January 04, 2007

- Learning to Count Calories -

Watching My Weight
I've been consumed by counting calories these last few days after starting my New Years diet. My new scale is addictive. It is amazing to me that you can gain a pound and loose body mass. It is a little time consuming to evaluate your calories and keep track of what you eat, but it is wonderful to be armed with the understanding of just what the foods you eat are doing to your figure.

Weight Loss and Calorie Counting Sites
My husband and I both are using a great little FREE program on the internet to keep track of our daily caloric intake and activities. It has neat little pie charts, graphs, reports, and calculators.

There are also a few neat little calorie calculators I found online that tells you how many calories per day you need to just "sustain" your current weight. I warn you - you can't lie about your age when you fill it out or it won't be accurate. The website linked above also has info on how walking can help you loose weight. Here's another calorie calculator that includes calculations for your lifestyle to show how many calories you can burn/eat.

Jillian Michaels, the trainer for NBC's hit series 'The Biggest Loser' (while a tad bit under-dressed ~ tacky!) offers a free weight loss plan and some healthy tips on her website also. Being a 'Family Friendly' blog, I won't link there. Maybe if she puts some clothes on or hides her bikini line, I might reconsider.

For your older homeschool students (or inquisitive moms and dads), I found a super online 'Exercise and Calories' lesson plan that teaches students to analyze their lifestyles and figure out how much rest, nutrition and exercise they need to be healthy.

Health Awareness
Counting calories makes you more aware of labels on the foods you eat. I had no idea that there was copper in coffee and vitamin K in Miracle Whip. Does that make them healthy? Probably not. It is not hard to find out with the power of the internet behind you. To find out how your favorite foods measure up, simply stop in at the browser of your choice (Goodsearch, Google, etc.) and type in a few key words (such as: "PF Chang Nutrition Facts", "Butter Calories Nutrition", "Salt Nutrition Facts"...). Once you enter the information in your free food journal (see link above), you can simply click a button the next time you eat there and it will automatically calculate it all for you. The hard part about counting is the first few weeks of adding things up. Once you put in a little 'sweat' and 'tears' that first week... counting calories is as 'easy as pie'.

Adding Some Activity
I never said that loosing weight was easy. It isn't impossible, however. I think the first week of my 'diet' program is a little too early to start posting 'results' on weight loss. 13 lbs. is not a huge goal, but it is going to be a lot of work to maintain without a lifestyle change. I don't want to just get rid of pounds; but rather, to trim down - tone up - and get fit.

Our family is planning to do some heavy hiking, walking and climbing in the forests of Arkansas about once a week with the children. We will have to drive a ways to get to the different parks, but it will be worth it. Adding physical activity is sometimes all you need to burn more calories than you take in. Changing the equation is how you change your body mass and loose those pant-sizes. Hopefully we can have FUN while we 'work' at it.

Living a more active lifestyle and getting outdoors to play with the kids more will:
1. eliminate our 'winter cabin-fever'
2. elevate our moods
3. give us more energy
4. help us be more focused
5. prevent sickness and time away from school
6. let us see the great outdoors and enjoy nature
7. create happy memories of time we spent together

You can't beat that for multi-tasking.

Here's hoping that your resolutions are easy to keep and that 2007 is a healthy year for you and your family!

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Jude said...

The resolution to get more activity is a good one. However, since you also have a goal to lose some pounds, you might try to avoid getting on the scale more than once a week. When I was in college, I noticed that my weight could fluctuate as much as 5 pounds in a week. If your metabolism is similar, you can get a little frustrated by the weight loss and gain. An occasional weigh-in is more motivational.

Anonymous said...

Another great way to track how you're doing, especially when you're adding physical activity, is the take your body measurements. As you build muscle, your weight can increase since muscle weighs more, but you may find that body parts are shrinking!

One great thing about getting exercise is that it really does help you feel more energetic throughout your day. I just started going to Curves with my Mom last month and I can tell a big difference. I used to just crash around mid-afternoon and now I'm much more motivated and energetic! Woo hoo!

Anonymous said...

I just posted yesterday on my weight loss. So far, all I've done is count calories. I've lost 20 lbs, and never had a time when my weight went back up. Now if I can just add exercise, I'll see even more pounds drop off. Good luck!

Sprittibee said...

Jude - That is a good idea... to get on the scale only once a week. However, right now, I'm keeping a journal that includes my weight each day. I think I'll do it this way for a while and then go down to once a week after the "newness" wears off and we stop counting calories. We are mainly counting to learn about the nutrition of our foods and gain the knowledge we need to maintain a better and healthier diet. I do know what you mean about frustration, however... since I did gain a pound yesterday, but lost it again today! Ugh! :)

Dianne - The body measurement idea is great. I shared it with my husband last night when he told me he felt like his pants were a little loose. I don't have a soft measuring tape, however. :( Maybe I can get one on sale at Wal-Mart which I have heard is going to do away with their fabric department entirely because it is not profitable. Curves sounds great... we checked out a gym near us yesterday as well. Looks like this gym is more kid friendly than the one we used (rarely) last year. Hopefully the new year will be much more fit!

Jana - WOW 20 lbs! That is great. I had a goal of 14 lbs. and I have lost a few already. I still have about 10 to go... but my "plateau" is around 130, and it will be hard to get down below that mark. I weighed in at 135 this morning. I am not just interested in pounds, however. I want to loose inches and tone up. Those things can't be done with calorie counting alone. I am going to have to hit the machines and get active. That is my biggest hurdle because I have NEVER been one to be very physically active.



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