Saturday, May 16, 2009

Easy, Online Food Journal Can Help You Manage Your Nutrition

Recently, I went to the doctor and my blood work proved that I'm in optimal health. Don't be a procrastinator like I was and not go to the doctor because even healthy people should go for a check-up (see my recent post). But, there is one thing that I want to improve - reducing my body fat percentage. To help me, I got back to maintaining my daily food journal.

When you keep a food journal, you write down what you eat and drink for the day. And just that act alone helps you control your portions. Using a paper-based food journal can be tedious, especially when you're figuring out the nutritional values manually.

I prefer an online food journal tool so you can manage your nutrition anywhere! I use a FREE site, The Daily Plate, that is so well used that almost anything you can think of eating is already in their database. Last Aug through Dec, I used the Daily Plate to help me trim down and it worked. Then I lost interest and stopped using it. And guess what happened? Yep, now my clothes are tighter., I'm back on the wagon! I'm sure it's because my portion sizes slowly increased because I wasn't eating the ideal proportions of protein/carbs/fat.

An online tool, like Daily Plate helps people manage nutrition but doesn't emphasize the dangerous food pysho-language that goes with "Diets," which are can really do damage on your thinking and self esteem. Diets, by definition are temporary, which means you can't sustain them. That's why so many are following the trend for overall healthy lifestyle. The difference is following a philosphy of good health practices - exercise, nutrition, hydration, sleep, and then tweaking to find your balance.

Here are some reasons that I like The Daily Plate to manage my food journal and nutrition.
  • No guesswork! They calculate the numbers for you - Enter in your current weight, your future goal, physical activity category, and speed you want to lose/gain weight and the tool calculates how many calories you should take in for the day. When you do an activity, you log that in and those calories are added back like a financial balance sheet.
  • Save your food and activity favorites to log them quickly - I save my "lunch spin class" and my frequently eaten foods are automatically saved on the first page for easy logging.
  • Nutrition breakdown decoded - I try to eat based on my protein metabolic type, which is 45% protein, 35% carbohydrates, and 20% fats, but realistically, it would be impossible to do without the pie chart graph on this site. Check out the book How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy for metabolic typing information. Each time you enter a food or drink, it shows the nutritional breakdown, showing you the contribution to the whole day.
  • Mindless nutritional calculation - it's highly likely the food you ate is already in the database because there are tons of users entering in the nutritional information. You enter in the servings you had and it calculates the nutritional totals for the day. When your weight changes and you're moving towards your goal, the calorie count automatically adjusts for you!
  • Reminds you to stay hydrated - a water tracker helps you remember to drink water throughout the day.

What are your food journal tips? Please share them.

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