Track your food and exercise. Keeping a food log is one of the best ways to manage your diet and nutrition, but who wants to go around carrying a notebook and writing down everything they eat all the time? If you’re like me, you get a booklet and end up writing down your breakfast, lunch, and by the time you get to dinner, that little notebook is piled under a stack of mail.
For the past 6 months, I’ve started using www.livestrong.com to track my food and exercise. It’s great for anyone–it’s not just for those looking to lose weight. The site has you take “dares” such as “Dare to do a triathlon” or “Dare to stretch daily.” You can search through thousands of foods, or you can create “meals,” such as Oatmeal with brown sugar and skim milk, so you don’t have to enter in those three foods everyday. It also allows you to upload your own recipes so you can finally figure out how many calories are in Grandmas Secret Spaghetti Sauce.
Tracking food helps you become more conscious of how much you’re actually eating, not just how much you think you ate at the end of the day. Many of us are grazers, a few bites here, a cracker or a cookie there, and those calories can add up to several pounds over time. In the beginning it may be tedious to measure or weigh your food, but once you’ve done it a few times, you can usually eyeball your portions.
I’m not always perfect with it–there’s times when I don’t enter in my dinner, or I enter in the whole week and stop for the weekend, but it definitely gives me a good idea of whether having mexican for dinner will push me overboard or if I can afford having a beer on the weekend. Give it a solid try and let it help you reach your next goal.
Author: Christine Odagiri, Membership Advisor, The Ridge Athletic Clubs