My Fitness Pal - Food Diary Page
Some folks forget to eat; others forget how much they ate.
Life is busy, and it can be hard to keep track. Still, studies have shown again and again that the single most effective strategy for weight loss and weight maintenance is doing just that – keeping track of everything you eat from your first cup of coffee with creamer to that chocolate cake before bedtime that you were hoping to forget about.
It’s not surprising news, really. It makes sense that taking time to jot down what we are eating makes us more mindful about how much we are eating and how many calories we are consuming.
The old fashioned way to do this is to keep a food diary with a pen and paper, but there is an easier way. A multitude of diet tracking programs can simplify the process. One of the best is the free website and mobile phone app from MyFitnessPal.com.
What is it?
My Fitness Pal is a free tool via internet or mobile phone that can help you meet your nutrition and exercise goals. Based on your individual weight and fitness goals, My Fitness Pal provides you with an estimate of how many calories you need. Then throughout the day, it gives you a convenient place to look up nutritional information and record the food you eat. At the end of the day, it tells you if you are on target or over the recommended amount.
How does it work?
You simply register, then log into the app when you eat or drink something and select what you ate from the site’s huge database of fresh and pre-packaged foods. You can also tally up and save your favorite recipes and record the number of portions you’ve eaten.
In addition, there is a function where you can record your exercise by selecting from another large data base of cardiovascular and strengthening exercises. Once recorded, the calories burned are added to your daily allotment. So if you want to eat that chocolate cake, you know just how long you’ll have to spend at the gym to stay within your calorie goals.
In addition to helping to keep track, My Fitness Pal also acts a bit like a pocket personal trainer helping to motivate you. The app predicts your weight in 5 weeks, based on the calories consumed and burned each day. It also offers a forum, where members offer each other fitness tips and support.
Diet tracking apps aren’t for everyone, and it still requires a big commitment to track your food and exercise daily. For some, however, it’s nice to have a “pal” in their pocket to help stay on track.
Photo credit: coreperformance.com
No ifs, ands or butts about it, the gluteal (buttocks) muscles, or glutes, are the most important muscle group in our bodies. In athletics, they help us run faster, jump higher, cut faster and lift heavier objects. In life, strong glutes not only make it easier to walk up and down steps and squat more efficiently, but they protect the back.
Nowadays, we are sitting more than ever – at the computer, in our cars, on the sofa – and the pressure on and disuse of muscles while we sit can lead to glute muscular atrophy. In other words, when we don’t use it, we lose it. Weak glutes can lead to a loss of function, injuries and pain, especially as we age. These issues include: low back pain, difficulty climbing steps or getting out of a chair, and balance challenges.
One way to compensate for our sedentary lifestyles and to stay strong and flexible is to perform a simple exercise called the “the bridge.” This blog post at Core Performance lists seven ways to perform a bridge and includes video demonstrations. The key to proper form is to focus on contracting the glutes as you move as if you are “cracking a walnut between your cheeks.” (Now that’s a metaphor that will stick with you, isn’t it?!)
By making the bridge, in any variation, a part of your regular fitness program, you’ll not only improve your athletic performance, it will enable you to stay fit for day-to-day activities as well. It can be a bridge to a stronger, healthier you.
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. – Tommy Lasorda
At work and in life, some days are more challenging and others more rewarding than others. For physical therapist and endurance athlete, Dan Allen, it’s the challenges and the rewards together that make it all worthwhile.
Dan completed his DPT from Arcadia University in 2005 and began work in at Apex Physical Therapy in Lionville in January 2012. When he isn’t working, he’s either spending time with his wife and young son, or training – HARD! ! He competes in triathlons, runs with the West Chester Running Club, and leads CrossFit training.
Determined to Excel
“My love of endurance sports came when I was in high school,” he said. “I found that I always had to push myself harder than others to achieve what they made look easy, and I became determined to excel at what they thought was hard.”
Before becoming a physical therapist, Dan spent 19 years in the fitness industry at the YMCA, working as a pool lifeguard in his teens and eventually as a fitness supervisor during college and graduate school. He has always pushed his own fitness boundaries, but through his work at the YMCA, Dan learned he has a great capacity to motivate others, as well.
“I know I am a motivator and teacher and want to instill confidence and independence in others,” he said.
Like the time this past fall, when he treated a young 10-year-old patient, who had bilateral surgeries to lengthen his Achilles tendons. He was casted and on a walker.
“He afraid he would fall when I met him,” Dan said. “He could not even walk from the front door into the PT gym without stopping to sit because he was so out of breath. My most rewarding on-the-job experience was when (after treatment), he was able to run into my clinic and jump on the low mat table for the first time. That last day of therapy was special, it made me cry.”
Dan originally considered becoming a physician, but he eventually realized that doctors don’t always have the time needed to get know their patients very well. They also don’t have the training in the treatments and methods that can make a person’s movements functional. Since becoming a PT, Dan hasn’t looked back.
Leading the Way
He takes joy in helping people meet their goals outside of work,, as well. At 5:15 every morning, he leads daily CrossFit-style training sessions with a West Chester group called the “Tough Dubbers.” The focus is on core strength, conditioning and camaraderie through activities like running, swimming, gymnastics and biking. “I want to help as many people as I can,” he said. “Tell them to come and visit me in Lionville!”
Photo credit: Beth Bischoff for Women’s Health
Are you considering starting a new fitness program, but don’t know “squat” about the best way to begin? A squat, done properly, uses lots of muscle groups from core to toe so an improper squat can be a sign that your body is compensating for tightness or weakness in several key areas. This article in Woman’s Health
explains how to do a preliminary assessment of your fitness level by taking a look at the way you perform squats.
Better yet, why not make an appointment with a fitness professional trained in the Functional Movement Screen (FMS)? FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function. It was developed by a physical therapist, Gray Cook, and athletic trainer, Lee Burton to identify limitations and inefficient movement patterns.
The screen consists of seven movements which combine coordination, mobility and stability. As the client is put through these movement patterns, asymmetries and limitations are easily identified. Early identification of these issues can prevent future injuries and help you get a safe start to your new fitness program.
E & A Therapy has fifteen clinicians certified in providing Functional Movement Screens. Read more about FMS, or call the location closest to you if you are interested in making an appointment to work with one of our physical therapists.
Frank Rabadam, Director; Jean Wombough, PSR; Meredith Mayes, PT
After a busy weekend and some fancy footwork, Excel physical therapists and staff welcomed patients to the new Excel Jenkintown clinic. The move was completed in two quick days to insure as little interruption as possible to patients’ treatment, and the new, more accessible facility will make it easier for all of our patients to get the treatment they need.
Monday was an exciting day at the clinic. Staff settled quickly into their new work areas, new equipment gleamed, and bright sunshine flowed through the windows.
Our patients give the facility rave reviews:
“The place is beautiful, spacious, so bright!”
“It’s much easier to park and get to!”
“And the staff is as great as ever…even though they make you work hard to get better!”
Congratulations to Clinic Director, Frank Rabadam, Physical Therapist Meredith Mayes, and Patient Service Representatives, Jean Wombough, and Donna Tonkin on your new “home.” We know how pleased you are to have a great new facility to better serve your patients. Thanks for doing all the hard work required to make it happen.
Find us at: One Abington Plaza, 101 Old York Road, Suite 204, Jenkintown; 215-886-5520.
The team at our Villanova did such a wonderful job helping a couple to get moving again that they inspired this love poem. That’s our E&A Team, downright inspiring!