How to track food intake and exercise for long-term success

  • 3 Minutes Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Wondering how you can track food intake and exercise to ensure success in the long run? Use these expert tips to help you meet your goals now and maintain them in the future!

How to track food intake

How to track food intake and exercise for long-term success

When you strive to lose weight or improve such vital health signs as lowering your cholesterol or blood pressure, it pays to learn about the scope of your health in general. Then you will develop a personalized plan you can actually live with in the future. Yes, it requires more thought and effort than simply tracking calories, but your long-term health and happiness are well worth it.

1. Learn how to work your favorite foods into your calorie or macro budget

We all have favorite foods. Figuring out how to tweak the portion size or modify a recipe will allow you to enjoy some of your favorite foods. If you don't do this, you risk feeling deprived or ending up in an "on a diet/off a diet" rollercoaster. For example, perhaps a low-fat chocolate pudding or one chocolate candy after dinner will satisfy a chocolate craving while keeping you within your budget. Save the huge piece of chocolate cake for your birthday or anniversary.

2. Make it about more than just calories

The benefits of MyNetDiary or any logging app go far beyond how to track food intake. Are there specific health goals you'd like to tune into and improve? For example, you can use the water tracker on the app to monitor hydration more closely. Before you know it, you are walking around with water, and it is now a habit. Plus, if you tune into your body, you will notice that the increased hydration is helping your energy level, and your skin looks and feels healthier. In the MyNetDiary app, you can track body measurements (neck size, bicep, chest, waist, hip, thigh, calf) and blood pressure, pulse rate, sleep hours, and work hours in the Measurements section. You may want to pick just a few to track at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Has your doctor or dietitian advised you to tune into a particular nutrient? For example, limiting sodium and increasing potassium can help you lower blood pressure. Limiting saturated fat can help lower cholesterol. Or maybe you want to get adequate calcium to keep your bones strong. You can keep an eye on all of these nutrients through tracking. In the MyNetDiary app, take the time to look at the weekly reports and click on a nutrient to explore it further. Next, review your biggest sources of a nutrient and adjust to meet your goals. These gradual changes will improve the quality of your diet.

3. Pay attention to your habits

As you review your records, you may discover patterns that aren't working for you. Increased self-awareness can help you develop a plan of action. Here are a few examples. Track your hours of sleep in the Measurement section. You may find that in the days following sleep deprivation, your food choices aren't as healthy, and your calorie intake exceeds your target. Perhaps an afternoon power nap will prove helpful.

By recording your stress level in the Notes section on your dashboard, you may notice a stress-eating habit. That observation may be new motivation to use stress-busting strategies such as deep breathing or meditation. You check your records and see that a glass of wine with a meal always results in a higher calorie intake, and so you decide to limit wine to the weekend. You've just knocked out the alcohol calories and the extra food calories caused by the wine decreasing inhibitions!

4. Explore your exercise plan

Do you need a tweak in your activity plan? When you look at your records, are there less-active days where you could work in some additional movement? You might find ways to fit in more exercise, such as a lunch-time walk with a coworker, an after-dinner walk with your spouse or a friend, or perhaps walking around the track while the kids are at sports practice.

Simply reviewing your weekly exercise and patting yourself on the back can feel great and rewarding. Or maybe you realize that you are slacking off with exercise. Is it time to explore a new routine or workout to keep you interested? Is there a class or sport to get you excited about exercise?

5. Keep it fun and interesting!

-Do you need inspiration for healthy recipes? Check out the Premium recipe collection.
-Finding excuses to avoid exercise because it has become a grind? Look forward to it by listening to podcasts, your favorite music, or books on tape.
-Want to connect with like-minded people? Join a support group in the MyNetDiary community. You may also find continuous learning about a healthy lifestyle is motivating by reading the MyNetDiary blogs.

Tracking food intake is a great place to start when working to lose weight and meet health goals. Sustain your tracking by looking beyond food and exercise. Tracking other vital health signs and health habits gives you a more complete picture, helping you to see blind spots and course-correct sooner vs. later. Your body will thank you for the extra effort!

Related content

6 Reasons using a food and exercise tracker helps with weight loss and how to get the best results
How to develop lifestyle habits for losing weight and keeping it off!
Start with these 5 steps to crush your health and wellness goals

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Tracking & MyNetDiary->Tracking Benefits Tracking & MyNetDiary->Tracking Tips
Dec 24, 2021
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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