Anyone who eats is on a diet.
1. the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
When I got married six days shy of my 22nd birthday, I weighed 98 pounds. Don’t hate! I’m only 5’3″ tall with small bones. I had to put on weight to get pregnant. I started doing aerobic workouts and stopped skipping breakfast. Once I hit 109 pounds, I conceived. Carrying twins and developing preeclampsia added nearly 60 pounds (25 of which was water retained in the last 5 weeks). Being young and fairly fit helped shed that weight pretty fast. My new normal became about 113 after that. In my 30s, after having two more babies, my new normal was about 120. As I reached my 40s and began another desk job, normal no longer existed. As I passed 120, I thought it was just an aging and changing hormone thing.
When 123 hit, I was no longer comfortable in several pants in my closet. That started to bother me more; not because I hated the way I looked, but because a new wardrobe wasn’t in the budget. I paid more attention to my eating habits then, and my weight went back and forth for a while.
What I haven’t paid attention to is my activity level. I know I need to exercise, but I’m just not motivated. Thinking about it exhausts me. Thinking about scheduling a time to exercise stresses me out. When I hit 128, I freaked a bit. Only the stretchy pants fit at that point. I think my highest weight during my singleton pregnancies was around 135 so the thought of being so close to 130 hit me kind of hard.
Again, don’t hate! I hear some of your minds saying, “I WISH I only weighed 128!” The average weight for a 5’3″ small-framed woman is 108-115. So yes, I could stand to lose about 10 pounds. I know that I feel better when I weigh closer to 115. I also know that I feel better when I eat better foods – foods lower in fat, sugar, and bad carbohydrates.
Several years ago, I started using a food & activity tracker that also had a smartphone app. It was fatsecret.com. It made it easy to see where my calories and nutrients were coming from and to control my portions. What a terrible name for an app, though. Right??
Cut to this year…
I found a new app: myfitnesspal.com. Much nicer name! However, the nutrients it tracks is minimal. Here’s an example:
Myfitnesspal does sync with a popular fitness tracking app, which is great. If you’re looking for something more than basic calorie counting and weight tracking, this may not be the way to go. Although, it does have a very wide range of foods in its database, including restaurant foods. I haven’t been disappointed there!
Interested more in tracking full nutrition, I started searching for something else. The USDA now has something called SuperTracker that has the detail I’m looking for, but its database is still minimal and there’s no corresponding smartphone app. Here’s an example:
What I finally decided to go with is FitDay.com. Unfortunately, it seems to have been created by Mac users because it only has a smartphone app for iPhones. However, it has a large database and tracks the nutrients I want to track. Here’s an example:
I wish it would also inlcude fat, carbs, and protein on this report. Instead, there’s a separate report for those things:
It does not break down “good” and “bad” fats, though. For that information, you have to go to your daily food log and click the individual entries. For instance, 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese:
I still like MyFitnessPal because of the smartphone app, but FitDay will satisfy my curiosity and help me gravitate towards a diet containing more of the nutrients my body needs. These are all useful tools, but I don’t consider any to be the holy grail.
My main goal is to feel good and have more energy without relying on caffeine and multi-vitamin supplements. Supplements are OK, but a good portion of each pill is passed right through your body without being fully absorbed. Nutrients are better absorbed straight from food. Comfortably buttoning pants I haven’t worn in some time will just be an added bonus!