Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How to Track Food & Fitness

I started food journaling in 2007.  While I wasn't super overweight, I wasn't as healthy as I could have been.  I had a tendency to put crap in my mouth all day without really thinking about what I was ingesting.  Was I scarfing down Big Mac's? No.  But did I need to eat 3 servings worth of Wheat Thins and cheese?  Probably not.

My father was kind enough to give me my height and metabolism. Both of which allowed me to gain some lbs and not look insanely fat. I just became "thicker". I was active, loved to work out, but still wasn't feeling as good as I wanted. I knew I needed to really take a closer look at what I was putting in my body.

As 2007 was nearly ten years ago, The  Almighty Smartphone had yet to be in the hands of every person on Earth. Back then, I carried around a small notebook and a little book called, Calorie King. I remember spotting one when visiting my Geena's house one day and in her true nature when I asked her about it she told me, "Just take it"... One of the many things I love about her.

Needless to say, when my ignorance bubble was shattered with facts on how many calories were in my favorite meals...I. Died.
My old non-tech friend
For years I toted around that little book, a small journal and mechanical pencil.  Along with my new and bigger purse, I was able to get out of my food fog and realized that in this case, ignorance is not bliss, rather excess weight gathering on my thighs.  I was able to scale it back, give my body what it needed and cut out excess calories that were nothing more than bored and mindless snacking.  I soon adopted a new motto, "Knowledge is power"... and in this case, 500-1,000 calories a day less!

Then there was the technological birth of the smart phone and app-a-palooza.  That food journal I had so depended on, calorie book and mechanical pencil were now all at my finger tips through my iPhone and of course, my new best friend... My Fitness Pal.

I created an account, entered my goal weight, and let it calculate what my daily calorie intake should be.  Furthermore, it stored all my regular foods, recalculated calories after workouts, monitored my water intake and best yet... broke down all my foods to provide data on where I am lacking (protein) and where I need to cut back (sugars). I mean, get outta here! She even syncs with my Fitbit which is even more amazing!

So, how do you start tracking food and fitness? Well, first get downloading. While I am a Fitness Pal Gal, I know a few family members that have fallen in love with Lose It.  No matter what you chose, just get it on your phone. I won't pretend that remembering to log everything you eat is easy, it isn't. Especially at first. But, once you get in the habit you will be off to the track..ing...!

The whole point is making sure that when you eat or drink something, enter it. Start slowly and leave yourself whatever reminders you need to to get the job done. A post-it here? A reminder on your phone there? Do whatever it takes.

While entering food takes some time, entering exercise should be the best part of your day. I love nothing more than watching those food calories take a huge hit by my workouts. This will also be a great way to decide if eating crap is really worth it. If you have to run 27 miles to eat an entire pint of ice cream...do you still want it?

If you are in search of answers to why you aren't losing weight, why you are eating all the time, or just want to see where your calories are going... download an app... today. You can link with friends, create groups to motivate each other and be amazed at what you learn about your eating habits.  Try it out!

Do you have a favorite tracking app?

{p.s. this is not a sponsored post, we just love sharing our favorite things!}

Strive to Thrive, 

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