For years we have been educated about a balanced diet of fruits vegetables, meats, grains, dairy, and fats, but somehow over the years you have steered away from a balanced diet. Fit Chick is a program that is designed for female college students that meet the ACSM guidelines of physical activity, but are not seeing the results of a lean body. Many of us who meet the ACSM guidelines, understand the importance of nutrition, but don’t follow a balanced diet, even though they know they should and are thinking about it. Each participant will get their body fat composition measured with calipers prior to the start of the trial. If a female is under 15% body fat they will not be allowed to participate in the trial, due to the closeness of the female athlete triad. The female athlete triad is made up of 3 components, disordered eating, amenorrhea, andsteoporosis osteoporosis (Gottschlinch, 2014). Even though there are 3 components, females do not have to have symptoms of all 3 in order to be classified with this condition. There will be two groups, an experimental group and the other a control group. The experimental group will be provided with a link to download Calorie Count, which is a cell phone app that will help you track your caloric intake, provides recipes, and also exercise can be logged into this app. The control group will just be provided with emails about the benefits of a balanced diet. This program will be a 12-week trial. Every 3 weeks the participants will partake in a survey to measure the effectiveness of their helping relationship and self-reevaluation. Calipers will also be used to measure their body fat composition. The purpose of this program is to see if the utilization of a smart phone app can transition someone from the contemplation phase of the transtheoretical model to the preparation stage while assessing helping relationships and self-reevaluation. Nutrition is an important factor of getting the physique that you want. Abs are not made in the gym; they are made in the kitchen. Not only will your physique benefit from a balanced diet, but so will many other factors such as a decreased risk of heart disease, reduce risk of cancer, obesity, type two diabetes, lower blood pressure, bone loss, over all improving the general health of someone (Barufaldi et al., 2016). Nutrition is the key to helping you get the body you have always wanted.
Health Behavior: Eating healthier
Female college students who meet ACSM physical activity guidelines and want to better the physique by losing body fat
With a vast majority of the population having Smart phones, you can track your daily caloric intake with the touch of a button and a few swipes. If you have an IPhone, Android, or Windows smart phone, then you can easily download the Calorie Count app. By downloading this app, you will be able to scan the barcodes of your foods and log the nutritional facts exactly right. You can also type in the type of food. For example, if you were to eat an apple, you can type in what kind of apple it was and it will provide you with the nutritional facts. This app also has full recipes with healthy options, along with support from other member whom are using the app and nutation specialists for more help if wanted or needed. If you are worried about logging the food you just ate at a restaurant, no worries! This app has multiple chain restaurants along with their menu options that can be logged for your caloric intake. Another feature that this app has is you can log your exercise and it will show the amount of calories burned and deduct that from the calories consumed. This app is user friendly and can be used anywhere you take your cell phone. By logging your foods, it will provide you with a pie chart at the bottom of the percentage of each macro nutrient along with the amount of grams consumed. This app is beneficial from anyone who is looking to lose a few pounds to someone who is a body builder and wants to track their exact macro nutrients each day.
Stages of change:
For this program I want to focus on college females who are currently meeting the ACSM physical activity requirements who know that eating healthy balanced diet could help them reach their desired physique and have been contemplating on making the change and want to make that next step to preparation. By having female participants whom are in the contemplation phase and providing them with the Calorie Count app, the goal would be to see how many females transition from the contemplation phase to the preparation phase.
Processes of change:
With the goal of targeting college females from the contemplation phase to the preparation phase, one process of change to focus on will be helping relationships. For someone who is looking to transition into the preparation stage, having a helping relationship; being open and trusting to someone about the problems that will occur, by consulting other people who are/had the same issue or professionals to help guide them in the right direction, can help someone with the transition phase (Prochaska et al., 2008). Making the change to living a healthy life style and eating healthy is hard. With the help of people who are able to steer you in the right direction, it can make the hard times less stressful. For example, if one was having a hard time with picking healthy options while at restaurants, they are able to consult like people and get advice from them on how to approach the situation. With the app, they can even get the help they need while being at the restaurant before they make chose the unhealthy option.
The second process of change I want to focus on is self-reevaluation, or the assessing of how someone feels about themselves in regards to the issue (Prochaska et al 1992). The reason I want to focus on this process of change is because once someone makes a change they don’t notice the changes from day to day, but they will notice changes if they look at where they started to where they are at now. Each day is different too, one day you might eat a balanced diet and feel great. The next day still eat a balanced diet but feel awful. By self-reevaluation one can think of something new they put in their diet and how that made them feel or if they were just having an off day.
