a DVD workout program and workout at home. This fits into my schedule much better, and now, there are so many different programs to choose from,…