Food Diary Gong Show

gongsh2Well, friends, I’m going to keep the MyFitnessPal weight loss counter on the site because LoseIt doesn’t offer one; however, I just don’t like the site for logging food and exercise.  I am going back to LoseIt for my daily logging.

My chief complaint with MyFitnessPal is this nutritional information anarchy that seems to be going on. When a user submits a new food for the LoseIt food database, the proposed item doesn’t immediately go in.  Apparently, someone is checking it.  Conversely, on the MyFitnessPal site, anyone can insert anything in the database.  Other users then give it a thumbs up or down for accuracy.  Ummmmm.

See, here’s the thing: I could insert information for a hot fudge cake and give it a total calorie count of 100 per 3 pound serving.  I could then get 20 friends to go in and give that posting a giant thumbs up.  So, I’ve entered information that, while wildly popular, is totally delusional.

I am way too OCD (or CDO) for that.  I need information whose accuracy I can reasonably trust.  For my tastes, MyFitnessPal loses me.

{{{{GONNNNNNGGGGGGGG}}}}

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A Calculated Walk in the Park

My exercise yesterday was shopping.  I know.  That doesn’t count.  Actually, it does.  I walked around the store for over 90 minutes.  For 90 minutes I was walking, not sitting,  While it wasn’t strenuous exercise for me, it would have counted had I been at the part; so, it counts when I was in Target.

Now, my walk in the park with the pups on Monday was considerably more strenuous.  We walked 2 miles at 3.7 mph.  Now, you know that math is not my best subject; so, how do I know that’s how fast we walked?  I have an app on my phone called Cardio Trainer.  The free version tracks how far and how fast I go using my phone’s GPS.  It gives me updates along the walk or run to let me know how far I’ve gone.  Using the weight I’ve input, it also tells me how many calories I burned and it equates those calories to something I can relate to.  The walk on Monday burned two pears’ worth of calories!

614501_10151061091178197_789753595_oIt allows me to input all my workouts manually to track everything I do.  It will also keep track of all my walks over time; so, in a month or so, it will tell me how far I’ve walked in total and how that relates to my region.  By the end of summer, I will have walked to Chattanooga and back, two or more miles at a time, without ever leaving home!

Cardio Trainer has an associated food diary app called Noom.  I downloaded that free version last night and will let you know how that goes.

As I told you earlier, I used LoseIt to lose weight before and I’ve been using MyFitnessPal this time.  The more I use MyFitnessPal, the less impressed I am, actually.  The food diary seems really random and disorganized.  That’s such a shame!  I had such high hopes for it.

I know there are tons of these programs out there.  What are you all using and what do you think of it?

Monday Morning Blues

Treble clef bike stand in NashvilleSo, I weighed in this morning expecting at least a pound lost and….no. Nada. Nothing. C’mon!  As long as I’ve been doing this and as many real causes as my mind can give, this still frustrates me, particularly at 5 AM.

I’ve run into this several times during this last couple of years.  Here are some possible culprits:

  1. The fact that I’m a woman in child-bearing years.  Girls, you know what I’m talking about.  Did you know that we can retain as much as nearly five pounds of water? I feel like a camel.
  2. Too much wheat.  My first week at my new job saw me eating about 10 meals of Cheerios and a couple of meals that involved mini bagels.  While my calorie counts were okay, too many of those calories were supplied by wheat.  I don’t know if all the studies are valid; so, I don’t know that wheat causes weight gain.  I just know that, for me, too much wheat makes me feel bloated.
  3. Too much fruit. When I first switched my food choices and when I’ve had to pull myself back onto the wagon, I found that eating a lot of fruit during those first weeks was really helpful with cravings.  I had quite a bit of refined sugar in my diet, which just wreaks havoc with my blood sugar.  To help me stay with healthful food choices, I replaced the refined sugars with fruit, then decreased the amount of fruit to cut overall sugar consumption.  It’s time for me to cut my fruit consumption down to two servings a day.  I’ve seen diet plans that recommend that you not eat apples.  Apples are actually VERY helpful for me.  They are sweet, colorful, crunchy, and full of both fiber and flavor; so, they satisfy my appetite in several ways.  You just have to try it for yourself and see how your body does with them.
  4. No enough exercise.  I have pretty much been wiped out when I get home at night and have not been getting any movement in.  That simply won’t do. For my weight, for my heart, for my muscles, for my bones – I must exercise.

So, what are my solutions and goals for this week?

  1. Nothing much I can do about that whole girl thing but wait it out and drink a lot of water to keep my system flushing.
  2. I have to reduce my wheat intake. This week, I will have no more than two servings of wheat.  I will satisfy my grain requirements with oats, brown rice and quinoa.
  3. I will have no more than two fruit servings per day.
  4. I will get in at least four hours of exercise this week that will include at least five days.

