I have never been a fan of the counting-calorie websites or the effort required to accurately record caloric intake and output. But it is kind of an interesting thing. I was looking into meeting with a nutritionist or dietician to have a few questions about my own diet answered. Body weight, food, metabolism, stress, working out, and the balance of everything has been a struggle for me so I was just really curious about whether my diet was meeting, underachieving, or overachieving for my daily needs. I know that one of the first things a nutrition expert will look at is your current diet. Instead of paying a bazillion dollars to meet and then find out that I needed to record what I ate, I figured I would get a head start and start jotting down what I ate first.
After a bit of research online I found the FitBook.
This book is actually really cool. I also feel like what I thought was going to be time-consuming takes no time at all. There are places for everything and if you had really specific goals, there are places to write each and every one of them. You can create a plan for yourself and each week you check in with your plan to see how you are doing! At the beginning of the week you can jot down and schedule your workouts to hold yourself accountable for them. There are specific places for cardio, strength training, and flexibility… reminding me once again that yoga and stretching are actually really important. You can even write the time you plan to complete the workout!
The other half of the “planning page” is your goals. You can start with a 12-week goal (the length of the book) and then focus on weekly goals. There are spots for nutrition goals, weight goals, heart rate goals, inches goals, and workout goals. Scales are torture anyway, so instead of focusing strictly on pounds or kilograms, you could write your bench press max and then try to improve it. Neat!
At the end of the week you come to a “weekly wrap up” page in which you can summarize your week and figure out whether you met your goals. It is cool to look back and see whether certain days or certain times are your downfall and then work to improve them, making them your goal for next week. If you have inspirational quotes, mantras, or even people, you can jot them down to refer back to throughout the week! Plus, if you are super proud of something you did that week you can jot it in the “The Good” section.
There is a lot of room to write down everything about each day too. The first part is for workouts. If you did some major strength training you can list each move you did, how many reps, and how much weight you used. The book is small enough that you could bring it to the gym with you and jot it down as you go too! There is then a place for cardio and you can record how long you exercised, your HR, the intensity, and how you felt. Finally, there is a place to write down everything you did for flexibility. Sadly that spot is left blank far too often for me. I like making notes about my workout so I can remember how I was feeling. If I had an ache or sore legs, or I tried a new move, I will write it down!
The next page is all about nutrition. You are able to write down breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner, and a snack. There is a place to write notes about it and record how you felt after you ate it. For anyone looking to find out if you have a food allergy or intolerance, this is perfect. You can look back and see which foods made you feel horrible and find a causal link. The only thing I wish was that it had a place for serving sizes.
One of my unexpectedly favourite parts is the nutrient tracker. After every meal I will jot down what I ate, how it made me feel, and then I will check off the squares in the nutrient tracker. If I don’t know what to have for lunch or dinner or an after-dinner snack, I can refer to my FitBook and see if I am lacking protein or dairy, or if I need a couple more servings of veggies. It has shown me what I am typically lacking and what I reeeeeeally excel at (eating fruit). It gives a range of suggested serving of each macronutrient but for YOUR recommendations, check HERE. Also, if you are trying to remind yourself to take a multivitamin or extra Vitamin D or something, checking it off under “vitamins” is a good way to keep track of whether you have taken it or not!
Finally, the section I apparently struggle with the most… sleep. It gives you a place to list the hours of sleep you got. I wrote down my goal this week as “>7 hours of sleep/night” because last week far too many days had 6 or fewer hours. I think that is really handy to have it there because often that is one area of healthy living that I forget about its importance. Sleep is recovery and sleep helps stress, weight, hormones, and energy! I am making it a major goal of mine to get my 7+ hours each and every night, ideally 8. If you are a water tracker – there’s a spot for that too!
I am really loving this book and it has kept me honest and kept me accountable. The best calorie tracker for both intake and output is YOUR BODY, but at least with this book I can see if I am lacking sleep and how that is affecting my workouts. Or I can see if I am getting enough calcium in dairy products. Or I can see if a nagging ache one day has turned worse the next or popped up again a week later! I will be making an appointment with a nutrition expert soon and this book will hopefully provide all the details they need! As someone who is entering graduate school FOR NUTRITION, I really want to make sure my own nutrition is on track so I can be a good student and role model for others!
Have you ever counted calories?
What about kept a food journal?
Have you ever seen a nutritionist?