SLENDERELLA61   153,117
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Challenges of Using and Understanding the SP Nutrition Tracker

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anyone else having difficulty getting all the nutrients without going over? I've been tracking here on SP several months now and see some real trends. For example, I'm often over on iron unless I don't take my multivitamin. If I don't take the multivitamin I'm under on many nutrients including iron. Iron is one that I know will show up on my blood work, so I'll ask my doctor next month at my check up.

I don't worry about going over on Vitamin A because it is from food. I understand that over supplementing can be a problem, but usually food sources are okay. Hope that is correct.

My potassium intake is often over the recommended 3500. I don't know what you would eat to stick to that 3500 and still get enough fruits and veggies.

I'm often over the 25-35 fiber. I even raised my fiber target to 25-40, as it says that problems with malabsorption start at 50.

I'm usually low on magnesium. My multivitamin only has 25% in it and I looked for one with higher amount but did not find it. SP does comment that magnesium deficiencies are rare and that magnesium is not required to be listed on food labels, so I could be getting more than shows up. Copper is another one I'm often low on. Selenium I'm low on more often than over.

I don't understand the difference between folic acid and folate. Somehow they relate to each other. As far as Niacin goes, SP had you select your own goal. I don't think I set it correctly because I'm always over.

I always hit the 100-150 something units calcium range used. I wonder, though, how that relates to the 1000 something units, increasing to 1200 something units recommended for us over 50. I don't know if SP is accounting for that additional need.

At the end of the day, I'm often over or almost over on sodium, over on potassium, over on fiber, but I'm still looking for calories, fat, magnesium, selenium, copper. Wish SP would make suggestions for what else to eat based on what you have eaten already.

I also know that the nutrient amounts given are just estimates. How fresh things are, how they were cooked and stored, how fertile the ground where they grew was, the combination of foods I ate, how good I chewed, and many other factors contribute to how many nutrients are actually absorbed.

Occasionally I have pulled up the SP meal plans and checked everything as if I had eaten it all. When I check my results against their results I see they don't meet everything either. But I haven't done it enough to see if SP meal plans balance out in the long run. Sometimes I wonder if I need to see an RD. Or am I being compulsive? I'm probably in the top 10% of the world's most well fed people. Isn't that a blessing?!!??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 3/31/2010 8:31PM

    I agree itís confusing, so I sent a week of my tracking to a nutritionist (love that you can download your reports in excel). Iím always over on fiber and wanted her to check that. I also mega dose on Vitamin D Ė 3500 IUs and had my doc take a blood test. Iím not even high, which says something for potency.
. emoticon
When I get my report from the nutritionist
Iíll let you know what she says

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NOTFATCAT 3/31/2010 1:16PM

    I never thought to track all these nutrients. I assumed that if I got a good, balanced meal meeting my calories, carbs, cholesterol, sat and other fat, and protein that all the vitamins and minerals would pretty much fall in line.
You have made me think I should track some of these to see if my assumption has merit.
You should contact SP and give them your dilemma.

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RISSASPIECES 3/31/2010 12:00PM

    Magnesium is supposed to be good for helping with the absorption of calcium, which is why you will off find calcium with vitamin D and magnesium. I used to track everything on here, but mostly I just do e-tools and never think about it, beyond taking some supplements. I am sort of hit or miss, for example, I only take zinc when I am healing and I only take milk thistle when I am taking medication for pain. I do try to eat a balanced diet, full of whole foods and just hope for the best. LOL

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In the last year I have spent beaucoup -- bowcoo -- boughkoo - however you spell it -- but you get the idea, lots of bucks on my teeth. Two fillings, my first root canal, five crowns, and something else or two I'm forgetting. Seemed like I was at his office weekly. Anyway, my dentist sent me an appreciation "gift" for my support of his practice -- free teeth whitening. I went and had the trays made. The technician advised me to put the whitening tubes in the refrig. They have stayed there now for two weeks. Somehow I just can't seem to get motivated to wear those trays all night.

Well, the thing is, I'm thinking that there is no use whitening unless I want to give up the coffee and tea. Hmmm. Those hot drinks have helped me handle hunger. I'm not sure I can give them up and maintain my weight. It would help me a lot, though, in meeting my goal of reducing the use of artificial sweetener if I quit tea and coffee. I might like those whiter teeth, too.

