June 18, 2016
Welcome to the Care and Feeding of your Pet Body. In this first post, we’re going to talk about the easiest ways to keep track of your food intake in general.
Most people believe they eat healthy food in reasonable amounts. On the BBC show “You Are What You Eat,” the host starts each episode by showing overweight people the amount of food they consume in a week, and without exception, they are shocked. It’s all too easy to forget about a handful of crackers or a bag of chips or three granola bars. Or you may recall that you had “pizza,” but conveniently forget that you personally ate “three quarters of an entire large pizza.”
I’m equally guilty of doing all this, and the easiest way I’ve found to keep myself honest is to write down every bite. I don’t do this every day, but anytime I’m trying a new “food lifestyle” (because I DON’T “diet”) or anytime I just feel like my food habits have gotten away from me or become a bit out of control, this is what I do. Awareness is key! We can’t change what we won’t face or acknowledge.
Some people like to use an app on their phone to do this– myfitnesspal works GREAT for this. If you’re really just starting out, this is what I recommend. You enter whatever you just ate, enter the quantity, and most of the time, the app’s other users have done the work for you, and the nutrition info is already entered into their database. There are tons of restaurant dishes in their system as well. If you ate half of a dish, or 1/3, or 3/4, myfitnesspal will do the math for you. If it’s a recipe you make often, you can enter the data manually and save it for every future time you eat that food. You can log exercise too, and the app will tell you whether you’re at a calorie deficit or excess for the day. You can enter your height, weight, age, and goals, and myfitnesspal does the rest. I’m not super big on just counting calories for the day (more on this in future posts), but it helps to give you an idea. You can even connect with your friends on there to help you stay motivated!
Of course, entering all this data every time you eat or workout gets a little tedious after a while. Once you have a decent idea of what your food intake for the day is, and where you want it to be, and the nutrition info for certain foods, etc., you can just as easily get a good idea of how much you are consuming by writing it down. Whether you do this in a note taking app in your phone or with plain old pen and paper makes little difference, and really just comes down to personal preference, and how likely you are to keep up with it. Every time I do this, two things happen: I’m always surprised by the sheer volume of food I’ve been eating; and I tend to eat less, because if I’m not hungry and just wanting to snack for pleasure, knowing that I have to write it down (even though no one else will see it besides me) sometimes makes me stop and think just long enough to realize I really don’t need that extra half dozen cookies. 😉
This post sponsored by Zion Recovery Center. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, check out the best treatment center for drug and alcohol recovery Utah has to offer. (I don’t track who clicks that link, and I’d never judge.) Seriously, they help people every day.
Stay tuned for our next post!