If you are just joining us, then let me give you a short recap. At the beginning of the year, I decided that New Year’s Resolutions were unrealistic and hard to maintain. Mainly because you are asked to change a general habit over a long period, instead of setting specific short term goals. So rather than setting a “New Year’s Resolution”, we are setting “new month resolutions”. Each month we set a measurable goal to work toward and try to carry that through the rest of the year.
There are so many benefits to food journaling, but one of the best is the ability to look at what you are actually eating and start changing habits. What you might not know is the function of the “pie chart” in most electronic journals like MyFitnessPal. This tool in the electronic journal gives you a picture of what percentage of nutrients you are eating.
What should your pie chart look like? The goal for weight loss: 50% protein, 30% fat, 20% carbohydrate.
So let’s talk about how to go from this
Making small changes in your diet can make a great deal of difference.
1. How to get carbohydrate intake under 20%:
– Omit starches. Foods like bread, potatoes, chips, pasta, tortillas, etc make your carbohydrate percentage skyrocket and do not contribute to weight loss.
– Be mindful of protein bars. While protein bars work well for convenience as a meal replacement, doing more than one per day can increase your carbohydrate intake significantly.
– Consider your fruit. While fruit is not bad for you, it does contribute natural sugar to your diet. Keep your fruit intake to one serving per day and fill the rest with vegetables.
2. How to get protein intake to 50% and fat intake to 30%:
– Protein at every meal. If you skip on protein at just one meal, then it will be hard to catch up at the end of the day. Make a list of protein sources that you like to eat and choose something from that list for every meal.
– Choose leanest cuts of protein most often. High fat meats will make your fat percentage higher than the protein. For example, look at the pie charts for a regular cheese stick versus a low fat cheese stick. In this case, choosing the low fat version makes a big difference in the end. Other examples of lean proteins include chicken breast, pork tenderloin, turkey breast, and fish.
– Strictly limit healthy fats. Salad can be a great meal option with the addition of grilled chicken, fish, or deli meat for the protein. However, some salads come with more additions than that. Be aware of any added seeds, nuts, avocados, olives, and salad dressing. All of these can add up to make a salad more calorie dense and higher in fat.
– Make snacks protein based. If you are hungry between meals, reach for a protein based snack. A great high protein snacks would be Ostrim Beef Jerky/Sticks.
3. Additional tips to remember:
– Not all calories are equal. When food journaling, especially in one like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt, a “calorie goal” is required. I encourage my patients to ignore calorie counting and pay more attention to the quality of foods.
– Change the default goals. MyFitnessPal will give you default goals for the percentages (you can see them in the pictures above). You can change these on the computer at myfitnesspal.com (I just figured out how!!!) but not on your phone. Log in to your account on the computer, then click on the “goals” tab. Under that tab, click “change goals”, then “custom” and click continue. Enter the goals I mentioned above: protein 50%, fat 30%, and carbohydrate 20%.
Keep food journaling and reference your pie chart. If you have specific questions about your pie chart or food journal, email or call your dietitian! Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.