This is day 5 of the first edition of the book 2 Weeks to Health, a 2-week course designed to kick start a healthier life. The expanded and reworked second edition is set to be released in the summer of 2018.
The beauty of food as medicine is that the choice to heal and promote health can begin as soon as the next meal.
Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. To be healthy (and to look good), you need to understand what you are putting into your body. Yesterday we discussed the MyPlate model and introduced macronutrients (macros) and micronutrients (micro). Today you will learn how to monitor your intake of macronutrients. As a reminder, macronutrients make up your calories. Because of this, the first part of this section is going to discuss calorie counting. The second part, which I will consider optional but highly recommended, will discuss macronutrient counting. But why should you put in the extra work to count macronutrients? Like I mentioned in the note yesterday, everyone needs a slightly different diet, and some diets are better for weight control than others. By counting your macronutrients you can learn more about your diet and what works best for you.
When you buy any food from a store, there is a section on the package labeled ‘Nutrition Facts’. For the next couple days I need you to pay close attention to this label, we are going audit your current diet and discuss it on day 8. Anything you eat or drink you will be written down in a journal or piece of paper that I recommend you carry with you everywhere. This journal should keep track of every food you eat or fluid you drink in a given day. You also need to track how many servings of that food you ate, how many calories are in a serving, and then how many total calories you ate. Every day you should have a total number of calories you consumed in that day. This will give us a base for a discussion on weight control later in this course.
—-Optional but Highly Recommended—-
If you choose to do the optional macronutrient counting then you will need to keep track of the grams of carbs, fats, and protein you consume. In the back on this book there are workouts logs that you can use to help you with this, or you can make your own journal.
Whenever you eat or drink anything, you need to write down the food/drink, and look at the nutrition facts on the package, just like you did with just calories. From the nutrition facts write down the serving size, carbs, fats, and proteins. Then look at the serving size, the servings per container, and how much you ate. Determine how much you ate and write down how many servings you ate. Please be completely honest, there is no reason to lie to yourself. Make sure you are taking portion size into account.
Multiply the carbs, fats, and proteins by the number of servings you ate to determine the number of carbs, fats, and proteins eaten. Serving sizes vary from food to food so even if you believe you know the serving size, recheck it. For example, a bottle of soda usually has 2 servings in it, so you have to multiply everything on the nutrition facts label by 2 in order to know what you consumed.
At the end of each day, add up the amount of carbs, fats, and proteins you consumed, and start over the next day. The goal is to see how many grams of carbs, fats, and proteins you consume per day.
—-End Optional but Highly Recommended Section—-
If you eat out or eat something like chips, it may be difficult to accurately estimate the nutritional values of what you ate. For something like chips, take your best guess. For a restaurant, they often post nutrition facts on their website, so a quick Google search might tell you. For everything else I recommend using http://www.wolframalpha.com. If you search “nutrition facts [insert food here]” on Wolfram Alpha, it will most likely have an answer for you. So if you ate a hamburger at a restaurant, Wolfram Alpha will tell you the average nutrition facts of an average hamburger. If you eat a banana or some fruit, it will also be able to tell you the nutrition facts for those as well. It has a database of almost every food.
The next two days I expect you to log everything you eat to the best of your ability. The more accurate you are, the better we will be able to analyze your current diet in a couple days.
I hope you have/had a great workout today! Keep up the momentum!