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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

Despite reading about the importance of maintaining a food journal, I figured I could just keep track in my head. Boy was I wrong!  I thought I was doing a pretty good job of approximating the number of calories I was consuming each day.  After all, food is my passion and I have a pretty good idea of calorie counts.  Over the years, my weight has slowly and steadily crept up, up, up to an all-new high. I brown-bag it during the work-week and prepare really good lunches: usually delicious salads, sometimes brown rice and steamed or lightly sauteed veggies and fruits and cut up veggies for snacks.  But still... even though I know better, when I'm at work I find myself munching on a couple of handfuls of pretzels, some chocolates, peanuts, etc. later in the afternoon.  Then, I go home and cook a large dinner.  It's just the two of us, but I like to prepare extra so BF can take leftovers to work.  But I would find myself eating 2 portions (and sometimes 3 if it tasted really good - OINK)!  So I would have that tally going in my head, but perhaps had a bit of selective memory going on and not really accounting for everything. 

My friend, Brenda told me about an i-Phone APP called "My Fitness Pal" and I've been using it for a week now - it's been a real eye-opener.  They also have a website.  It's a free APP and once you've installed it, you fill in your current weight, your goal weight, height, gender, age and activity level.  The program figures how many calories you should consume for your age/height/weight.  Throughout the day, you enter what you've consumed.  There is a barcode feature, so you can press the barcode button and point to the product's barcode and it enters that product for you (you can adjust the number of servings if you need to).  If you eat a restaurant meal, you will need to manually enter the food - while not as convenient and accurate as the barcode feature, it's still great.  You type in the food and it searches for you and fills it in.  It's amazing how quickly the calories add up.  The program keeps a running tally of calories, so you know how much you've had and how much you can still consume for the remainder of the day.

There's also an area to fill in each day's cardiovascular activity - I like to walk, so I enter in how many minutes and at what pace I've walked and it will calculate how many calories I've burned.  And you can keep track of how much water you've had each day too.

It's a great way to account for the amount of calories consumed each day.  Looking back, I would say I was easily consuming 2-3 times the amount of calories I should have been.  Hence, the weight gain.  Duh. 

Check it out!  www.myfitnesspal.com

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