Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three Important Tips for Monitoring Intake

There was a time in my life when I weighed myself every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I don't know why exactly; It was just a habit. But at times I did feel like a slave to the scale. If I saw one, I had to step on it. After my first pregnancy that all stopped. I just quit weighing myself. I fell out of the habit partially due to the fact that weighing myself brought on unreal expectations for that pregnancy/post-partem phase.

Well, that was fifteen years ago. I am a little older now, have had four pregnancies since and have gained and lost a combined total of about (because I don't really weigh myself, this number is an estimate based on the doctor's scale)110 pounds throughout the course of all of those pregnancies. I have learned not to judge myself by a number but rather by the way I feel.

Lately, I've been feeling uncomfortable. I've been feeling, for lack of a better word, fluffy. Soft, I guess. Whenever I feel this way I know it's time to check in with myself--not with my weight, but with my eating habits. I know I've got the exercise thing down. I NEVER skip a workout, keep the workouts varied, and make sure I do at least some strength training. What I don't do is monitor my food intake. Sometimes monitoring food intake can lead to obsessive or compulsive behavior, and believe me, I want nothing to do with any of that. But there are times when we all need to check in with ourselves. How is my nutrition? What am I missing? What am I getting too much of? To do this, I enlist three tools: food labels, measuring cups, a food diary.

1. Food Labels. Do you ever read these things? I'm sure you do. Food labels are an important tool for monitoring your nutrition. Knowing what a serving size is is just as important as knowing what is in the food you eat. If you don't understand what a portion is, then the rest of the numbers on the label don't really matter. If the "serving size" is vague (listed in ounces or grams) measure it for yourself. You can buy a food scale for as little as $5 or $10 at Target or Wal-Mart. Learn the serving sizes of the foods you eat most.

2. Measuring Cups and Spoons. This is a no-brainer. Instead of using serving spoons at meals, I use measuring cups to serve food. I use measuring cups for pouring cereal, measuring spoons for making cookies, and so forth. This way, I know how much I'm serving and can check this against the food label so I can see exactly how much I'm taking in. Measuring cups not available? You can use your hands as a portion guide.

Check out this "handy" portion guide from Precision Nutrition.

3. Food Diary.  This is usually my first word of advice to anyone trying to loose weight. Sometimes I munch all day long, not really paying attention to what I'm putting in my face. Then, at the end of the day, I feel bloated and uncomfortable. Using a food diary helps stop that mindless munching. I like My Fitness Pal app, but a simple notebook works fine too. An act as simple as picking up a pen every time you pick up a piece of food can go a long way in any weight-loss plan. For me this is just a short-term tool--something I do for maybe one week, just to bring mindfulness to my eating habits. Also, journalling how you feel along with what you eat can alert you to allergies or sensitivities.

I've been using these tips this week to help get rid of the frumpy, tired, bloated feeling and so far, so good. Hopefully I'll be back to my energetic self by Saturday in time to rock Top of Utah!

What are your best diet tips?
What are your goals for this week?
Anyone else running a race this weekend?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Come on, radiate some sunshine over here.