Operation Up Scale – Calorie Counting

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I’m a little over a week into my quest to gain some weight and things are going pretty well.  I mentioned in my first Up Scale post that I have to count calories in order put on weight.  I hate counting calories.  However, I found something that has made it so much easier!  A friend of mine told me about MyFitnessPal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/), a free online tool and smartphone application that tracks calories and exercise.  Most people use it to lose weight, but it is possible to adjust the settings in order to make a weight gain goal.  I added a target number of calories I wanted to consume each day and I was on my way.

It’s a really cool app.  I can scan bar codes off a package with my phone and the nutrition information will come up.  From there I can edit the serving size and it modifies the calories for me.  I can also search the database for foods that don’t come with bar codes like fruits and vegetables, and all the nutrition info is added in.  I can input recipes that I make regularly and it calculates the calories for each serving.  Each day, I simply enter what I eat under breakfast, lunch, dinner,  and snacks.  It deducts the calories consumed from my target amount of calories, and even adjusts for exercise.

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It shows me what percentage of my calories are consumed in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. I can also see some of the major vitamins and minerals.

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I found out that I wasn’t always getting the recommended daily amount of sodium (adjusted for the higher calorie intake) which is especially problematic for me since I need extra salt.  This is because when a CF patient sweats, the sodium and chloride (salt) that carries water to the surface of the skin are not reabsorbed into the body like they should be (this is part of the basic defect), so I lose lots of salt, especially during the hot weather months.  In fact, you can actually see grains of salt sitting on my skin on the hottest summer days.  Low salt levels lead to weakness, dehydration, and other problems so it’s important for me to be aware of how much I’m getting.

With the help of this application I’ve been able to consume roughly 3200 calories each day for about 10 days running now.  I’m not going to lie, I’m sick of eating.  (Anyone else out there lose their appetite in hot weather?)  But I have gained more than a pound already which is motivating.  I’m happy to be on my way, and thrilled to have found a way to make it easier!

 

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