A Different Way To Track

I could not imagine a nicer week to have spring break. Temps in the 70’s and sun forecasted all week! The weekend was gorgeous as well. On Saturday, we headed to Rhinbeck, which is a town not too far from New Paltz, to explore the town and see a movie at Upstate Films, which is an independent movie theater. We used to go to Spectrum Theater in Albany a lot when we lived in Saratoga, so it was nice to find another indie theater.
We saw Friends With Kids, which was bad. I have a pretty high tolerance for crappy movies (chick flicks and the like) because sometimes I just want to zone out and watch something that takes no effort, but this movie was SO. BORING. I had hopes because it stars Ben from Parks & Rec and Jessica Stein from Kissing Jessica Stein (I’m to lazy to look up their real names), plus (not nearly enough) Maya Ruldoph and Kristen Wiig, but it was just poorly written. Oh well.

We wanted to go on a hike at Minnewaska on Sunday but errands ate up most of our morning, so we  settled for a walk on the rail trail in the afternoon and a longer walk after the sun went down and it cooled off a bit (which is crazy to say in March). We did get our hike in yesterday, though! We did the same trails as last time, and realized that the hike it closer to 8 miles than 7. It felt awesome to get that much exercise in! It was so warm and sunny, so that was awesome. We forgot to wear sunscreen, so we both got sunburned like a couple of morons. I know that you’re supposed to wear it year round. I need to figure out how to get in the habit of wearing it every day. I have yet to find a sunscreen that doesn’t feel greasy; any suggestions would be much appreciated!

So far today I’ve been deep cleaning and reorganizing my apartment. I don’t do well with just relaxing. It feels so great to get thing cleaned and in order!

I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of tracking my calories once again because I know that I’ve been eating too many deserts, and writing down what I eat all day long really keeps me on track. When I know I have to put that cookie in my food diary and that it will make me go over the appropriate number of calories, it really deters me from eating it. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal for over a year now, and there are a lot of things that I really like about it. Pretty much any food you could ever eat is in the database, and you can enter your own recipes, so it’s really easy and quick to use. You can customize your goals with regards to how many calories you want to eat along with your macronutrient breakdown. The problem that I have is that I’m kind of bored of using MFP just because I get bored easily. I was searching around the internet and I found a different food tracker that I think it set up in a really cool way.

The website is called Super Tracker and is actually put out by the USDA, so I was initially really skeptical (based on what passes as vegetables in a school lunch I don’t have much faith in the government’s nutrition recommendations), but I think it’s a pretty good one. The thing that I really like about it is that it really focuses on getting the right breakdown of macronutrients in a visual way. MFP also tracked macros, but in a way that was easy to ignore. The way this tracker is set up really encourages me to get a good variety of foods in my day.

Super Tracker gives you a calorie goal based on your height, weight, and activity level, as well as the ability to track whether you are getting the appropriate amount of protein, grains, vegetables, fruits, and diary as prescribed by the government. As you enter your foods for the day, a bar graph displays how you’re doing so far:

I have entered my breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack for today. Based on this chart, I know that I should eat one more piece of fruit today as well as some grains and protein (a piece of wheat toast with PB, for example). Because I’m lactose intolerant, I find the milk & yogurt section really hard to fulfill. Almond milk counts (though I have to log it as soy milk because they database doesn’t have almond milk), but drinking 3 cups of almond milk a day isn’t very appealing to me. I’m not too worried because I try to get lots of greens to make up for the calcium.

Another chart that shows up is your daily calorie allowance, along with how many oils, fat, sodium, and “empty calories” you can eat:
I really like the empty calorie feature, because it causes me to be really mindful of the things I’m eating to make sure they are as nutritious as possible, though it’s not without problems. Not surprisingly since I’m sure the USDA lives in the pockets of major corporations, things that are not considered “empty calories” are sometimes questionable. I had a bowl of Fruity Pebbles last week, and that was not counted towards my empty calories. Um, okay? My guess is that they don’t want to discourage the public from eating the foods from the companies that give them buckets of money.

Super Tracker also allows you to track your exercise for the week. You set a goal and it tracks whether you are meeting your goal along with letting you know what benefits you are getting from the amount of exercise you are logging:
I just started using ST last week, but I really like it a lot. I hope that they expand their database some more, because my main frustration is that some foods aren’t in there (almond milk for example), and I don’t like that when you are choosing the quantity of foods you are really limited. For example, under baby carrots, you have the choice of selecting that you had 1-8 baby carrots. Who eats 8 or fewer baby carrots? I’ve been able to work around these limitations pretty easily (logging soymilk instead of almond, choosing 1 cup of chopped regular carrots instead of baby carrots, etc), but it would be nice if the database was as extensive as MFP.
I also wish that you had more control over your calorie goals. 2000 is a bit too much for me because I’d like to lose a little bit of weight. I just eat fewer than 2000 calories, but I wish that I could adjust my allotted number because surely that would change my allotted number of empty calories as well as those from fat, etc.

Now I’d better get back to my spring cleaning!

As a disclaimer, I am reviewing this website just because it’s something I found useful, nobody from the USDA even knows I exist let alone asked me to review it.

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