If you've read and followed the advice from the Jan 27 blog "Get To Know Your Resting Metabolic Rate" you know your caloric expenditure when at rest. The idea behind this post is to expand what you know about your caloric needs by incorporating some additional detail.
While the objective of this post may seem pretty daunting, there is an easy ways to do this, and best of all, it's free! You do want to make sure you're keeping an accurate count so be sure to include what you're putting in your head as well as what you're burning during exercise. While you may be tempted to underreport what you eat and overreport your exercise, you'll only be lying to yourself. Be truthful, be accurate and you'll gain a great deal of knowledge during this week-long exercise.
One of the most popular ways to track calories is by registering with MyFItnessPal http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ This is a very robust site that provides calorie tracking from a database with almost 4 million foods, provides mobile apps for iPhone & Android, provides support and motivation and allows you to accurately track your exercise.
I've used MyFitnessPal over the years and one of the really cool features that I like is the ability to scan barcodes with your phone if the food doesn't happen to be in their database. In the unlikely event you actually come across a food not in their database, once you enter a new food, it becomes available for all other users. As you might imagine the database is constantly expanding. However, like WikiPedia, you do have to be somewhat careful about using what other's have entered. Make sure to review your selections with a critical eye to get as accurate a calorie count as possible.
The exercise tracking feature of MyFitnessPal is also quite robust with many different forms of exercise, intensities, distances and times. It calculates your calorie burn based on the weight you entered when you registered.
If you've never tracked your calories prepare to be surprised. I must admit that I haven't tracked my intake for a couple of years now and when I entered my information this morning I was surprised, or perhaps shocked is a better word, that what I thought was a fairly light breakfast was 569 calories. I must excuse myself for now as I've got to go work off that breakfast.
DrKPMay Mar 2, 2014