iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path

Eat. Live. Be. for a Better 2011 – iChallenge 32 (Review: FitDay.com)

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My Update:  My parents came to visit this weekend and we had burgers, fries and ice cream.  I ate practically everything on my plate with happiness. I mean, how can you possibly look down on a brownie sundae?

Then my mother told me tonight:  I was surprised by how much you ate.

The glutton strikes again!

Ah well, at least I’m happy and pink!  🙂

iChallenge Week 32 Topic: Calories – Review of FitDay.com

I’ve always been aware of nutrition.   I would have had to live under a rock to not remember the Atkins Diet explosion which put carbohydrates on everyone’s radar. However, my relationship with nutrition has been sketchy.  I began watching my fat intake, then it progressed to sodium and cholesterol.  Through it all, I never really focused on calories.  In a way, I suppose I thought of calories as being the goal of dieters and I never once thought of myself as being on a diet.  If I weren’t on a diet, then why do I have to count calories?

Lately, the news is bombarding us with the latest “power” food or nutritional scare.  It becomes difficult to trust what to eat and what to avoid.  Authors have recently tackled this subject, and they discuss really interesting and informative guidelines to a more stable diet. (Such as Pollan’s Food Rules.)

Personally, I’ve been going more towards cooking everything we eat and watching what goes in them.

I’ve also begun watching my calories.

I know.

You’re thinking it already.

Calorie counting?  You’ve got to be kidding.

Yep.  Calorie counting.  And I’m actually liking it.  It keeps me honest.  It keeps me accountable.  If I’m tempted to “forget” to enter that half donut because it’d tip me over my daily recommended limit?  Well, the guilt starts to gnaw at me, and I figure that I’d feel less bad about it if I just owned up and put it in my numbers.

I use FitDay.com to record all of my calories.  Btw, I’m not sponsored by them or anything.  I came across the site when I was looking at a forum discussing weight issues.  People listed it as something they used so I decided to give it a go. I had never thought of calories as all that important,  but I’m quickly learning that it’s one component to a healthy eating lifestyle.

What is FitDay?

  • Fitday is a free website where you are given your own personal calendar to record food, calories, nutrition and exercise.  It has a “weight goal” section where it allows you to customize your weight targets (say, lose x pounds by the x date) and provides you with nutrition goals (how many calories to burn and how many to eat based on your personal data).  It’s private, so no one can view it unless you allow them access.

Is it easy to use?

  • Yes, all you do is enter in your food and up pops the items with the calories listed.  It tallies everything for you and keeps an accurate log.  The tabs are straightforward and it’s simple to add or subtract items from the lists.
  • It could be faster, however.  There is always a bit of delay where you have to wait for an entry to update, but it’s this side of tolerable.

What do you like about FitDay?

  • Honestly?  That it shows me in chart form how well I’m doing with consumption and output.  I’m a bit geeky like that.  Below is my overview chart for the past 7 days (glutton day included!).  You’ll note that it tells you what portion of your intake is carbs, fat and protein.  It also tells you what your calorie balance is in relation to exercise and your nutrition levels.  I really like looking at the charts and graphs because it makes everything much easier to see.  I can tell when I’m overloading on carbs or when my Vitamin D levels are seriously too low.

Click to view full size

  • I also really like how “bare bones” it is – there aren’t any frills or fancy things with FitDay.  All you get are charts and tallies.  This works for me since I don’t really need anything more than something to log all of my food for the day.
  • I love how I can keep track of my daily activities, too.  At first, I thought it was a bit silly and over the top.  Why on earth would I want to log how many minutes I spent washing the dishes?  Or doing the shopping?  But as I played with this feature, I learned that by listing my daily activities, I could see what was affecting my calorie burn.  I also became more accountable to that list – if it was full of “watching television” and “sleeping” then I knew that I had to get up and go do something to help balance it.
  • It also allows me to create a custom food – this is great since a lot of food I eat isn’t in their database (see gripe below).

What don’t you like about FitDay?

  • The fact that a lot of the food I eat isn’t listed in their database so I have to “create a custom food”.
  • You have to watch their default amount when you pick something like “soft drink” – it’s usually set at an ounce and I don’t know about you, but I have yet to get to the point where I’m measuring the ounces I drink from a can of Coke.
  • I hate having to log in each and every day and how it logs you out if you’re “inactive”.  Annoying.
  • I also dislike how it doesn’t let you store your sugar levels.  It gives you the ability to store a food’s carbs and fiber, but there isn’t any way to store the sugar content.  Seeing as how this is an important aspect to food and sensible eating, I’d love to be able to keep track of it.  I’ve heard that they’re working on it, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Overall:  4 stars out of 5

It’s a good site to keep track of calories and exercise and while it does let you do more (like moods, weight, body measurements, etc), I find them unimportant and even a little silly.  The site could be better with more food entries and options, but for a free website, it’s got a lot going on that I like.  The nice thing about using a site such as FitDay is how more aware I am about food sizes and nutrition.  This helps me regulate how much I eat and what I eat with more ease.

Course, there are days where I’m still happy and pink even with all of this calculating and measuring.  And that’s a good thing. 🙂

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Author: iscribbler

A girl scribbling her way through health, love, food and life.

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