So, for the month of April, I'm giving up coffee and tea. I am going to wear those trays and go for the whiter teeth. Maintaining the weight is a higher priority, but I think I can do both. We'll see. -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOTFATCAT 3/31/2010 1:18PM

    Try hot water witha dash of lemon juice or a bag of dried peppermint to ward off the hunger.

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KALIGIRL 3/30/2010 10:08PM

    Be sure and let us know how this turns out.

I too use tea as a weight control device (unsweetened and hot), but I find if I come home and have a cup of tea instead of a glass of wine, I limit my alcohol (hence calorie) intake to one glass (100 calories) with dinner.

I'm not sure I'd be successful with just water, so anxious to hear and maybe see (a photo possible?) the results.

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MONTY68 3/30/2010 9:28PM


Decisions, decisions decisions. I know that you will make the right decision for you. A lot of good comments and suggestions.
If you decide to give up coffee and tea and go for it, Knowing you, you will be able to do both.


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DONNABRIGHT 3/30/2010 4:50PM

    If you don't try it, you'll always wonder if you should have done it so go for it and if it doesn't work for you at least you will know you did your best.

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AQUAGIRL08 3/30/2010 4:22PM

    Chocolate and anything else that is red (strawberries) or dark (blueberries) will do it too. It would be fun to have your teeth whitened and see what difference it made. I did it years ago and don't drink coffee and have only an occasional cup of tea. It lasts a while if you're careful. Eating chocolate and drinking reduced calorie hot chocolate in the winter took it's toll. It does brighten your smile and looks nice. Give it a shot - you might like it!

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PEGGYANNSCH 3/30/2010 4:08PM


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MARIEBART 3/30/2010 2:50PM

    I have whitened my teeth and drink coffee and tea. The kit I got from the dentist included 4- 4 night treatments. My generally look good for three to four months then it's time to re-apply. Just a warning, those whiteners are hard on your gums.

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JOHAL52 3/30/2010 11:42AM

    I don't drink real coffee or tea, just the herbal kind. And I always put soymilk or milk in it. I havr no staining but my teeth are slightly different colors because of all the crowns. My dentist said whitening wouldn't be a good idea because it. would only make the colour differential more noticeable. If I had a million dollars I would get my teeth veneered :)

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BAGGYPANTS5 3/30/2010 11:20AM

    Give me a good cup of tea over white teeth anytime!!

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PERSISTANT123 3/30/2010 9:54AM

    I'm not sure I would be willing to give up my coffee for whiter teeth! You go girl! Show us how its done!!!!! emoticon

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    I hope the best for you, Marsha! Let us know how this works out, ok? emoticon

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RISSASPIECES 3/30/2010 8:50AM

    I have not whitened in a long time, but years ago, I whitened my teeth to match my crown, which was placed when I was a teenager. I do drink some coffee, but I eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I get my teeth cleaned twice a year and the hygienist always tells me "you have NO plaque" and she is done super fast. All of that to say, you don't really have to give up coffee and tea to have white teeth. LOL

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More Rewards of Healthy Living

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yesterday while I was on the elliptical trainer I read on closed caption TV that this year is a bad one for allergies locally. After an unusually cold winter, many trees and plants are blooming late, so that there is a double dose of usual and late allergens.

But surprise, surprise, I am not experiencing my customary spring headaches and heavy sinuses! How can this be? Perhaps my new healthier diet counteracts pollen. Or maybe my smaller, healthier body is better able to handle irritants. Or it could be that this unusual pattern just doesn't trigger my allergies.

But I choose to believe that I am experiencing yet another benefit of healthy living. So at least until I am faced with facts that rebut that assumption, I am celebrating yet another reward of healthy living.

I am sure you, too, are enjoying many rewards of your SparkPeople lifestyle, too! Happy, beautiful spring day to everyone! -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BAGGYPANTS5 3/30/2010 11:19AM

    I get terrible hay fever in summer so it will be interesting to see how it is this year. It is possible to grow out of it, too. Let's hope the good we are doing ourselves will throw out the bad.

