Cron-o-Meter

Deficiency

I got a great comment from a reader, Katie, about my post about the Cron-o-Meter. Here is her comment:

“I’m really happy you published this. I would never have known about it otherwise. I’ve been using it for about 5 days now and really like it. In addition to being a good weight management tool, it’s excellent for figuring out where nutrition needs to improve. Within a few days, I found out that I’m not getting anywhere near the potassium or vitamin D I need each day. Now that I know, I can fix it. Yay!”

I was happy to read that she liked the website and was finding a lot of value in it. But her comment also reminded me that I wanted to write a follow-up post about what I’ve also learned about my eating habits. I know where I need work in terms of the basics: I eat too many carbs, I don’t drink enough water, and I need to cut down on my sugar intake.

Beyond that, I wanted to know what I was deficient in. I try to eat a fairly balanced diet. My snacks are fresh fruit, I eat a lot of veggies. What works for me is high protein meals, and I do pretty well in staying within my calorie range each day. But what was my diet lacking?

The following info is just to give you an idea of what I learned and where I’m deficient.

Day One

This example does not include the Multi-Vitamin I take with breakfast. I wanted to see what I was naturally low in just with the food I eat every day. The conclusion:

Low in Vitamin C

Low in Vitamin E

Low in Vitamin K

Low in Potassium

 

Energy: 2379 (2030 net) kcal / 1693 kcal (141%)
Protein: 121.3 g / 46.0 g (264%)
Carbs: 288.8 g / 130.0 g (222%)
Fat: 68.9 g / 65.0 g (106%)
95% of Nutritional Targets Achieved

 

Day Two

Low in Potassium

Low in Vitamin K

Low in Fiber

 

Energy: 1918 (1167 net) kcal / 1693 kcal (113%)
Protein: 94.5 g / 46.0 g (205%)
Carbs: 195.4 g / 130.0 g (150%)
Fat: 87.5 g / 65.0 g (135%)
95% of Nutritional Targets Achieved

Day Three

This day includes the Vitamin B and Multi-Vitamin I take. Even taking those vitamins, I’m still low!

Low in Potassium

 

Energy: 2083 (1344 net) kcal / 1693 kcal (123%)
Protein: 99.9 g / 46.0 g (217%)
Carbs: 194.5 g / 130.0 g (150%)
Fat: 102.9 g / 65.0 g (158%)
97% of Nutritional Targets Achieved

 

Conclusion

First, the site is awesome and I love how in-depth it is with the information. I see patterns in my tracking and it made me rethink some of the stuff I’m eating. Yes, I know I eat a lot of carbs. Some of that is from all the fruit I eat–which I won’t be changing. Second, I’m happy that my “Nutritional Targets” were all pretty high. For the most part, my nutrients were fulfilled. Now on to the deficiencies.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K aids in blood clotting, protects the heart, and helps to build bones.

Vitamin K is found in green, leafy, vegetables like kale, collards, spinach, and turnip greens. It can also be found herbs, scallions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage and prunes. I eat a lot of salads and broccoli, so I’m actually surprised that I’m low in this. But it could just be that I’m not accurately recording the volume that I eat those things.

Potassium

Potassium is an essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balances in the body. A deficiency in potassium causes fatigue, irritability, and hypertension. This definitely makes sense to me!

Potassium rich foods are: avocados, apricots, bananas, prunes, raisins, pistachios, seeds (pumpkin, flax, etc), fish, beans, dates, chocolate, paprika and chili powder.

I used to eat a lot of bananas, but stopped eating them so often because of the high sugar content. I do eat a lot of fish and beans, so I’m surprised that I am deficient in Potassium. I also take a medication that can alter potassium levels in my body and I have to have an annual blood test to make sure my Potassium levels aren’t too HIGH. So this one makes me think it’s not a big issue.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can help protect against heart disease, cancer, and age related eye diseases.

Foods rich in Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, apricots, cooked spinach (yuck), herbs and green olives (martini anyone?).

I eat a lot of nuts but probably not a sufficient amount on a routine basis. I’m pretty hit or miss on how often I eat nuts–it’s usually just a “grab a handful at work to snack on” kind of thing.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a magical vitamin I think. It aids in developing scar tissue, blood vessels, cartilage, and dopamine. It’s a powerful antioxidant and in my line of work I need all the vitamin C I can get to keep from getting sick all the time!

