How much does it cost?

15 08 2012

 

Myia Welsh

When I started here at the WMP in July, I knew that food logging was something we asked participants to do. My new coworkers told me about MyFitnessPal. I can’t help anyone use a tool I’m not familiar with, so I gave it a try.

In the back of my mind, I was skeptical. I had tried food logging in the past and it was a disaster. Hesitantly, I gave MyFitnessPal a try. I used both the online version and the phone app. This tool is fantastic (click here for the link if you haven’t checked it out yourself)! It’s so much easier than anything I’ve tried before. No looking up calorie amounts. I don’t have to do any of the math to calculate my protein intake. As an added bonus, I can use it to track how much water I’m drinking and calories burned through exercise. This means I have much better insight into how I feel during the day and during workouts. Did I get enough water in the last few days? Am I eating enough protein? Now I can answer those questions.

The most notable result is a change in my choices. I’m much more aware now of the impact of the food I’m eating. It’s helped me to think about calories in food a little like I think of dollars. When looking at a restaurant menu, I have always thought about which options will give me the most food for my money. Now I’m thinking more about which options will give me the most food for the amount of calories I want to spend. How much does it cost? Then I started thinking more about cost abstractly. I might feel confident that I’ll burn off that order of waffle fries in the course of my exercise this week, but what did those fries cost me? First, they cost me the additional time I’d add on to my workout. Second, they might cost me a day of feeling a little yucky. I know I feel more sluggish when my body is fueled by waffle fries, and day of feeling not quite right was too high a cost.

Then I got a little mad. How many times have I overspent my calories by splurging on the fries and beer in one evening? How much extra time have I spent at the gym that I could have spent with my husband? How many days have I wasted feeling like a zombie, just counting the seconds until I can go home and nap? These days I’m thinking more about caloric splurges the same way I’d think about buying something I really want. I save up for it.

Are your food choices costing you more than you want to pay? What do you do to stay within your budget?

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