Thursday, April 15, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Diet record-keeping

So I'm taking this nutrition class, and one of the key exercises is keeping track of everything you eat for five days, once at the beginning of the quarter and again, later, when you will allegedly will have learned enough to mend your wayward chow-hounding.

I think I've done pretty well, but the program we're using to keep track keeps record of both eats and activities. I say "but" because the short questionnaire the program uses has labeled me as "active" and thus believes I need nearly 2,500 calories a day just to keep my head above water. I'm dubious.

I'm also skeptical of the claims about how much the kinds of exercise I do count. For example, I swim (hard, baby). I did a pretty aggressive half-hour yesterday (Friday) and the gizmo thinks that's about 400 calories burnt. I don't know about that. I find it hard to believe that a half-hour swim could counteract, say for example, a six-shot bender of vodka (65 calories apiece). To put it a different way, the swim would amount to four normal peanut butter spoons (1 tablespoon each).

Anyway, the upshot of the five-day deal is that I have been paying way, way more attention to my eating patterns. I probably have snacked a lot less than usual on account of the record-keeping. If you believe my friend Chris Sawin, a college pal, the bad-habit-breaking/positive-habit-forming threshold is 17 days. I assume he came up with that during one of his quit-smoking efforts. Anyway, I'm not sure 17 is right, but five surely is to few?

I've tried to act normal this week, but I'm sure I've cut back. And because I tend to eat cyclically (i.e. I'll go on a V-8 jag starting tonight and lasting a couple weeks, then avoid the stuff), I am certain this isn't going to be super representative. But it is interesting!