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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fitness Friday-Calorie Counting

This week I want to talk about how to keep off the weight once you have lost it. There are several opinions about the idea of counting calories....if something works for you, do it. If it doesn't, find what does.

I did a lot of reading and research into how many calories I should be eating a day to maintain my current weight. For me its 1400 on cardio and any day I don't exercise. On days I lift weights I normally need 1600 as I am ravenous all day long.

I personally have found the MyFitnessPal App to be the best, easiest, cheapest (free) way to do this. You can even enter your own concoctions and it will tell you about how many calories are in each serving. Granted, this app doesn't include EVERYTHING but there is enough in the database to help guide you towards an educated decision on what goes in your mouth.

 Image result for myfitnesspal

Once I began to track my calories I was amazed at how many times I was eating double or triple the amount of a recommended serving size. A serving is not whatever will fit in a cereal bowl..its actually one cup or 4 oz or 32 pieces, etc. I was also amazed at how many things are served as individual snacks but are actually two servings.....lots of beverages, trail mixes and desserts are packaged this way.

The best thing about My Fitness Pal is that I always have it with me and it keeps up with your most popular foods so that you aren't always entering something new. It caught on real quick to my love of rice cakes, egg whites, laughing cow cheese and spinach and now it will group it together, if I choose, so my time isn't wasted.
This is a stock screen shot, not my personal diary!

This app also has several fast food chains, restaurants and pre-packaged meals in its database. If I know I am going out for dinner I will get on the app, find the restaurant or one comparable (i.e. Mexican) and find out how many calories I will need to save for dinner before I ever consume breakfast. This helps me enjoy my time out with friends without punching in calories or worrying about over eating.

This app also holds me accountable. I hardly ever let myself change what I put in. Most days I will put in my whole days worth of calories right before breakfast. This lets me know what kinds of snacks I can add in between meals and gives me a plan. If I have a plan I am less likely to order something based off of a quick, uneducated guess or after seeing what everyone else is ordering. It also keeps me from snacking on the many goodies that pile into our teachers lounge.

Another stock shot.
MyFitnessPal also estimates how many calories, based on height,weight,time and intensity, you burn during exercise. At the end of each day you hit complete and it will tell you an estimated weight you could hit if you were to eat and exercise like this day every day for 5 weeks.

 On the flip side I have read several articles where nutritionist argue that this could cause someone to become OCD about their food and not learn the value of eating whole foods. You could also argue that people aren't seeing the food behind the calories and therefore could eat 1400 calories worth of crap all day long and think that they are being healthy.

I have also heard of a blended theory where people won't track any fruits or veggies as they consider them "free". They only track their proteins, carbs and beverages....so like I said before. If it works for you, do it...if not, find something that does.


What you have found that works for you?

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