Are you trying to improve your eating habits to enhance your overall health and/or lose weight? Using a food record can help! A food record (aka food journal) will help you become more aware and mindful of your eating habits. Studies have found that just keeping a food record or journal causes people to subconsciously decrease caloric intake resulting in weight loss. You can also try assessing your intake online using Supertracker.
Supertracker gives you a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan, allows you to track your foods and physical activity, and provides tips and support to help you make healthier choices and plan ahead.
If you'd prefer a paper and pencil method, track your diet on paper with this printable food record.
There's a lot of talk about different food components and as well as fad diets blaming one specific component for making a person overweight. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins all have calories and excessive consumption of any of them can lead to weight gain. If your current diet focus is on any one of these alone, you're missing the bigger picture: Calorie Balance.
The Calorie Balance Equation
When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime, the bottom line is – calories count! Weight management is all about balance—balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses or "burns off." Caloric balance is like a scale. To remain in balance and maintain your body weight, the calories consumed (from foods) must be balanced by the calories used (in normal body functions, daily activities, and exercise).
Each person's body is unique and has different caloric needs, but everyone can increase the number of calories they expend each day through physical activity and/or decrease the number of calories they intake each day to reach and maintain a healthy weight. To find out how many calories your body needs each day check out ChooseMyPlate.gov
Recommendations for Physical Activity
- A total of 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week or
- A total of 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week.
- Two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
Some benefits of regular Physical Activity include:
- Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
- Strengthening bones and muscles
- Improving mental health
- Relieving stress
- Weight management
- Reducing risk for developing depression
- Increasing life expectancy
Want more information and tips on physical activity? Make an appointment with a Health Educator for a personalized exercise program.