Eating healthy has multiple benefits, but for the sake of time, lets only look at 3. Because this study will be focusing on college females whom meet the ACSM guidelines for physical activity, eating a balanced diet can help you improve your workouts. Cynthia Sass stated in an article that previous studies have found that a balanced diet can help build muscle, increase the rate of recovery, and also improve the endurance of those who choose this healthy habit (2016). Because our focused population partakes in physical activity so often, a healthy diet is optimum for their recovery so they can get back to their workouts faster. Another Benefit, outside of a reduction of diseases and cancers is an improvement of brain function. A study that was done on a Mediterranean diet showed that there was a 36 percent that participant was less likely to have brain damage and was compared to a non-Mediterranean diet and it showed similar effects as high blood pressure (American Academy of Neurology, 2010). Brain function is extremely important, especially for the college female population. The females who are in this study still have classes and tests, so they need to maintain their brain function. The last benefit we are going to look at is the decrease of cardiovascular disease. There was a study done that looked at the food intake to see what foods caused cardiovascular disease or if it even did. What they found is, the non-healthier foods caused and increase in cardiovascular disease and the group that had a balanced diet, not only had healthier body fat percentage but also decrease risk of heart disease (Anand et al., 2015). Although eating healthy has many benefits, people will always say there is some reason why they cannot eat healthy.
Three of the most common barriers that you will hear people talk about is, they do not have enough time to make a healthy meal. Another is the amount of food people get on their plates when they eat out. Time… we all are pressed for it with the fast pace of today’s society. So no wonder people say they don’t have time to eat healthy. 41 percent of people say that their lives are to hectic and it is hard to include healthier foods in their diet, thus they go to a fast food place and order a meal which takes just minute (Project Health, 2016). What people don’t think about is taking the time one day a week to make all of their meals for the entire week. Yes, it might take you a few hours one day a week, but if you refrigerate or freeze your meals it takes just minutes to reheat them, and whoa-la! You have a balanced meal in just minutes. When you go to a restaurant, they give you way too much food. When you look at the plate of food that is placed in front of you, your brain gets told that is a single portion to you, so you eat it all. When eating out for a social even, one Project Health showed that the average person eats about 827 calories per meal due to the portion size (2016). Knowing how much 1 serving actually is and separating that portion form the other can help decrease the amount of food eaten. Another strategy that one could do is ask for a small plate and place your food on the smaller plate, thus tricking your brain that you are eating more than you actually are.
To improve the self- efficacy of an individual, the best way to do that would be through mastery of experience. Mastery of experience is a great way to improve self-efficacy because it is looking at the previous successes of the individual and how that person feels (McAlister et al., 2008). By looking at the success of a task, people usually are happy/ excited about their improvements, therefore they do it again. For example, if someone in the experimental group has thought about heating healthier, try the app while attempting to eat healthier, and start seeing some small changes and results, they will be more likely to enter the preparation phase and then continue on the path to the action phase. Everyone has to start thinking about something and weight the pros and cons before they start the habit. By looking at how the app works on a first-hand experience, the participant gets a feel for what it is like to master the app and get results, thus transitioning stages and continuing up the ladder. When first transitioning to a healthier life style, I could see the difference even on a daily basis of how I felt after eating certain foods. With being a female college student and meeting the ACSM guidelines for physical activity, eating a balanced diet while using this app I started to see small changes, thus me continuing to use it and moving into the next stage. By seeing small success by using the app, I was more inclined to stick with it and continue to see what other changes my body could undergo. Mastery experience co-insides with vicarious experience very well.
Vicarious experience is the action of demonstrating repeated successes through participating (McAlister et al, 2008). Very similar to master of experience, seeing the success of using the app, can encourage people to stick to a healthy lifestyle with the apps help. For example, Calorie Count has a tab that you can look for recipes. If you enter in multiple meals that you like and get a healthy recipe in return, multiple times, the participant is going to feel very comfortable with using that part of the app. If a participant spends time entering in information, they can get immediate feedback, thus making them feel as if they are utilizing the app right which equals success. Even in the contemplation stage, people usually want to test product first before they use them, so if they use this app and see that it is easy to use and it can help them in more ways than one, they will be more likely to transition to the preparation stage and so on.
Nutrition is key when it comes to gaining the physique that you want. For college females that meet the ACSM guidelines for physical activity, but are not satisfied with their physique, this program would be beneficial for them. For the college females whom are thinking about changing their diet to become healthier and eating a balanced diet, this program provides them with proc and cons of the change. When thinking about a change people usually end up choosing the one that has the better pro’s. Changing a lifestyle is not easy but the benefits from eating balanced diet exceed past just a physique level. For this program, the girls in the experimental group will be provided with a link to download Calorie Count right onto their phone where it will be right at their fingertips to use. This app provides them with instant feedback on the nutritional facts of the foods they are consuming, tracking the amount of calories burned during a workout, recipes, but most of all this app provides an instant source of a helping relationship by utilizing the professional tab and being able to communicate with a nutritionist instantly. If you are already meeting the ACSM guidelines for physical activity and have a smart phone, then why not participate in the program and reach your goal of gaining a leaner body. Having a balanced diet to reach your physique goals could not get any easier, plus you will be amazed with yourself in the changes your body can make and will continue on the path to success. For more information and/or resources, visit my Resource page.