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Getting The Most From Your Nutrition Tracker

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thanks to BOSNER75, who pinged me last night to ask how I manage to track my nutrient intake so closely. It's easy - I use SparkPeople's nutrition tracker!

The basics are just that, right? Well, okay. Here's how you can streamline your nutrition plans:

--Add the foods you eat all the time to your favorites by checking the box that says, "Add to Favorites" in the Add A Food window, before you add the food to your tracker. I've noticed that sometimes the window will tick the box automatically, and other times not. Anyone know why?

--Keep track of the food that you eat which is not in the database, and add it with the "Enter a Food Not Listed." Be sure to add as much detail as you can glean from the nutrition information on the box/package.

--You can add recipe foods to your tracker via SparkRecipes. On the recipe page, there is a link which says, "Add to Meal Planner." Clicking that link will open the Add A Food window, and that recipe can be made a favorite or just entered on your nutrition tracker for the day.

--If you want to track additional nutrients and other information, click on "Edit Nutrition Goals." This takes you to the default page with your suggested nutrition information and goals. Here, you can edit settings and add nutrients to track.

I track lots of things, like magnesium and zinc, which are important to me (dehydration and electrolyte imbalances are something I've had trouble with), as well as the common things like sodium and calcium. There are something like 75 different nutrients you can track at SP (remembering that not all food products have those various things listed).

Here, you can add other goals to your Goals page - like "Listen to a Get-Up-And-Go Song 1x per day" - as well as turn on and off SP meal planners.

--You can track just about anything you put into your mouth on SP - vitamins of all sorts, diet sodas and flavored waters - which contribute to your calorie and nutrition goals.

--Using the Daily Feedback is so important to tracking. I like to see where I've met my goals, or not. But where the real info is, is in the timeline graphs, where you can view the past 7 (or more days). Then you can run reports for daily, weekly, or monthly intake to get a better picture of your overall averages. I like to look at my intake weekly as an overview of where I am and where I need to work on things.

--Also the Graphs which show your food ratios and the % of your macronutrients and % of calories by meal are a quick and easy way to determine where you need to reevaluate your overall eating patterns. My ratios for protein, carbs and fat are off from SP's recommendation; however, I'm diabetic, so I do not have the carbohydrate requirement that other folks might. So my protein intake is higher. I can see that via the graphs and know it looks okay - for me.

--You can print out and export your daily nutrition to an Excel file by clicking on See Today's Full Report. I'm not QUITE that dedicated. :)

There is a nice video tutorial for the Nutrition Tracker, too. Hope you all use this - DEFINITELY the most important part of any plan to get healthy. It's 80% nutrition - wish I'd believed that from the start!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BILLALEX70 7/21/2009 8:53PM

    I love the nutrition tracker. I use it every day. I input anything that I can so that it's as accurate as can be.

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VIVA_VICTORIES 7/21/2009 4:17PM

    I feel like THIS was my tutorial!!! You are very well versed in all things Spark!

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QUIDDITCHGRRL 7/21/2009 3:35PM

    I have a genetic pre-disposition to certain things (I nearly had a chemically-induced heart attack in 2004 due to an electrolyte imblance - my blood potassium and magnesium were near zero), so I'm careful to hit the things I find important.

Things like fat? I could care less; my numbers are all "optimal." If I were wondering about whether I was making wise food choices there, I'd track them more closely as well.

The charts are quick to look at - that's what I like! Easy. :)

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BOSNER75 7/21/2009 3:19PM

  I like it. Although I am still very overwhelmed by the thought of tracking anything more than simple calories, fat, and sodium. emoticon

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Today's Running Song:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Fans" by Kings of Leon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QUIDDITCHGRRL 7/21/2009 8:53PM

    I've been a HUGE fan of KOL since "Aha Shake Heartbreak" came out. Definitely give them a try - their stuff is good!

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BILLALEX70 7/21/2009 8:51PM

    Is the whole CD good? I've kicked around picking that up on iTunes.

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The Plan.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Now that I've talked to my sister, who firmly believes that I do NOT have Charcot's foot, I can a) relax slightly and b) work on the plan to make sure my bones are as strong as they can be, in case it does develop/progress.

