A Healthier Version

I’m trying to eat healthier. I started this in September. I lost 8.4 pounds in four weeks. I was keeping track of my calorie intake by writing down what I eat all day, and looking up how many calories each item was. I was sticking between 1500 and 1600 calories a day. And I was losing about 2 pounds a week with that amount of calorie intake per day. I wasn’t necessarily trying to eat *better*, just modify my portions and pay attention to what’s going in my mouth by documenting it on paper. I wanted to lose weight so that when we decided to have a baby, I could feel better about my body as it got bigger and be healthier, which is better all around during pregnancy. I also thought if I had lost enough, I could use some of my current clothes as early maternity clothes.

Then we found out we were expecting. I started trying to make healthier food choices – fruits and veggies at every meal, which helped to fill me up and I eat less of the main course. Less sodium intake (which seems nearly impossible to do). I’d have yogurt as a morning snack and something else for a snack in the afternoon. It felt like I had to eat all the time to avoid nausea and it’s hard to make healthy choices when you just need something in your belly. Crackers were a common snack at these times. I was extremely concerned about how I’d gain weight with the baby because I’ve never had a handle on my weight and Iwould be at greater risk for more complications during labor and possible complications with the baby late term if I didn’t manage my weight. A few days after we found out about my anembryonic pregnancy in early December, I weighed myself. I had gained 1.2 pounds since I’d found out we were expecting. I don’t know if that’s on course after the first trimester, and since there wasn’t an embryo getting bigger (though at that point, the baby would have been only an ounce or two anyway) or for how much it felt like I was eating and that I felt 5-10 pounds bigger, I was pleased to see I wasn’t far off from where I was before. I decided I need to stay on course and make better and healthier choices a habit. I can use the information I learned while pregnant and apply it to non-pregnant life. And if I’m even only a little bit healthier next time I’m pregnant, I’ll be 100 times better than if I had ignored it all.

MyPlateI’ve joined The Daily Plate at Livestrong.com and am using their MyPlate services to keep track of my calorie intake. It’s a lot easier than when I was writing it down in a notebook. And if you didn’t have a whole serving, you can change your serving amount to a decimal. (Or, for the indulger, you can increase the serving amount by any whole number or decimal.) They allow you to search for specific brands and restaurants even. For instance, last night we ate with friends at Texas Roadhouse. On this site, I was able to find the nutritional information on the bread they serve and the side salad I had with my meal. (Unfortunately, they didn’t have my specific meal, but they have the information on most of the menu).

I’m not sure on how accurate they are – I think some of them are user created, so they might be listed wrong or they added things to it and didn’t label the food properly. On the things that I can, I double-check to make sure the information matches the product I used – like a jar of spaghetti. I’ll search “Prego” and find the traditional sauce we use and then check our actual jar’s nutritional label to see if that’s the right one. Sometimes it’s right on. Sometimes they vary 10 calories or so. And there are things I can’t double-check easily, like a restaurant meal or this specific sized banana. But it’s a guideline. If I don’t feel like looking up specifically my food, I’ll find something close. The coffee on the right, for instance, isn’t likely what I’m drinking. A cup of our coffee is probably around 20 calories and the creamer I use is like 45. So because I was lazy, I just found a coffee listing that was close to 65 calories – the rest of the nutritional information is probably skewed because of it. I should probably change that.

You can also make meals out of ingredients you’ve looked up. If you look at my MyPlate on the right, you’ll see that I had 4 servings of “Tuna Sandwich”. “Tuna Sandwich” is a meal I made that has the kind of tuna I use, Miracle Whip, pickle relish, and one slice of wheat bread in it. This way I don’t have to add each individual ingredient and their servings every time I have a tuna sandwich. This particular day, I happened to have “Tuna Sandwich” for both lunch and supper.

What I especially like about it is the fact that it also gives you fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, sugars, fiber and protein information (when available – sometimes items have only calories listed, so the information on the others is missing). It allows me to see how much fiber I’m getting. Or whatever. I’m particularly interested in the sodium intake because that will be important to keep low, especially while pregnant. And I’m amazed at the items that have so much sodium!

I have the free version of this service. If I wanted to upgrade, I would gain a more custom nutritional label, a week-at-a-glance feature, and many other features I have found unnecessary so far. I haven’t figured out how to add foods to the list. Especially recipes. I’d like to, so that I don’t have to add each ingredient and then divide by how many it serves and then add each ingredient to one of my custom meals. Maybe that’s only for paying participants. Or maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough.

I’m trying to stay at 1600 calories per day again, and I will track if I’m losing weight at that amount. It’s turned out to be plenty on most days, assuming I’m eating something that fills me. Since I weighed myself last, I lost 2.2 pounds, which is about a pound a week. The site has a weight tracker, and it’s quite fun to look at because it’s a line graph and visually seeing the decrease (or increase) in your weight is extremely rewarding.

The killer for me is exercise. I hate it! Always have, if it’s exercise for the sake of exercise. I’ll even go as far as be motivated all day at work to go home and work out, and by the time I get home, I have no motivation to actually do it. So instead of feel guilty about it, I will exercise when I have the energy/motivation to, I will focus on making good eating choices and once that becomes habit or close to, I will focus on introducing daily exercise. And did I mention that you can add your exercise and it will calculate the number of calories you burned.