If we are connected on MyFitnessPal, you can hold me accountable for my exercise – and I EXPECT YOU TO! If you don’t see me moving during the week, send me a little nudge.  If we are not connected on MyFitnessPal, why aren’t we? Connect with me and let me know your goals and how you’re doing. Let’s help each other.

The keys to breaking through this stall are:

  1. modify my behavior.  To get different results, I must do different things.
  2. (and this is most important) DO NOT ALLOW OLD, NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERNS TO DEFEAT ME.  

I have been my own worst enemy.  It is long past time I became my own best friend and defender.

Accountability To Myself

Food diary

Food diary

I Ate What?

Like I said, I had no clue what I was eating.  I was astounded to find out and I found our using a very simple tool – a food diary.

The one I used was LoseIt!.

You can find it at LoseIt.com and they have a great app for your smart phone.  You can log your food and your exercise either online or on your phone; so, there’s no excuse not to get things input.  I used their free version which has a few deficits.  I don’t know what the features are for their paid version are.

Their food database is extensive with lots of restaurant foods included.  I can scan bar codes for a super fast input and can add my own foods and recipes.  Since I make my own spaghetti gravy, I have to calculate each ingredient individually, then figure out the nutrients per serving.  As long as I make it the same way every time (fat chance), I have to do that only once.

Their exercise database is also pretty extensive and it allows me to add my own, as well.  However, the exercise duration times are only in blocks of five minutes.  If you’re maintaining your weight or if you are exercising for a couple of hours a day (yikes), fudging a minute or two is no big deal in the larger scheme of things.  BUT, when I first started, I could run only a couple of minutes.  I could manage only ten or so sit-ups and, by golly, I wanted every drop of sweat to count.  This app (at least the free version) didn’t let me account for that.

The one I’m going to use this time is MyFitnessPal.

I’ve played with their free version a little bit, but I’m still not totally familiar with it.  Like LoseIt, I can log my information either online or on my phone.

Their food database is also extensive and includes lots of restaurant foods.  The one issue I’ve encountered is that there are sometimes duplicate entries for the same item.  The duplicate entries may list different nutritional value for the same item.  I normally choose the entry with the highest caloric value.  Even if my calorie count then ends up artificially high for that day making it look like I ate at least my minimum calories when I didn’t, that error won’t happen every day; so, it’s not like my long-term progress is going to get knocked off track.  While LoseIt also tracks carb, protein and fat calories consumed, it doesn’t tell me which categories I’m light and heavy on.  MyFitnessPal does and I like that.  I like being able to look at my daily summary and see that I need to concentrate on vegetables at my next meal.  This app also allows me to add my own recipes so that next time I cook up a big old batch of Peel-a-Pound soup, it’s already in the database.

Their exercise database is also extensive and lets me add my own.  The real plus here is that I can count every. single. minute. of exercise.  I don’t have to do five minutes of sit-ups, two minutes will count.  They won’t count for much, but they will count.  As my friend Trish says, “Ounces make pounds.”  Calories ingested or burned account for ounces on or off.  Each one counts.

Both of these programs allow me to share my exercise and my weight loss (or gain) via Facebook and Twitter.  I really like that.  My friends and family have been an invaluable cheering section throughout my process.  It’s like a group weight loss program stacked with a group of people who already love me.  It’s great!!!  (By the way, neither site posts your actual weight.  I was a little worried about thaton account of I was a big girl.)

I would like to be able to change the caloric value for restaurant foods, but neither application allows me to do that.  For instance, if I order a Cobb salad at Chili’s, but I ask them to hold the cheese, croutons and dressing, my salad is going to have fewer calories than the one listed in the database.  To get an accurate count, I would need to measure the remaining ingredients and build a recipe, which is just not going to happen sitting there in the dining area.  It would be nice if the salad in the database had check boxes underneath for all ingredients.  You could check the ones you didn’t eat and the calorie count would adjust accordingly.  I’m sure that’s an absurd amount of programing work or maybe their paid versions already let you do that.  Hey! If you know, tell me!

Also, if you use, have used or know of another food diary (besides a note pad and pen, please) share it with us!

The big thing with these applications is that they are effective only as long as you use them and are honest with yourself.  If you ate two cups of Cheerios rather than the 3/4 cup serving listed, then count that.  That fish stick you ate to clean off your child’s plate must show up in your diary.  Lying to ourselves and/or being oblivious about what we eat is one of the reasons we can’t zip our pants now!

Together, let’s be honest with and accountable to ourselves in all things.  Nobody else has to know ; however, we are worth that attention! Let’s make sure we get it.