Part 3: It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change.

Turning 30 in August 2009

In the day and age of nutrition labels, ingredient lists and tracking software accessible from anywhere on the internet (or even by smart phone) there is no excuse not to know what I am eating.  I was instructed to keep a food diary.  I would be tracking everything that goes into my mouth.

I am an analyst by trade, which of course means I have a tendency to want as much data as humanly possible. I wanted stats, charts, and graphs plus the ability to forecast out and even test recipes.  I also wanted to track more than just calories, but sugars, fiber, sodium, protein, carbs and the like.

I looked around for a bit and upon recommendation decided to try Livestrong’s Daily Plate website as well as the app for my Droid X.  To date, I have tracked continuously for 122 days through the site and have been very pleased with the experience overall.

The idea of tracking is very simple:  look up what you are eating, record the quantity and meal period in which it was eaten.  The site calculates calorie and nutritional measurements for you.  It also compares it to the specific goals one has assigned.  I always know how many calories I have left to consume on any given day.  For a fat chick who loves to eat, THIS is important. 

It is true that you can eat just about anything within your calorie goal and still lose weight, but there is a difference between losing weight and gaining overall health and fitness.  Tracking what I consumed had a benefit other than simply losing pounds.  It has helped me evaluate what I am eating and make better decisions as a result, but we will discuss that next time.

Next up on the agenda…Whole foods (the food, not the store), getting the most bang for my calorie buck, and the contemplation of vegetarianism.

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