The foods highest in Vitamin C are chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers, dark leafy greens (like kale and mustard greens), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kiwis, oranges, and strawberries. YUM! It’s all foods I love to eat!

Fiber

I’ve raved about fiber many times before. It’s an awesome thing when you’re trying to lose weight because you feel full! Fiber helps with proper digestion of foods, proper functioning of the digestive tract at large, and for helping you feel full.

Fiber rich foods are beans (YAY!), dark chocolate (sign me up!), bran, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, nuts, leafy green foods (mustard greens, kale), and squash.

The Verdict

I need to start eating kale, apparently.

I also want to buy a digital scale to measure some of the veggies and things I’m eating. Part of me thinks that I am actually getting enough nutrients–I’m just not measuring correctly.

QUESTION: Are you deficient in anything and if so, what? What foods are you trying to eat daily to make sure you aren’t deficient?

Power Your Diet with Science

WHERE DO I START?

It’s so overwhelming when we first start trying to lose weight. Exercise, food, how many calories do I eat, where do I track this stuff? It doesn’t HAVE to be hard. It can be really easy.

CRON-O-Meter is free to use and you can log in instantly. Adding your foods is super easy and extremely comprehensive.  And if you are like me and eat a lot of the same foods, you can copy and paste the information into other days.

  • Foods: Log everything you eat and get a comprehensive view of your nutrition.
  • Exercises: Log how much time you spend in physical activities, and we’ll keep track of how many extra calories you’ve burned.
  • Biometrics: Record measurements like your weight, body temperature, blood pressure, and cholesterol to track trends over time.

What is really cool about this program and what sets it apart from other tracking sites, is the break down and analysis. Maybe I’m just a super nerd but I LOVED seeing the break down of calories and where they are coming from (fat, protein, carbs, alcohol). If you are doing a special diet this is especially important because it can guide you through it. For example, are you doing Atkins? Or Low Carb? Then you want to know how much carbohydrates you’re consuming and what foods they are coming from.  (Remember my rude awakening during the Slow Carb Diet about how much carbohydrates were in fruit?? Grrrr!)

The nutrition report is comprehensive (and pretty!). You can choose daily reports or do weekly averages (way cool).

When entering the food, you also have the option for entering in recipes. This is especially useful if you have some favorites that you make a lot. One of the downsides to apps like MyFitnessPal was that this feature isn’t there. I can add foods but it’s a huge pain in the butt. Cron-o-Meter was so much easier!

Ask The Oracle

I LOVE this feature! You can do a search to find the best sources for things. For example, say I am deficient in iron (which I am). I can search for iron rich foods that I should be eating more of. Apparently I should be eating lentils, spinach and clams!

“The results can be ranked in three different ways: Highest amount Per Calorie, highest amount per Gram, and by The Oracle. The last option ranks foods according to a wide variety of factors. Ranking by nutrient density per calorie isn’t always a great way to find good foods to add to your diet to shore up a nutrient deficiency.”

Very cool. I love feeling smarter about food. 🙂 This is available with an upgraded membership–which starts at just $5.99. So not much damage to the wallet there!

How Much Weight Do I Want To Lose?

This is often the hard part for people just starting out. I had no idea the actual NUMBERS and stuff when I first started out. I just decided to eat less than 2,000 calories a day. But using this program helps you with that.

” Setting a weight goal will calculate the target calories you need to reach your goal based on your current vitals. For example, say your sedentary body requires 2500 calories per day to maintain your current weight. If your goal is to slowly lose weight at around one pound per week, you will need to target a net daily average calories of around 2000 calories per day.”

Awesome. Figure it out FOR me, computer!!

If I want to lose 1/2 a pound a week, I need to eat 1693 calories a day. Doesn’t sound too bad. I’m not sure yet if I can achieve that. I’m usually between 1800-2200 depending on if I exercise that day. But I’m willing to give it a try.

Sign Up Now

If you’re interested in trying this excellent program to get started on your weight loss goals, check it out! Just click on the link in my bar.

And thank you to my new sponsor. I love sharing new weight loss ideas with my readers!

QUESTION: What features are important to you in weight loss tracking programs?