I mentioned a week or so ago that I’m now working on eating better and exercising regularly so I thought I’d post an update. My goals for this week were to track my eating and exercise and to do cardio on a regular basis. I am happy to say that I have been successful on both counts.
I want to share something that has helped tremendously with keeping track of my both nutrition and fitness. It’s a website called SparkPeople and it’s excellent. On Sparkpeople, I can enter the food that I eat every day and see what my calorie intake is. Their database is quite large, so I’ve only had trouble with homemade foods. But, I found a generic “tomato bisque” that I use for my homemade tomato soup. For green bean casserole, I entered the green beans and cream of mushroom soup separately. It’s not perfect, but it is quite helpful.
Sparkpeople also allows me to track my exercise – both cardio and weight training. The cardio is really easy to do – I just find my exercise (usually treadmill) and enter it with the amount of time. Their weight-training section shows all kinds of different exercises using machines as bell as dumbells or exercise balls. You can use it to plan a workout as well as record your workout, if you like.
There are all kinds of other helpful things on SparkPeople. There are articles about nutrition, fitness, and motivation. They have something called Spark Points to allow you to track your goals instead of just how much weight you lose. The one really big problem I have with their site is that the main color is orange. Yes, it’s petty, but I really don’t like the color orange. I’m sure they used it because it’s supposed to be happy and all that stuff, but I just don’t like it! Anyway, SparkPeople did not ask me to review their site, but I love it so much I figured I’d mention it here. I did check out the tracking part of LiveStrong, but didn’t like it as much, and I’m sure there are other, similar sites out there that are similar.
I have noticed a couple issues with tracking my food and exercise. First of all, even just recording this stuff for myself (although I do share it with my counselor) makes me far more likely to make good choices. This is particularly true for exercise. Second, it’s sometimes hard to be honest. When I was working, I heard about a study that showed that overweight people usually underestimate how much they eat. Being completely honest about how much I eat or exercise isn’t always easy. Third, this week, my calorie count has been within my goal range (1200-1800) with tracking being the main change that I’ve made. I’m eating less and better, but not hugely. This tells me that my calorie count prior to tracking was probably not super-high and that I really need to work on increasing my metabolic rate (with strength training and regular exercise).
So, for this week, I have two more goals – one for eating and one for exercise. My eating goal is to come up with several breakfast and lunch meals of 300-400 calories each and several snacks of 200-300 calories each so that I don’t have to think about what I am going to eat, and I can make sure that the food I need is in the house. (I’m going to review Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs for Multnomah/Waterbrook Press. That’s the book where I got the recommendation to eat 3 meals of 300-400 calories with two snacks of 200-300 calories each day. Stay tuned for the review!) My exercise goal is to get back to my weight training program now that I’m over my cold. I started today by working out at the health club this afternoon. I’ll do my home program one day this week. It will be a challenge to do another day at the health club this week, though, because the high temps are going to be around zero for most of the week. In any case, I’ll do my workout at home if nothing else. Ga’hoole Girl and I did some exercise to an Irish Dance DVD this afternoon. She wants for the two of us to do the warm-up together every day. Sounds like fun!
Well, I’m sure that was more than you wanted to know. But, it’s good for me to write it all down. I see my counselor on Thursday so she and I will review how things are going.
Addendum: I lost 1 pound this week. Not that I’m worrying about it or anything.