"When I get sad, I just stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story." - How I Met Your Mother


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Latest Obsession: MyPlate at Livestrong.com

Being that I am a cyclist, one might think that I knew about this ages ago since Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong mantra is like the most mainstream cycle thing there is. Truth be told I only "discovered" the amazingness of this website last week by total accident.

Livestrong.com acts as a complete epicenter for healthy living. It is designed for everyone; from the seasoned athlete trying to get the competitive edge to the average jane/joe looking to lose a few.  I have been playing around on this site for a few days now and there are so many awesome features; I just really feel the compelled to share (also, of course I find this site during the week I am not allowed to do any physical activity...but I guess it is a good thing I found it now).

The majority of the features on this website are FREE (don't you love that word?!); however, if you want some more seriously advanced fitness & health tracking features you will have to shell out a whopping $45/year.  (How much does Weight Watchers cost?? I am thinking this is a steal)  The first step is to figure out your daily calorie goal.  This goal is based on your basic stats (age, height, weight, gender, etc), your activity level, and your health goal (maintain weight, lose weight at x lbs per week, etc.).  The next step is to start tracking.

Ok, so I like adventure sports and outdoor activities, but honestly I am not a health nut.  Anyone who knows me (or reads my blog) knows that I LOVE food, especially in the form of cupcakes.  I would say that in my quest for a healthy figure and fitness level eating well is my BIGGEST challenge.  Especially with a fiance like mine who is extremely athletic, skinny as a rail, and can eat like one of those Asian competitive food eaters without gaining a pound. Constantly being around someone who eats that much and does not have to worry about his food choices can be extremely difficult; temptation is a wicked beast.  So for me, I find the myplate food tracker to be amazing.  First, it has practically everything you can think of stored in there with a full nutritional breakdown.  I am a huge nerd and fully enjoy looking things up that I plan to eat or have eaten. 

The myplate is an extremely easy way to keep a food journal and it does all sorts of cool analysis for you.  All you have to do is enter in your food ...how easy is that?!

It will point out to you areas in your diet where you need to improve and areas where you are doing well.  As you can see, I have been consuming too much sugar and too little fiber.  No wonder I am always hungry!  The tracker is great because it keeps records of foods you eat often so you can select them more easily, but you can also create meals (groups of things you may eat on a daily basis like cereal and milk) and add recipes of things you cook at home.
While you track you food intake, you can also track your fitness and calorie deficit from normal everyday tasks.  Did you know desk work burns 119 cal/hr?? Go figure.  The last feature (probably my favorite) is the My Loops function.  Here you can map out running, walking, and cycling routes (linked through google maps) and based on your weight, distance, & speed it can calculate the calories expended on that route.  Again, I am a huge dork and had the best time mapping out two of my most common biking routes on it...you can also find other user's loops in your area (there are none in Doha unfortunately, except mine now).

There are a ton of more features to this site, like articles about healthy weight loss, fun exercises to do at home, etc. but I'm sure I've already bored you to death so I am just going to let you go and explore on your own.  Don't blame me if you get addicted though!

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