4 February 2016 Tracking Food & Exercise is Not Just About Calories

Tracking food and exercise is much more than just calories counting. It's about discovering relationships between what you put in your mouth, your activity, and your health. And yes, tracking is also about calories ingested and expended - and that directly affects your weight.

The more you put into logging complete and consistent records, the more you learn about yourself. Here are just a few common medical conditions that benefit greatly from detailed tracking: diabetes, gut problems, bariatric surgery, and of course, weight control.

Diabetes

Of all the conditions that benefit from tracking, diabetes would be at the top of the list. Diet (meaning what you eat and drink), exercise, and medication directly affect blood glucose control. There are other important factors as well, but those three affect your control every minute of your life. Read "Tracking Diabetes with MyNetDiary" for more information about what's available to track. Reminders are now built into the system as well.

Tip: Purchase Premium membership and create an account so that you can login to unlock complete access to diabetes tracking via the web program as well as from the free apps available from iPhone and Android.

Heartburn, Reflux (GERD)

An accurate food record with time entries will help you figure out which types and how much food you can tolerate without symptoms. Does everything need to be low fat to control your GERD or can you control symptoms with a meal that is limited to 20-25 grams of total fat? Does decaf coffee work better than regular coffee or do you feel best when you switch to tea? If you keep detailed records, you will discover what works best for you.

Tip: Pay attention to total fat per meal/snack, alcohol, caffeine, and sleep hours.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Do you have to limit all those FODMAP foods from your diet or is it really only certain types that cause you grief? Maybe eating a smaller portion size solves the problem. Or maybe those beans are just fine when you slow cook them for a good 3 hours or so? Do those expensive probiotic supplements really make a difference with your constipation? Tracking over time will identify what really helps you the most.

Tip: Pay attention to types of food eaten and symptoms (via Notes field), total water intake, fiber, and sleep. Also track bowel movements as a customizable tracker.

Weight Control

Yes, tracking food and beverage intake along with exercise can an extremely useful tool for weight control. Even with unavoidable error (both known and hidden sources) in how calories are calculated from intake and expenditure, the fact still remains that:

  • Weight loss requires a caloric deficit (calories in < calories out)
  • Weight gain requires a caloric surplus (calories in > calories out)
  • Weight maintenance requires caloric balance ((calories in = calories out)

When tracking is performed consistently and as accurately as possible, then the caloric goal works well enough to cause weight change. The rate of weight change might not be as precise as indicated using the 3500 kcal = 1 lb body weight rule, nevertheless, people do meet their weight goals if they continue over time. Tracking over a long period of time allows you to identify your caloric needs based upon how you log. For more tips on how to lose weight using a tracker, read, "Tips for Losing Weight." For more information on calories and weight, be sure to read "Calories & Weight Goals: How It Works with MyNetDiary."

Bariatric Surgery

Tracking is critical to help meet nutrient requirements after bariatric surgery - and it should be done daily and forever. Tracking helps people get enough protein and water, as well as remind them to take their required daily vitamin and mineral supplements. It also helps them discover the source of creeping weight gain - nibbling and the accidental replacement of protein foods with foods that are too high in carbs and fats.

Please read this blog post for more tips: "Can You Use Calories Tracking Apps If You Have Had Bariatric (Weight Loss) Surgery?"

Premium Membership & Tracking

Consider purchasing the Premium membership to get access to all nutrients and measurements to track, as well as customizable trackers, extensive reporting, integration with other devices, and complete diabetes tracking. It is worth the money. And importantly, there is a money-back guarantee within 14-days of purchase if you are not satisfied with the membership. I have been tracking for 7 years now as a Premium member and have learned a great deal about my own health and behavior as a result. And yes, I will be a lifelong tracker!

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Diabetes/Tracking Weight Loss/Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss/Emotional & Mindful Eating Tracking & MyNetDiary/Tracking Benefits Tracking & MyNetDiary/Tracking Tips Other Health Issues/Gastrointestinal (Gut)

Related Posts:

This article can be found at http://www.mynetdiary.com/tracking-food-and-exercise-is-not-just-about-calories.html