With free, easy-to-navigate food journals all over the web, many people use them all the time now. But doing this is only helpful if you actually review what you put in the journal! I reminded Tiffany of this just the other day. She’s diligent about keeping her online food journal up to date, but she doesn’t always go back and look at it.
My advice to her was to review her journal weekly. Here are some things that Tiffany—and everyone—should look for when reviewing their food journal.
1. Check for any patterns in your diet. Do you tend to snack more at work than at home? Do you snack on certain foods right before bed, like ice cream or potato chips? These can indicate that you’re eating out of habit or boredom rather than hunger.
2. Does your diet change when things get stressful? Review your journal from a stressful week and then compare it with one from a less stressful week and note any changes.
3. Are you eating mostly whole grain foods, such as whole wheat breads, cereals and pastas? Or are you eating more refined grains, such as white bread, white rice or pasta, and sugary cereals or snack bars?
4. How often do you eat out each week? What types of places do you eat at most often? What types of foods do you order? How can you cut back on dining out?
6. Do you tend to eat more prepackaged, processed foods than whole, unprocessed foods? Time to make a switch.
7. Count up the number of fruits/vegetables you had each day. Many people think they eat far more fruits and vegetables than they actually do.
8. Do you see anything missing in your food journal? Small bites eaten throughout the day can add up to weight gain over time so be sure you’re writing down everything—from those two Hershey’s Kisses you had to those lollipops—you eat.
When you’re done reviewing your journal, make a list of goals for improving your diet. Setting goals and regularly looking at your food intake will make recording what you eat each day worth the time and effort.
Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.
What’s one of the best ways to help your kid lose weight? Slim down yourself. That’s what a study that came out earlier this year from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota showed. Of course changing what I buy at the grocery store, for example, would have an impact on my children. But what’s been so impressive is that even in situations where I’m not in control, my daughter is making healthy choices!
From the beginning of the Healthy Family Challenge, my daughter, Anna, was really looking forward to working out at a gym. Unfortunately, at 9 years old, she’s too young to be allowed on the gym floor. When I broke the news to her, she was bummed. But I told Lass, my trainer, this and he developed a routine for Anna.
She does body weight squats, jumping jacks, toe touches and overhead presses with hand weights. Lass told her to do four sets of twelve reps each. For this month’s challenge she increased to 4 sets at 15 reps. She easily modified her workout and even added more. (Go Anna!) Plus, every day, she and her friends at daycare dance make up routines to do. Anna also loves to ride her bike around our neighborhood with the kids in town. And, of course, she tries to keep up with Jack, which is a tough job. He is consistently on the go!
For this month’s challenge, Anna, like me, was focused on losing weight. According to our doctor, she was at the high end of normal, so she wanted to lose a few pounds. One day, she went on a field trip to a pizza buffet and arcade with her daycare center. Rather than have 2 or 3 slices of pizza, Anna made herself a salad and had one slice of pizza because she wanted to make good choices. Amazing, right? She now feels so much better and full of energy and she doesn’t even miss the bad foods.
How have you helped your kids make healthy choices? Post a comment and tell me!
Italy is known for its fabulous food and wine and the Avaglianos spent ten days enjoying the food and culture. I was not about to tell them to skip the specialties of the country but I also didn’t want them to put on all the weight they had lost over the last few months.
Vacations can cause you to tip the scale if you are not careful. To avoid the damage, you’ll need to be mindful of how much food you are putting in your mouth.
1. Sample the different flavors but don’t have to finish the meals. If it’s a really great sandwich or pasta dish simply share it with someone and have a salad on the side or a side of vegetables without any sauce. Italy is also known for its delicious gelato—you can usually get a very small scoop and it won’t set you back with too many calories.
2. Don’t make every meal a heavy one. If you know you want to try a special restaurant for lunch and drink some of the local wine, then make dinner a lighter meal, maybe grabbing fresh produce from the market and making a big salad in your hotel room. Or going to a small restaurant where they don’t mind if you share plates and order less food.
3. If you can, plan ahead and do lots of walking to burn off some of the extra calories.
Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.
(Photo Copyright by Moyan Brenn)
It has been a few months since I started going to the gym, and I still try to go to Spin class whenever it fits into my schedule. I love the fact that Spin pushes me to work harder than I really want to. A good Spin instructor individualizes the ride for each participant. You ride together, but each person works at his or her own level.
That said, I have to admit, that I often feel like leaving soon after the class begins. Before the second song ends, I find myself out of my comfort zone. I know that if I cycling on my own, I would probably slow down; or choose an easier route. I start to look around the room. Most people are barely breaking a sweat. I need a drink.
First Rule of Spin: Bring a water bottle.
We start to our first hill. The Sunday instructor loves to ride out of the saddle. (I should note: I choose classes based on when I can go, not the instructor that teaches them.) We begin a six-minute climb. She tells us to add a ¼ or ½ turn, if we can. Sometimes I add that much; sometimes I don’t. I believe you should push yourself. Keep pedaling to the beat of the music or faster. But if you can’t keep up, take off a little resistance
Second rule of Spin: It is your ride.
Yeah! Fifteen minutes are over! One quarter of the ride is done. I can do this!
We spend the next fifteen minutes working on speed and resistance. I forgot to bring a towel. My bars are dripping with sweat.
Third rule of Spin: Bring a towel.
Half of the class is over. With the lower resistance I start to feel like I can finish the class strong, but the instructor has a long climb planned. We begin a 24-minute ride up hill. We add on four complete turns as we stand out of the saddle, and do not decrease the resistance as we sit for short intervals to take a drink.
I am getting tired, but I realize that I am able to keep up with the class. I am holding my own. Sure there are some who are faster than I am, but I am keeping up!
The hill is over. We lower resistance, cool down and stretch. Class is over; we’ve all burned over 600 calories. I head home to shower. Another good workout done!
Do you take a gym class that pushes you harder than you’d work on your own? Post a comment below and tell me about it.
This week, our Healthy Family Challenge nutritionists. Elizabeth and Stephanie, have shared a lot of advice for making healthier food choices on the go. This is so important when it comes to losing weight. You’re never going to eat every meal at home, so you need to choose better options when you’re grabbing a quick bite.
Often, we end up at fast food places. And while those menus include lots of calorie-laden choices, there are also better-for-you options. See what they are:
What’s your favorite healthy fast food meal? Share in the comments below.