WBI Healthy Lifestyle Challenge Week Nine!
Welcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian, Vicki Bovee and her husband Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.
Challenge # 9– Keep a Food Record
If you want to lose weight keeping track of what you eat is one of THE best ways to make it happen. There is so much research on the benefits of recording to prove it makes you more successful with your weight management goals, and if you’ve kept an honest record, you know this to be true. Notice I said an honest record. I’ve had people tell me they don’t record “the bad stuff”. It’s not calorie-free because you didn’t write it down or had selective amnesia. As I always say, “If you eat it, you own it.”
There are different tools to track your intake. Paper and pencil is better than nothing but to have any sort of meaningful analysis you have to look up your foods for their nutrient value. Let technology do the work for you. All you need to know is what did you eat and how much, and let technology figure out the rest. In a study presented at the American Heart Association meeting in 2012, a group of 210 obese adults tracked food and activity intake with either a handheld electronic device or a paper diary. Those who used an electronic device had significantly more weight loss than those using a paper record. See below for a list of apps we recommend.
It may take a while for you to be comfortable with the program or app you select. If you don’t like the program after a few days or a week, it’s easier to switch to another before you get too many of your custom foods entered. If you have a lot of time invested in setting up your database, you will be less likely to switch and if you don’t like the program, you won’t want to use it. You should be able to track your food and activity in less than five minutes a day. Recording as soon as you have eaten something makes it easier than trying to remember at the end of the day and you will be less likely to forget what you ate.
We both have already seen the benefits of recording. Bill is maintaining a 35 lb weight loss and lost the first 20 lbs using a food record. He wants to lose a few more pounds and the recording is his ticket to that goal. I have been doing food recording off and on for my entire career since it’s my job. We both decided to use My Fitness Pal because it seems to be the most popular. What’s funny is that when we entered the same foods we found our databases were not the same. My own opinion of the program is that it could be improved by adding more reports.
So how did we do after one week? We both programmed our goals to lose 1/2 pound per week. That gave me a goal of 1,490 calories a day which was at the top of my measured resting metabolic rate (RMR) prescription. I figured my exercise for the week to total 360 minutes. I averaged 1,417 calories per day, I had 387 minutes of exercise (equal to 1,624 calories) and I lost 0.6 lbs. Bill’s calorie target was 1,800 per day. He averaged 1,386 calories per day. He put in his exercise at 60 minutes for the week and had 245 minutes (equal to 1,111 calories) at the end. He lost 2.6 lbs. Bill got a little crazy and obsessed with this challenge.
• This sure cut down on any nibbling a bit of this or a bit of that. I didn’t eat things because I didn’t want to record them. We passed on all the samples at Costco.
• I left out additions, or decorations as I call them, to foods. No low fat granola in my yogurt, no cheese on my salad (see challenge #2).
• I snacked less.
• I didn’t eat my exercise calories. Exercise calories are best looked at as maintenance calories.
• For me, it takes three days of recording all meals to get a roll. After that I am fine and into the routine of recording after each meal or snack.
• It sure held me accountable for everything I put in my mouth.
• Knowing I had to record it and that I had only so many calories per day, I wanted those calories to be good, healthy ones.
• I got to see and feel the benefits of eating right.
• I learned that macaroni salad from Raley’s deli is not worth 400 calories for 2/3 of a cup.
• After the macaroni salad wake-up call I started eating more veggies. I got to eat a lot more for a whole lot less calories and I wasn’t hungry.
• I stopped eating ice cream and now I eat pudding from the WBI store. Sometimes I eat low calorie yogurt with the pudding. I get fiber from the pudding and probiotics from the yogurt. This change cut down on my sugar which causes inflammation in my joints.
• It was positive reinforcement to get closer to the goals I set out to accomplish. The charting helped to reinforce that daily.
Your challenge this week, should you choose to accept it, is to record all foods and beverages consumed. Whichever program or app you settle on, just use it. Remember, research continues to show that people who record are more successful.
Next week’s challenge really will be a challenge for some of you. We continue down the road of mindful eating.
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian with Western Bariatric Institute (WBI) with over 25 years experience in weight management and 12 years in bariatric nutrition. Vicki works with both weight loss surgery patients and nonsurgical weight loss patients. Vicki received her master’s degree in nutrition from Montana State University and her Bachelor of Science degree in home economics from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2369
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2378
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2400
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2407
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2425
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2443
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2463
Challenge #7 Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2490
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2508
Some applications for keeping track of your food on your smart device:
Check apple store for more or ask around!