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    I'm so glad for you, Marsha! I think that maybe living in West Texas, nothing can solve the allergies! ha! I have, though, experienced a huge difference in overall health! yay for us! emoticonLori

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SLIMLILA 3/29/2010 6:04PM

    I think we know our own bodies better thand dr. sometimes too and we have to give ourselves credit for that. Glad to hear you're not experiencing the usualy spring "fever". I used to have bad springs too, but not lately... keep up the healthy lifestyle changes and see what other benefits you can find...

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PERSISTANT123 3/29/2010 5:26PM

    emoticonAn unexpected benefit of healthy living!

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NOTSPEEDY 3/29/2010 5:20PM

    I hope your right. I could get along with less allergies.

Have a good allergy free week.

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No Harm Done. Lesson Learned.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

After losing 80 pounds I look like a slender person. But reality is, I can still lose "it" really easily. Last eve I almost fell into a box of Honey Kix and I could have gotten trapped with no way but to eat myself out. Luckily, I came to my senses and didn't go that far.

If you go to my shared tracker from yesterday, you will see a very good day. Oh, a little over in sodium, but not much. A little high in potassium and fiber. But, overall, a good day. But I didn't track my little indulgence. It put me over in calories and carbs and other nutrients, too, I'm sure.

I tried to go to bed timely, but for the third night in a row frustratingly, I just couldn't get to sleep. I believe this is the first time since I got on SparkPeople in October that I've had that much trouble getting to sleep. When I am sleep deprived I am at risk of overeating and underexercising. I need to be gentle with myself in many ways, but need to be tough about eating after getting up. I should only eat if the reason I can't sleep is hunger. And then I should only eat something that has no sugar. I believe that is the lesson I am to learn.

I didn't weigh this morning, but I'll weigh tomorrow. I don't think my little splurge will show up on the scale. If it does, I'll cut back a day or two. No harm done. Lesson learned.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMBRACE_SUCCESS 3/29/2010 11:58AM

    Realizing that we're approaching the moment of no return and stopping takes strength and self love. Developing a plan that honors yourself takes the same. So much of this is about awareness, isn't it??


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AQUAGIRL08 3/29/2010 8:47AM

    What is so great here is that you can see what you're doing and stop it! Kudos to you Marsha! You are amazing!

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MONTY68 3/28/2010 10:32PM

What makes you successful, is that you are aware and acknowledge the things that go on in life and work your way through it. Most people either don't recognize that anything is wrong or they are in denial. I am so glad to be part of Spark where I can see and be motivated and inspired by powerful people like you. Thank you Marsha, You are amazing.

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BOOKAPHILE 3/28/2010 7:05PM

    Wow! Did everyone fall into a weakness last night?! I'm down 24 pounds and continuing with the plan, but I fell into a big bowl of popcorn last night - and I did eat my way out. Because of that, I'm watching what I eat today. I think that it is better to have a splurge once in a while (Not close together!) than to make any food totally off limits - that just makes me crave it. I do need to work on restricting the size of my splurge, though.

May today bring us all fewer food cravings and tonight bring sweet sleep!

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WATERMELLEN 3/28/2010 6:39PM

    "After losing 80 pounds I look like a slender person. But reality is, I can still lose "it" really easily": I'm in exactly the same place, 80 pounds off also AND still have to watch the tendency to slide back into the attitudes of 80 pounds ago. That little frolic with the Honey Kix was me with the black pepper kettle chips a couple of days ago -- tracked 'em, still well within my calorie/carb/fat range (sacrificed protein to do it though) and stopped myself before it got worse. Why did I have kettle chips in the house?? "For my son" -- yeah, right!! If I buy 'em, I've already decided to eat 'em!!

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NOTSPEEDY 3/28/2010 6:04PM

    We all have our weaknesses. I'd name mine but have too many lol. Fortunately you save yourself in time. I wish lessons were that easy for me to learn. Have a good weigh day and a great week.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TBRANCH2 3/28/2010 4:14PM

    When I can't sleep in the night...which is VERY common for me to get up sometime during the night...I go to the computer and read people's blogs. It keeps me at the opposite end of the house as the kitchen. That in itself is a help!! You will do fine!!! You sound as if you are subconsciously pre-occupied. I know that is ALWAYS my problem!!! Thing about it.....

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SJSTOMPER 3/28/2010 3:29PM

    You'll be just fine!! :-)

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PERSISTANT123 3/28/2010 3:23PM

    Live and learn. Just about the time we think that we have it under control, something else happens to let us know that we need to remain vigilant .

