Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Eating Habits

I mentioned before that I started up a new eating habit a few months ago...last August, actually. So I've been at it for awhile now and it's doing me a lot of good in terms of surviving the midday without any breaks, should such a thing happen as it often does at the hospital. Once upon a time I used to be at the point of starvation sometimes because I wouldn't get the time to eat some food until later on in the afternoon.

My diet used to consist of a protein shake in the morning and taking my daily supplements @ 7 AM...sometimes 6:15 AM. That would keep me full until about 10-11:30 AM and then I'd start to get hungry. That's a bit of a problem when you're on ward rounds or in clinic until, say 12:30-1:30 PM because the concentration starts to waver until it's gone entirely.

Some yummy food an Aunt of mine cooked up a few months ago =)
Starting August, while I was on one of my lighter rotations, Family Medicine, I decided to try something a little different. There's a girl in my class who would eat food for breakfast (a full meal), followed by a large apple for lunch and then some cereal or something a bit breakfasty for dinner. Yeah, she had a very backwards way of eating but it worked for her. I got tired of getting so hungry in the middle of the day and recalled that whenever I went to New York, I would be stuffed full of dim sum and other such wonderful foods for breakfast and would make it through the day without getting hungry until dinner sometimes! Breakfast would be at about 10 AM though, so that contributed to the delayed need for food.

Using this as my basis, I decided I'd start eating what was supposed to be my lunch for breakfast (along with my daily supplements as well). And it works like a charm! The starvation, virtually gone...hunger pangs occasionally strike me after 12 depending on how heavy the meal was but it's certainly an improvement on the 10 AM hunger pangs. Around midday, or a little after, or whenever I do get the chance, I have myself a nice healthy it fruit or a cereal bar. Of course, throughout the day, I drink water, replenishing my hydration and keeping the hunger away as well (it works!). This is usually followed up by dinner...another full meal, usually sometime within the range of 5:30-6:30 PM. And that's it!

The whole new diet routine seems to be working out quite well for me over the past months and I have few complaints about it. Hopefully it'll carry me through my final year of medical school and my 12-month internship. The routine is often slightly altered on days off though. And recently, I've been thinking about how many calories I'm consuming during my days because I've noticed that I feel a little more tired for no particular reason. For that reason, I downloaded this wonderful app for my iPad 2 called MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal is actually quite gave me an idea of how many calories is ideal for my consumption per day according to my age, sex, working lifestyle (super active, sedentary and everything in between), etc...mine is about 1700. I only just downloaded it the other night but I've been under the number so far. Hmm. Gotta fix that up. It's actually a pretty neat app. I like how it gives you food searches, with a fairly large database, so you can have an estimated calorie intake according to your meals. And if you can't find the food or snack in the database, you can add it manually or just simply input the calories if you know the number already. It pretty much acts as a food journal as well. You never really notice just how much or how little you're eating until you make a note of it somewhere.

Here's my calorie count for the past two days (since downloading the app). When you complete your log for the day, it gives you an estimate of how much you would weight if you were to use x-amount of calories every day. Pretty cool.

The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices. Or, you can check out their website if you've got none of them.

So I'll make use of it a little more and see where I can adjust so that I'm getting my daily requirements and not tiring myself out and slowing down my body functions...that would be a bit on the counterproductive side of things!

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