So even though we all hope life will slow back down after the holidays, it never really seems to. I find myself in the midst of moving into a new apartment, which in itself is very exciting, but also a stress at the same time. Since “busy” is my way of life, I have realized healthy habits are important to successfully maintaining my weight. Something that I like to do, for at least 1 week per month, is track my food and exercise. I use an app/website called myfitnesspal. I love it because it automatically calculates the calories and other nutrients in what you are eating to portray how much you are eating. While it is a great weight loss tool, it is also a great for weight maintenance. If you aren’t tech savvy, a written journal is another option as it helps create awareness to your lifestyle. Here are some important points to remember when tracking food and activity:
– Track everything that you eat! That cookie from the breakroom or that after work snack from the kitchen pantry are included! Every calorie counts! Remember that we tend to underestimate our intake and portion sizes by 75% so don’t leave anything out intentionally.
– Record it once you eat it. This means get into the habit of recording your food intake immediately after the meal and not waiting till mid afternoon or dinner time to try and remember everything you already ate that day. Recording food intake immediately raises awareness, maybe you didn’t realize you had dessert about three times a day or that you have become a grazer.
– Once you are in the habit of recording, something needs to be done with the information you are gathering. Make changes to your diet and activity based off of weight changes and any other alarming patterns that may appear. The first step is to monitor yourself, then make changes for your health.
When it comes to weight loss, research studies have shown that those who keep food records are more successful than their counterparts that did not. Keeping a food diary or journal has also been picked out as a key point for weight maintenance by the National Weight Control Registry. People who are part of this registry have lost more than 30lbs and have kept it off for a year or more. Information gathered has been helpful for spotlighting tools for weight loss and weight maintenance. To read more about this research click here: http://nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm
So I hope you are all with me and get started tracking your intake and exercise in some way this week. If you decide to use myfitnesspal, please become my friend (my username is wissemcm). Let me know if you discover something about your habits or find areas for improvements! Happy tracking!