Move Over Weight Watchers, the New Pyramid is Here!
I would never dismiss any dieting or nutrition program that really works, and my goal is not to discredit commercial options that have worked for many. However, I get really jazzed when I can find comparable resources for free, especially when they have been provided by our government. Meet my newest ally in the fight against unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle – MyPyramid.gov .
While there is way too much information on the website to explain it all here, there are a few highlights that I am excited to share:
- My Pyramid Tracker is a detailed assessment of your daily eats and how you burn calories. This tool is one of the easiest to use. Simply select your foods from the list (search feature enabled), enter your portion number, and hit “analyze.” The tracker will tell you how your daily fare compares to the nutritional guidelines recommended for a person of your height, weight, and age. With one click of a button, I was able to see that I should be drinking an extra glass of milk, and that if I continue eating like I did at my son’s birthday party, I can expect a 1 pound weight gain per week!
- In addition to the food log and nutritional analysis, there is an activity guide and assessment. By selecting the activities that you engage in each day, you can determine your average calorie burn and how it will affect your weight. (Note: When you first set up your profile, be sure to choose the condensed option. This option will guesstimate your base activity during the day, but will prevent you from having to record every time you stood up or walked to the bathroom.) I found it to be a fairly accurate way to track my activity, and it motivated me to squeeze in a little extra movement during my day. Not everyone will find their normal activities represented by the tracker; there were some interesting activities listed, including “butchering animals” and “cooking Indian bread on an outside stove.” Apparently these are calorie-burners….
- The My Pyramid for Moms tool was highly educational, but completely practical. By basing nutritional needs on your age, pregnancy stage, or nursing demands, it can calculate caloric intake and offer a menu plan that is easy to implement into the lives of any momma! Special articles address vitamins, pregnancy weight gain, breastfeeding, and food safety.
- My Pyramid Menu Planner offers the ability to build a meal plan down to the last detail and offers you the nutritional values of everything before you eat it. This is perfect for individuals who are hoping to tweak an existing meal plan to be more nutritious.
Overall, I was really impressed with the offerings of the My Pyramid website. One registration covers log-in at all the included sites. It is web-based, so you can use it from home or work. Most importantly, there are no clubs to join, meetings to attend, or credit cards to charge!
Rarely do I find that a free website offers the level of detail I want in a nutritional tool. I need customized plans, calorie counters, exercise logs, and a level of accountability. The MyPyramid.gov website offers all of that, and you won’t be required to weigh in weekly with a salesperson or attend support groups (if you don’t want to, that is.) The customized settings make for a fairly accurate representation of my caloric intake and needs. It gives me a chance to make small changes towards a better lifestyle, and it won’t yell at me if I eat two pieces of ice cream cake.
(A special thank you to Tina for sharing this resource with me!)