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30 day Food Journal Challenge!

Join my clients and me in logging food for the month of January! Each week we will focus on (and learn more about) important information such as serving sizes, protein, carbs and fat.

Here is information for the first week, starting on Monday January 2. This doesn't mean to go all-out on New Year's Day! Remember to track your weight (daily, weekly or at the end of the challenge) and drink half your body weight in water each day.

Follow me at where you can also ask me any questions you may have. I am not a dietician or nutritionist but I believe that the food we feed our bodies is imperative to good health.


Get out those measuring cups, spoons, food scales and reading glasses! Starting Monday Jan 2, log ALL calories consumed with a focus on serving sizes. I will use myfitnesspal but other options are cronometer, loseit, sparkpeople or fatsecret.

Start by setting up your profile (gender, age, current weight, goal weight, timeframe) to find out how many calories should be consumed daily to reach your goal. There are a lot of features to make logging food easier such as the QRC reader, copying a past meal or creating a food item that you eat often.

To see your macros, click on the macros button in the top right corner. Use the nutrients tab to see your current macros, total daily goal and the amount left.

How many calories you need depends on factors like gender, age, weight and activity level. To lose weight, you will need to create a calorie deficit by eating less than your body burns off. This typically means eating 500 calories less than your maintenance calories, along with 30 minutes of daily exercise.

A calorie is a unit of energy found in food and there are 3500 calories in a pound. Macronutrients are the types of nutrients that have calories and are the main energy sources for your body.

· fat = 9 calories

· protein = 4 calories

· carbohydrates = 4 calories

No matter where they come from, the calories you eat are either converted to physical energy or stored within your body as fat. These stored calories will stay in your body as fat unless you use them up. You can use them up by cutting how many calories you take in so that your body must draw on reserves for energy. Or you can add more physical activity so that you burn more calories.

Food produces hormonal effects in the body. Some hormones say 'store that fat'; others say 'release sugar'; others say 'build muscle.' Study after study shows that diets based on the same amount of calories, but different proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates, result in different amounts of weight loss.

Additionally, the effects of different foods on hunger, appetite hormones and the amount of calories you burn can vary considerably. It is best to base your diet on high-quality foods from plants or animals that have been minimally processed.

Cutting calories needs to include change, but it doesn't have to be hard. These changes can have a big impact on the number of calories you take in:

· Skipping high-calorie, low-nutrition items

· Swapping high-calorie foods for lower calorie choices

· Cutting portion sizes

Calories are useful for tracking how much you eat, but they don’t tell you much about the quality of your diet. We will learn more about macros in the next 3 weeks.

Eat more fruits and vegetables that have many nutrients and are high in fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest. And they will fill you up more than high-fat choices. For example, a cup of raw broccoli contains only 31 calories, while the same amount of chocolate ice cream contains close to 285. You should be most careful about recording items that are high in fat and/or sugar, such as pizza, ice cream and oils.

Now let’s talk about serving sizes. In general, people aren’t very good at estimating how much they eat. Here are some common serving sizes compared to household items that may help you estimate your portion sizes:

  • 1 serving of rice or pasta (1/2 a cup): a computer mouse or rounded handful.

  • 1 serving of meat (3 oz): a deck of cards.

  • 1 serving of fish (3 oz): a check book.

  • 1 serving of cheese (1.5 oz): a lipstick or the size of your thumb.

  • 1 serving of fresh fruit (1/2 cup): a tennis ball.

  • 1 serving of green leafy vegetables (1 cup): a baseball.

  • 1 serving of vegetables (1/2 a cup): a computer mouse.

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil: 1 fingertip.

  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter: a ping pong ball.

Try these tips to control portion sizes and cut calories:

· Start small. At the start of a meal, take a little less than what you think you'll eat. If you're still hungry, eat more vegetables or fruit.

· Eat from plates, not packages. Eating right from a container gives you no sense of how much you're eating. Seeing food on a plate or in a bowl keeps you aware of how much you're eating. Think about using a smaller plate or bowl.

· Check food labels. Be sure to check the Nutrition Facts panel for the serving size and number of calories per serving. You may find that the small bag of chips you eat with lunch every day, for example, is two servings, not one. This means it's twice the calories you thought.

Lastly, keep a close eye on sugar intake. You really should be looking at food labels and ingredient lists on processed foods. Sugar and processed foods are thought to be a catalyst to cancer and dementia.

When reading labels, look for these sugar synonyms:

  • Dextrose.

  • Fructose.

  • Galactose.

  • Glucose.

  • Lactose.

  • Maltose.

  • Sucrose.

Our next topic will be PROTEIN!

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