Friday, November 11, 2011

My New Pal

OK, so a few weeks ago I wrote about my plans to start tracking my calorie consumption on sparkpeople and my realization that I was healthy and active and didn't need to worry about calorie counting.  So...that lasted until last week.  I put on a few pounds over the summer, and it isn't muscle.  I have been feeling puffy and bloated, and I'm sick of it.  Even though I have been running and using the elliptical, it has been pretty sporadic, and I'm not feeling as fit as I was before.  Plus, I never followed through on my exercise goals that I set in September.  So, even though I touted myself as healthy and active, I wasn't really being honest with myself.  I had been very healthy and active, but over the past few months, something changed.  I started snacking on junk a lot more, justifying each time as a "special occasion."  Well, let me tell you, special occasions don't happen every afternoon and evening.  I let work and other stress get in the way of going to the gym and going running as regularly.  This was apparent during my last half marathon.  Overall, I just feel frumpy and lethargic.  So, I finally decided that I have to do something to get myself back on track.  After all, I'm a healthy living blogger.  How can I let myself slack off when I try to encourage the rest of the world to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

Enter my new pal...My Fitness Pal.  I downloaded it as an iPhone app, and I LOVE it.  Seriously, it makes keeping track of my food and exercise so easy (and fun too).  Since I want to lose about 7 pounds, it limits my calories.  I have a daily calorie allotment of 1200 calories, but each time I exercise, it adds calories to my daily allotment.  So, if I run three miles, it gives me 300 more calories to eat that day. 

If that's not motivation to get to the gym or lace up my running shoes, I don't know what is.  But, the app isn't just about counting calories to lose weight.  It lets me see how much my mindless snacking actually adds to my daily caloric intake.  Trust me, the numbers can be pretty shocking sometimes.  A handful here and there really adds up.  Plus, it gives me a breakdown of the nutrients I consume each day, so I can make sure I'm getting everything I need.

I know that calorie counting can be a dangerous habit for some people as it can cause eating disorders and other issues. I am very sensitive to eating issues, having struggled with them for many years myself.  In fact, I am very aware that counting calories can become a slippery slope for me, but I try to find the balance with it.  I don't freak out if my calorie count goes over the daily allotment.  I still let myself have fun and indulge, but I'm not doing it every day anymore.  For me, it keeps me accountable and aware of what I'm putting into my body.  However, if I ever feel like it's getting out of hand, or that I'm becoming too focused on the number of calories, I'll remove the app from my phone.  I know that I can easily succumb to eating issues, so I'm being extra vigilant about it.  But, for now, My Fitness Pal is my new best friend.


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