Fitness – Food logging

Phew, I didn’t think I’d ever remember how to blog…

I have had some inspiration to pick this back up again. Mainly, I’m turning 30 this year, and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing with my life. My career is a little in flux. I keep asking the question to God, “What do you want me to do?” and all things edge toward fitness.

So, what better than to start back up with a fitness post.

I have been in a bit of a rut. I could:

A. Keep doing what I was doing and drive myself insane

B. Change something

So I became determined to find a food tracking app. Turns out, there are at least 8. I downloaded them all.

I thought about using each one for a week and blogging about each one. Then I thought about how much effort that would take, especially after I fell in love with the second one I tried.

It was by “luck” I found it. I was googling nutritional information for some food and stumbled across it. The app is called “Track” and it’s by this company (website?) called Nutritionix. Here’s a blurb from their site.

Our goal is to make it easier to understand what you eat. Through our interactive nutrition tools and world-renowned nutrition database, we help millions of consumers understand nutrition every single day.

I’ve been incredibly impressed with this app, to the point where I keep double checking that it is in fact “free”.

Here’s a picture of the basic “home” page. You can barcode scan in items, there are pictures of each item, and a basic overview of your day. The calories burned come directly from my Apple watch (super easy to integrate) and include all calories burned, not just from my exercise.

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Then there’s the nutrition summary. Pretty straight forward. As you will see this can get a little detail-itis. For those nerds like me I think it’s pretty cool.

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Really huge and not widely available feature is being able to add a recipe. The one downfall is it’s hard to get brand specific. This is more geared to recipes with basic ingredients, like sugar, flour, butter, etc. However, I think it serves its purpose. There’s even a place I can save the recipe link. The feature request I would add is being able to scan things into a recipe.

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This whole thing is a little mysterious to me, but it seems they are used for restaurants or something? Their database isn’t completely comprehensive,  but it’s good.

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The other categories you see at the top are pretty self explanatory. Freeform you can enter nutritional information. Calories are required, but after that it’s up to you to fill in macro and micro nutrient break down. Grocery allows you to peruse brand specific items like Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s. History helps you easily track down previous entered foods.

Their quality control is superb. If I barcode scan something they don’t have, the app pops up with a prompt asking if I’ll take pictures so they can add it. Also, they will randomly ask me to take pictures of products in their database to ensure their information is up to date.

Finally, the stats are pretty neat. Anything in red are days I went over and the green is good, better, or great. I recently enabled my scale to connect to it, which is why there aren’t a lot of data points.

From a psychology standpoint, this has significantly helped me make educated food decisions. I became substantially more aware of how little protein I was eating and how many carbs I was eating. It gives me more power to make food decisions, like I know how choices will impact my day. Yes, I can have that cookie, but this is what it’s going to do to my day, and no I won’t gain a pound because of it. If I take the stairs seven floors to my boyfriend’s place, I’ll be able to eat 50 more calories!

I was a little obsessive at first, making sure I could get as exact as possible. Now, I over estimate where I can’t get it exactly right. It’s only been two weeks, but I really really like it. The hardest was this past weekend when we hosted my boyfriend’s sister. Which meant eating out a lot. I decided to enjoy the weekend and kind of tracked what I ate. Made a lot of educated guesses. At the end of the day I ate more than I should, but it was two days.

Sometimes I’m surprised at how my appetite doesn’t match what the app is telling me. On those days I try to figure out what’s different (did I workout at a different time of day? Did I do a different workout? Did I eat different macronutrients? Am I about to get my period? I’m really full, what did I eat?) Sometimes it does match and it’s nice.

Tonight I had three hundred calories to spare, cause for celebration! I try to match and not go overly under either (figure that one out). So I ate some Halo Top ice cream (turns out peanut butter cup is delicious).

In general I’m trying to eat very low carb. All I have to say is keto people are crazy. I usually fall between 20-25% carbs. This weekend I ate a ton of carbs, and this could be completely mental but I felt uncomfortably full from eating them. It’s really hard to eat low carb, though! Things I’ve been eating a lot of:

  • Edameme
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Mayonaise
  • Chicken
  • Spaghetti Squash

Will keep you posted on how I like the diet.

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