I have a friend who told me that there would always be some foods that I would not have any self-control over. I thought she was joking when she asked me to hold "her stash" and only allow her one pre-portioned package when she asked for it. Reading your blog helps me to understand the truth of what she was trying to tell me.

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KALIGIRL 3/28/2010 1:48PM

    Isn't it great when we actually LEARN the lessons?

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AMBUDMAN 3/28/2010 12:09PM

    Well we all have our moments!! emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/28/2010 11:51AM

    I hear you there about the sleep deprivation thing! I discovered in high school and college that I could live without food, or I could live without sleep, but I couldn't live without both at the same time. Yes, a sick conclusion made by a foolish "immortal" under 20 year old.

Now I know I need both, in the right combination.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PO_PAZZA 3/28/2010 11:36AM

    Ah, those starving night gremlins. How many times would I have followed you to the kitchen. Many. The only thing saving me some nights is that we set a burglar alarm that goes off if there's any motion downstairs. To turn it off, I must press a button loud enough to wake up a sleeping spouse. That would be embarrassing. Who knew that a burglar alarm would be a diet aid?

Sleep well tonight.


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JOHAL52 3/28/2010 11:08AM

    I ate quite a lot last night. I think it was because in the back of my mind I thought "Well today is fast day at church anyway." Still not a good way to think.

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Go Ahead. Play with Your Food!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Several people liked this comment I made in response to a blog question about getting kids to eat veggies:

My 3 year old granddaughter and I make eating veggies a game. With asparagus, I hand her the cooked spear. She eats the very tip of it and hands it back to me. I eat down to the woody part. She thinks she's getting all the best part and gets a devilish look in her eye. I'm getting 25 stalks and she's getting 25 tips. Someday we'll have to quit eating with our hands, but she will eat so much more than making her use a fork.

One day last week I put three green beans on her plate. She ate them all and I clapped. She wanted more. We pretended to call daddy to tell him she ate 5 green beans. She ate 2 more. We pretended to call mommy. She ate 2 more. We "called" great grammy. She ate her final green bean with a smile on her face.

Today it was broccoli. She said she didn't want any, so I didn't put any on her plate. But I was eating and enjoying it. Suddenly there were little fingers going after my broccoli! I fake protested and we laughed and laughed.

Yesterday I made a rudimentary face from romaine, green pepper eyebrows and carrot coin eyes, mushroom button nose, and a big red pepper smile. I can't say she ate it all, but she eagerly tried the red pepper. I think I can improve on this theme. Maybe next time I'll use carrot curls for the hair -- she relates to curly hair.

Luckily, she loves fruit. Some veggies require a little playfulness! -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOTSPEEDY 3/27/2010 9:45PM

    Oh what fun!!! I want to be your granddaughter too lol.

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/27/2010 6:47PM

    Oh, what a great grandma you are to your little one! I had a grandmother that introduced me to the joys of spinach when I was young and it was one of my fave foods growing up. I do love my veg, never stopped, and she's one of the major reasons.

Angel Gramma award: emoticon
Good nutrition mentor award: emoticon

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KALIGIRL 3/27/2010 4:11PM

    What great fun - and maybe not just for kids?

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    What a great idea Marsha!

Nothing wrong with playing with your food!

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MONTY68 3/27/2010 11:49AM

What a great idea to get children to enjoy veggies.

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JOHAL52 3/27/2010 10:22AM

    You are SUCH a GOOD grandma! My grandchildren are not veggie eaters although the youngest likes broccoli with ketchup. I think my dd has taken them to McDonald's too many times. If we lived closer I would do what you are doing though :)

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NAKIOMA 3/27/2010 7:41AM

    I have done the same thing with my grand daughter - thrilled me to death when she called from the grocery to ask how to know when a rutabaga was ripe.............loved the blog.................

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DONNABRIGHT 3/27/2010 7:38AM

    You reminded me of fun things I did with my granddaughter when she was younger. At 11 years old, she is conscious of healthy eating although chicken fingers do stick in now and then!

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EMBRACE_SUCCESS 3/27/2010 1:31AM

    Great ideas Marsha and I love the creativity!

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LONGWINDINRD 3/27/2010 1:26AM

  So cute!

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