Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thing 34: Using the Web for Better Health

For some of us losing weight is never easy. Fortunately, there are nifty online tools available to help you along the way. I've found two that I recommend - FitDay and Nutridiary. They have similar features, and both are helpful. Set a target weight and track the calories consumed and calories burned. You can do this daily or, if that's too much of a time commitment, use these tools to occasionally look up the nutritional content of last night's dinner or find the approximate number of calories you burned working in the yard.

Here's how it works. You enter basic information about yourself (height, weight, age, lifestyle level). Using this information, the website calculates an approximate value for daily basal (metabolic) calories burned and lifestyle calories burned. For any given day, you can enter calories burned from activity, which ranges from biking to household chores to yard work. The sum of these three categories equals the total calories burned per day. Then you can enter the foods consumed on any given day. From this information, the website calculates total calories consumed, as well as where these calories come from and how they are distributed. It also creates a chart of all of the necessary vitamins and minerals and records how much of each you are getting, highlighting any that you are not getting enough of.

The only significant difference that I can find between the two services is that Nutridiary is also a social network. If you diet better with "community" support, perhaps Nutridiary would be a better choice for you.

Discovery Exercise
  1. Create an account at Nutridiary or FitDay
  2. Fill in the food chart and the activity chart for a typical day. Find out how the number of calories consumed compares to the number of calories burned.
  3. Find out whether you are meeting recommended nutrient requirements. Are there any nutrients for which you aren't getting the recommended amount?
  4. Evaluate the site in your Learning 2.1 blog.