Category Archives: Nutrition

Dear Diary


I have a confession to make.  Not an “I have a crush on the cute guy in my French class” kind of confession, it’s not that kind of diary.

I’m talking about a food diary, diet log, nutrition tracker, whatever you want to call it … A chronicle of the tasty morsels that pass my lips on a daily basis.  And my confession is that I have been ignoring my food diary for a little while.  Ok, 6 weeks, so a LONG while.

I used to be of the mindset that keeping such careful track of my nutrition was not necessary, and that just having a generally healthful approach would be fine.  But truthfully, I felt like it was a hassle.  And part of me just didn’t really want to know the truth!  Denial … it ain’t just a river in Egypt.

But when it came time to really get serious about my health, fitness, and nutrition, I knew I needed something that would make me accountable.  It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t doing a good job being balanced or healthful with my eating, because as I started running, my pants were getting tighter instead of looser.  (That will be another blog post, a time in my life I refer to as “running chubby.”)

I really needed to analyze what I was consuming.  Calorie counting was one priority.  I had to analyze how much I was taking in vs. how much I was using during my workouts, because weight loss at its simplest is burning more calories than you consume.  And it can be pretty eye-opening to see just how many calories one fast food lunch can wipe out of your allotment for the day, or extra motivating to see how many calories a long cardio workout can burn.

Beyond that, however, I wanted to get a total impression of my nutrition.  Not just how MANY calories, but what KIND of calories.  The proportion of carbohydrates/protein/fat.  How much fiber I was getting.  Whether I was consuming too much sodium or sugar. 

Sound complicated?  I thought so.  But I just had to search for the right tool.  I tried several different apps and websites, and most of them still seemed too clunky and time-consuming … until a friend recommended MyFitnessPal.  I can use my phone or my PC to track food and exercise.  They have a huge database of foods with nutrition information already entered, so a quick search is all you need.  And the iPhone app even has a barcode scanner now, just scan the code and the nutrition info pops up … so easy!

So I used it for a few months and had great success.  It made me so much more aware of which foods were empty calories, and which foods I could eat more of without killing my allotment for day.   (Translation:  More fruits and veggies!)  And if I was hungry as the day went on, I could take a look at what I’d already eaten and then fill in the gaps with the right kind of calories.  I was also a lot less likely to grab a burger, handful of chips, or a candy bar knowing that I’d have to enter it in and stare at in black and white.

It worked, and I dropped over 15 pounds and had to buy all new pants!  And then … I got out of the habit.  A day or two at first, then a week, and suddenly a month went by with no entries.  And I was ok at first, because I was following a generally healthful pattern.  But over time it was too easy to grab a lunch on the road here, another bowl of pretzels in the evening there, and suddenly I wasn’t feeling so hot.

So starting today, I’m back on the bandwagon.  My goal is keep my diary for at least 5 days each week.  And to hold myself accountable, I’m inviting all of you to follow along.  How’s that for motivation?

Check out my profile (FlyGirl22) on MyFitnessPal: