Originally posted in January 2011. This was my first attempt at keeping a food diary, learning portion sizes, and tracking my body stats.
In June, under my “What Happened to May?” post, I mentioned weight and wrote the following:
“Runningplanet.com says that every extra pound of non-productive body weight (body fat) decreases your running performance by around 1%.I will be setting a goal for an optimum weight/fat % for running. Some experimenting may need to take place….”
As today is 1/1/11 I thought it should be the day I started using an iPhone app to help me count calories. This is more out of curiosity than a need to loose weight. I looked at several iPhone apps and eventually settled on a free app by Myfitnesspal that allows me enter meals and exercise information online or on my phone and it automatically syncs. I have no idea if this app will end up being as helpful and easy to use as it promises but it’s free so I thought I might as well start here.
During registration for the free online account I was able to enter a weight loss goal (i.e. 1 pound per week) and it reminded me about the idea of optimum running weight. So I did some research discovered that my Body Mass Index (BMI) is 21 which falls within the “healthy” range of 18.5-25. This means that I could potentially shed 15 pounds and remain within the healthy range. Theoretically I could increase my running performance by around 15%? That sounds pleasant.
So I entered 15 pounds as my weight loss goal. Myfitnesspal then calculated what my daily calorie intake should be if I wish to achieve my goal. As I enter what I eat each day, it tells me if I’m over or under my target calorie intake and also breaks down the desired Carb/Fat/Protein percentages so I can see how balanced or unbalanced my meal is.
I can also enter any exercise that I do (FYI – even moving household furniture is an option in their list) and it will estimate how many calories I burned. It automatically adds those burned calories to the amount I’m allowed to eat that day. Yay!
I entered what I ate today and discovered that there’s a little problem when it comes to condiments or garnishes. For example, I had half a bagel with cream cheese and jam. How do I measure the cream cheese and jam?! The options I have for these types of foods are usually ounces or grams of a given item. I decided to just estimate.
After entered my “food diary” for the day, I mentioned to my husband that it was too bad we didn’t have a food scale. He goes to our kitchen and gets a brand new one, still in the box with the gift receipt, that had been sitting on top of our refrigerator since my bridal shower. THANK YOU DOLLY! I didn’t realize we still had that most amazing gift that I obviously did not fully appreciate then but am very thankful for now.
I don’t plan on weighing every little thing I eat but if I do weigh some items now and then, like slices of cheese, I’ll start to get a better feel for how much I’m eating and my estimates will become more accurate.
This is the experimenting that is now taking place in the quest to determine what my optimum productive running weight is. I’ll learn the “ins and outs” of calories, as I train I should be losing a modest 1 pound per week and I can monitor the change in my body and performance as I go. I’ve always been curious about calorie intake but haven’t wanted to do the necessary math and research. The app takes care of that.
I’m excited to see what I learn and how I progress. This isn’t a new year’s resolution for me but it’s rather convenient to be starting a new experiment at the beginning of a new year.