Most people know that obesity increases the risk of noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease (heart disease, hypertension, stroke), diabetes and cancer. As food portions and caloric density have increased dramatically, we consume more sugary, salty, fatty foods.
Living in an obesogenic environment, the total calories we eat should remain less than the total calories we burn. Yet unlike with financial accounting, where it is easy to keep a budget, it is difficult to measure how many calories we eat and how many we burn. But we don’t need to keep track of our exact food intake and exercise. We just need to do enough tracking to motivate ourselves to make healthier choices over the long term. Here are a few things I do:
1) Wear a tracking device- My fitbit tells me how many miles I walk per day
2) Keep a food diary- I learn a lot about what foods I eat, when, and why. For instance when traveling to Mozambique and Uganda recently, I ate cake, ice cream, pizza, which I wouldn’t normally eat. Keeping a food diary helps me make better food choices in the future.
3) Keep a positive attitude – Many places around the world, people don’t have enough food to eat. By eating slowly, and mindfully, we feel grateful for the food we have!