“I eat a lot of junk foods!” This statement has been a tired refrain of mine for a long time. Looking back, the changes in my eating habits, exercise routine, and general stress management has been in gradual decline. I started off as a man of discipline. Breakfast was more than a cup of coffee; subsequent meals are hearty to give me energy for the rest of the day. There were days assigned for biking. The agenda included biking for an hour while running an errand, dropping off mail, or buy an innocuous item that I probably did not need.
However, as I grew older, these routines gave way to work schedule, social duties, and family responsibilities. Weeks would fly by before I handle a bike. If I did ride, it would be for a quick trip two blocks away. I would arrive back with hardly a sweat on my forehead. Mornings would start with caffeine, in all their forms, and not much else. The following meals would be anything that is either fast food or microwaveable. I would supplement with snacks, mostly soda. And the whole routine would be repeated the next day.
I did not notice how the habit started to affect my health. The changes are so subtle at first, until like a cliché, I saw how different I was from before. Where I had energy back when, now I feel spent by late afternoon. There would be occasions where I cancel schedules due to fatigue. Some nights, I skip dinner because I don’t feel like eating and sleep for more than 8 hours. Once in a while, a friend or coworkers would comment how lethargic I seem, looking bored and uninterested at anything. These would be replied with a pointed denial, followed by an explanation of long work hours and too much stress.
In retrospect, I was better of before health wise. Changes would have to be made to get back to an optimal level of regimen. Starting with physical activity, I need to strike a proper balance between exercise and leisure time. The 2008 Physical Activity guideline recommends, for my age group, at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity. Since biking is one of the exercises suggested, and which I have been practicing, it is only sensible that I tailor this for my own. The two block rides would be done away with, replaced with a premeditated route. The trip would be one hour total, planned for three days a week during my off days for a total of 180 minutes. Moreover, short trips will be travelled via public transportation or good old-fashioned walking.
Next, my poor eating habits would need to be altered. Fast foods clearly do not meet known dietary guidelines! Foremost, breakfast would return to include more than coffee. Also, Dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 recommend, “consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while