Calorie and Activity Tracking

One thing I’m doing differently this time around with my weight loss is tracking what I eat as well as my activity, it’s been a HUGE help to me.  I was always hesitant to track my food before because I thought it would be a pain to log everything that I eat, and not too long ago it would have been a pain.  But with all these internets we’ve got around us as well as iPads, iPhones and Androids it’s a lot easier to do these days.

I found out that by tracking what I eat it not only keeps me on track for the day but also educates me on what the impact is on certain foods.  You may not realize how much fat, sugar and overall calories are packed in certain foods.  With a good tracking app you can not only find out what’s bad for you but see alternatives to the “bad” foods.  By tracking my exercise I can see the benefits of being active and how many calories I burn with my activities.  Many sites now add a social aspect to your fitness goals, it’s great to have friends join you for support and encouragement… plus a little friendly competition is fun, too.

Here are the sites that I use to track my fitness goals:

reddit.com/r/loseit – If you’re not familiar with Reddit you should check it out.  There are “subreddits” for most interests.  r/loseit is a great forum where people share their successes and challenges, post progress pictures and generally just encourage each other, it’s a very friendly community.  If you head over to Reddit also check out r/fitmeal and r/fitness.

MyFitnessPal.com – Referred to simply as MFP by it’s users.  A great site to track your calorie intake and expenditure each day.  Enter your personal info (age, height, weight, sex, goals) and it will help you target a calorie plan to reach those goals over a set amount of time.  Also gives you charts to show your weight progress (gain or loss) over time.  The site has discussion forums as well.  One of the greatest features of the site is the food database, many common foods are already listed and there is a page to enter your own recipes for future use.  If you use the app on your iPhone you can also simply scan a barcode and enter the serving numbers to track calories.  MFP allows you to have a friends list on the site to share information.

Fitocracy.com – “Fito” is my latest discovery, it’s a very fun site.  Their focus is strictly on the activity side of things, not in calorie tracking.   The format is similar to Twitter with you having an activity feed on your home page but they also incorporate groups and friends to look at special interests.  When you track an activity you get points and you can “Level Up” as you reach certain goals.  Fitocracy also has quests, achievements, challenges and duels to compete with others.  The combination of encouragement from others as well as the competition and the rewards system make this site very addictive, I find myself pushing a bit harder at a workout just to get a few more points to level up or to beat a friend in a duel.

Runkeeper.com – Runkeeper allows you to use your smartphone as a GPS tracker to measure your time, speed and distance when you walk, run, hike or bike.  In addition you can manually enter exercise if you’re inside, like a stationary bike ride.  For GPS-tracked activities it will show you a map of where you traveled as well as the time you were traveling, your pace, distance and total time.  You can view charts on the site to track your progress over time.

These are the sites I use however there are many others that do have similar functions, some even more.  Garmin makes devices that link with their own site to track you much like Runkeeper with your iPhone. Nike+ also has hardware you can purchase as does Fitbit.  Endomondo is another popular fitness tracking site.  If none of these work out for you a bit of searching on Google should find one that suits your needs.

One more note, invest in a good heart rate monitor to help with your tracking.  You’ll be able to get a more true sense of your activity and calories burned per workout.  Polar makes some very highly recommended monitors in a variety of styles.

Please consult with your physician before starting any diet or exercise routine.

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