Right now, while we're waiting for orthotics, the podiatrist recommended that I do no hill running and to keep the HIIT at bay. I've already taken the HIIT down to once a week, because of the increase in blood sugars it's caused. Nothing contributing to pathology - but I don't like to be above 120, though - ever.

The Plan:
--Triple/quadruple the amount of vitamin D I'm currently taking (I can't drink milk, and I'm deficient per my last blood test), making sure to take it 2-3 hours before I'll be in the sun - likely mid-mornings

--Make sure I'm meeting my RDA for calcium (done), potassium (2 bananas/day), and magnesium (meeble...taking my Slo-Mag now...I'm deficient, it's genetic)

--Kick my diet soda habit once and for all; the acid leaches calcium from the bones - and I don't need that!

I do well nutrition-wise, for the most part. I fall down on magnesium and vitamin D a little, because I'm not used to taking them yet, and because the Slo-mag gives me horrible leg cramps if my calcium and potassium are not well-balanced.

Giving up the diet soda is going to be tougher - my goal is to work to less than 48 ounces a day (believe me, it's no problem for me to guzzle 100-120 ounces of diet soda each and every day! Gee, no wonder my bones are breaking down.) and slowly get over the caffeine withdrawl and come out clean on the other side. My last sodas here at work are in the fridge and once they're gone, that's it.

Wish me luck.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BILLALEX70 7/20/2009 7:20PM

    Planning is half the battle.

I would say that by supplimenting and cutting the soda will help in this area. If you're looking for something else to drink other than water I've found the newer SOBE Lifewater 0 Calorie are great. I love all 3 flavors and they're sweetened with Truvia.


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QUIDDITCHGRRL 7/20/2009 4:24PM

    KJNE80 - yes, I do run at lunchtime, and I tend to forget the sunscreen. I tan *very* easily. However - your body cannot make vitamin D if the precursor (D3) is not present in the body. So I need to take the D3 and get it into my bloodstream and tissues before I go out.

Also, I eat a *lot* of leafy green veggies - I eat "greens, beans, and 'maters" almost everyday! (Can't do too much broccoli, my stomach can't take it, I think it's the sulfur content.) Plus spinach for breakfast and mixed greens for lunch.

Food combining may end up being more important to me now, to try and maximize that absorption.

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KJNE8O 7/20/2009 1:23PM

    Do you get out in the sun much at all without sunblock? I think that 10-15 minutes with your arms and legs bare will give you all the vitamin d you need for the day.

Look for other sources of calcium that are easily absorbed by the body - brocolli, leafy green veggies - surprisingly they are very high in calcium!

Other than that - I think your plan is great! Let us know how the foot progresses and if the orthotics help out. Kicking the soda habit should really help.

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NLC1020 7/20/2009 10:30AM

    Good Luck!
You can do it! Just take it one day at a time!

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FROGGEE 7/20/2009 10:12AM

    Way to go! Planning to loose not planning to fail by lack of planning I will be praying for the soda thing to be doable. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Today's Running Song:

Monday, July 20, 2009

"A Little Respect" by Erasure

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QUIDDITCHGRRL 7/20/2009 3:35PM

    I love New Wave 80s bands. Going to see the Psychedelic Furs this fall, and Erasure whenever they get back to town (missed their 07 show here).

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JOPAPGH 7/20/2009 3:01PM

    I have a copy of Erasure's cover of Abba's "Take a Chance on Me" on my mp3 player.

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Today's Running Song:

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Alex Chilton" by the Replacements

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENONTHEROX 7/18/2009 10:51PM

    Ya Mama - Fatboy Slim

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JOPAPGH 7/17/2009 11:57AM

    emoticon Way emoticon

Another Rock Band favorite.

Also, from the Replacements, how about "I Will Dare?" IWD was released as a single when I was a senior in college. The B side has a cover of one of my favorite running songs: "20th Century Boy" by T.Rex.

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KLEE46 7/17/2009 11:35AM

    emoticon emoticon

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