Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Right Tools

When I talked to my doctor about my weight, I asked her "What do you suggest for weight loss?" I realized this was a question I had never asked a doctor. What my doctor said was no surprise, "Eat a healthy diet and exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week." The same old thing we've been hearing all along right?

Then she kept going! She suggested I keep a food journal, utilize calorie counters, support programs, and try and get more exercise in everyday life if I can't afford a gym membership. She also pointed me in the direction of the MyPyramid which is the governments website on "Steps towards a healthier you."

So, here I was, for years throwing my hands up in the air, thinking I don't know how to lose weight. Well guess what? There's tools for that. The right tools for the right job. A carpenter needs a hammer, and I need a calorie counter! I checked out several different websites googling the phrase calorie counter and found that there's several to choose from.

My favorite is My Calorie Counter by Everyday Health, it has so many different features, tools, and calculators for tracking all kinds of things, not just your calories! My Calorie Counters' food journal lets you start off by entering your weight and height, from there you can set your target weight goal, and the date you'd like to complete it in. You can track these and your measurements in a nice graph as you go along.

Inputting your caloric intake for the day is very easy. Select which meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack etc.) and click the add food button. You'll be prompted to search foods, select recently added foods, search favorites, or create you own custom foods where you can enter the data from the nutritional facts yourself.

The food journal tallies all calories you enter into a field in the bottom of the page, and tells you when you are over or under in calories, fat, carbs, sodium, cholesterol and more. It will also deduct any calories burned for the day that you enter in to the exercise log at the bottom of the page.

LinkMy Calorie Counter offers many more features than the food journal. In addition to their community peer support system, they also offer you a place to blog about your progress, share photos or comments with others if you choose. They also offer calorie management tips, recipes, a meal planner, shopping list generator, BMR and BMI calculators and even a glucose trackers for those who are diabetic.

Now I will admit that I don't use my calorie tracker daily. I set my daily limits to 1500-1800 calories a day and started entering foods for the first week with out making any changes to my diet. This was a very BIG eye opener, and honestly this was game changer for me. I learned a lot about what and how much I eat. Now I keep these guidelines I set for myself in mind when I read labels. I keep a mental tally of how many calories I eat. Once a week though I will generally log in, track my calories for the day and see how I'm doing.

Another great website I found was Calorie King, they offer a vast database of nutritional information on tons of different foods. I have bookmarked their website so I can easily look up foods easily.Link
Well I hope these tools can help someone else out there. Counting calories is not fun and can be a little time consuming, but I guarantee it will provide you with important information about your diet.

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