When it comes to nutrition and dieting, many people feel that they don’t have the time, it’s not only a lot of work going to the gym and getting a workout in but to keep track of all those endless calories and the thought of trying to keep track of them kind of scares many people away, so they figure it would be easier to skip the whole nutrition thing and only eat whatever is handy.
If more people could take the time to realize that if they could take just a little bit of extra time to plan a healthier diet, they might be spending a little less time in the doctors office in the future. So that brings up the discussion of today’s subject, calorie and nutrient tracking for optimal nutrition and getting the most out of using the tools you need for getting on the right track for a healthier tomorrow.
A measure of energy
Calories are simply a measure of energy. A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. So naturally it stands to reason that when you are active for a long enough duration to sweat you are burning away excess calories, those excess calories are stored as fat, so you will need to keep your fat intake low, consume fewer calories than what it would take to maintain your weight and stay active enough to burn any excess calories that are stored as fat.
We all know that counting calories and limiting our intake of food can be an effective tool in weight loss but it’s also being aware of what foods we need to cut out of our diet and having the will power to follow through with staying clear from these foods.
Then there are other factors that we need to keep in mind, if you are going to get some idea of how many calories you need to burn every day to lose a pound of fat, you are going to need to know how many calories it will take to maintain your weight, then there are other factors like gender, age, weight and activity level.
Nutrient tracking is a process of collecting information from your dietary intake for the purpose of reaching a goal. I feel that a very useful tool for collecting this information is a journal, you can go with the hand written or there is the option of a digital app. To get you going on this simply document the foods you eat, how much you eat and how many times you eat in a day and what time of the day you eat, and your beverage consumption.
Another good idea to keep track of is how you feel about what you have eaten throughout the day. This way if you fall away from what you had written down as your dietary plan, you will naturally feel a little guilty about this and it may just give you that little edge the next day to keep on track with your dietary plans, but that isn’t to say that you can’t have a cheat meal now and then.
Having a cheat meal is something you can build into your journal, this way it will be set in writing when you have a cheat meal and when you have one, you won’t feel guilty because it is part of your structured plan.
From information that you have so diligently gathered together in your journal, you can calculate how things balance out between macronutrients and micronutrients, then you can identify areas that are out of balance or where you might find any deficiencies.
Other forms of tracking
The tape measure is another form of tracking progress, measuring the waist circumference and the waist to hip ratio.
The waist to hip ratio is usually related to physical attractiveness. A waist to hip ratio of 0.7 is considered optimal for a woman because it is a sign of fertility. Women sought after for their bodies have all had a similar difference of 7 inches between their waist and hips.
The body fat calipers can be another useful tool for measuring body fat distribution. A calipers calculates body fat by pulling fat away from the muscle creating skin folds. The calipers is used to measure the folds lengths at different sites, generally three sites are taken and they are taken on the right side of the body.
The measurements are taken into two equations. The tester will have a reliable estimate of the person’s body fat percentage. A person can test themselves, although it is recommended that a professional does the testing.
Eating healthy should always be a person’s first priority when it comes to optimal performance and nutrition. Keeping fat low and fueling yourself with a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean white meat and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
When measuring calories, most people don’t want to take the time to count through all those endless calories and food scales don’t always make the job easier and they’re not always that accurate.
Portion your food, for example you have lean white chicken breast baked, portion it to no more than the size of a deck of cards, portion a serving of veggies to no larger than the palm of your hand.
Where many people make the mistake is they have a tendency to over portion, somehow there eyes become larger than their stomachs. Eat slowly, this helps the food to digest better and you won’t have a tendency to overeat. If you eat slower, you will likely find yourself satisfied and still have food left on your plate. Another trick is to drink water before your meal, you will likely find yourself eating less.
I hope this article finds you well and eager to get a fresh start on a healthier lifestyle, a fresh start on a cleaner leaner diet and a new zest for life with some new goals to pursue.
I don’t expect that people will drop everything and start counting calories, that’s unnecessary, all you should try every day is portion what you eat and if you have a cheat day, try to portion that as well, if you go a little overboard, go an extra mile with your cardio.
If you like the idea of getting your body fat percentage checked with a calipers, have a professional do this, they will give you a more accurate reading.
For the women reading this, the waist to hip ratio is just a statistical number, their are many body types and everybody shouldn’t be expected to look like someone else.
Just try your best to eat healthy and to take care of yourself and do your best to keep up with a daily exercise regimen.
Only you know what your capabilities are and do the best that you can, you owe it to yourself to.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.