December 26, 2019

How to Track Your Fitness Progress

Show Notes

 

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Dan Muncey, onsite well-being coordinator at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they provide tips on how to track your fitness progress throughout the year.

“When you’re logging your food, all of a sudden you understand what you’re intaking and how many calories are coming from that. I think it’s important to understand your caloric intake because at the end of the day, if you want to lose weight, you need your calories in to be less than your calories out.” – Dan Muncey

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • The importance of accountability
  • Why you should implement SMART goals
  • Different types of measuring tools
  • The easiest way to make a change
  • How to stay consistent

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica: This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast episode 44. Coming up, we discuss how we can all measure and track our fitness.

Chuck Gaidica: Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can improve our health and well-being through small healthy habits we can start implementing right now. ‘Tis the season. We’re all thinking about this as we head toward the new year. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica, every other week we sit down with a certified health expert from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and we cover topics like nutrition, fitness, well-being, a whole lot more.

Chuck Gaidica: On this episode, we’re going into ways to track our fitness with me today. Back again, our onsite well-being coordinator, Dan Muncey, good to see you.

Dan Muncey: Good to see you again Chuck.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, you’re with a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Of course, the wellness department. You’ve got more than 10 years of experience in the wellness industry and your degree from Western is actually in biomed.

Dan Muncey: Yeah. I wanted to go be a doctor at one point, but I thought, you know what? I got to teach people how to do the right thing so they don’t need to see a doctor.

Chuck Gaidica: All right, so we’re going to get to them before they need to see their doc. So let’s talk about this idea of how progress makes perfect. If we’re not tracking or measuring our progress, we don’t know if we’re making any progress at all. And so we’re going to explore this idea of how to measure and track our progress. I’m doing it all the time. I’ve got an app on the phone, I’ve got a smart watch. I mean, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like Pavlov’s dog. But I’m paying attention to the stuff I’m doing and I guess you could say this stuff I’m not doing.

Dan Muncey: I agree. I think there’s that level of accountability. I mean, when we start talking about the benefits, the first thing I always like to say is it’s important to set benchmarks. And I think that these tools let you do that. The nicest thing is you’ve got like the Fitbit, hey, I need to get 10,000 steps a day. Really simple benchmark for you to look at. And when you’re talking about smart goals, you’re trying to find things that are specific.

Chuck Gaidica: And smart is an acronym.

Dan Muncey: Yeah, yeah. It’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time. So you just want to keep those things in perspective of if it’s going to be specific, I’m going to get 10,000 steps. If you want it to be measurable, you know you want it to be have meaning so you know why you’re doing it. It’s going to keep you showing up every day. If it’s achievable, you know that’s something that you can do. It’s not something that’s unrealistic. I’m not saying I’m going to get 20,000 steps if I sit at a desk all day. Might not be easy for me to get that. And then if it’s relevant, it’s nice that you can have that realistic goal that every day when you’re showing up, you can tell yourself, this is something I can achieve. I mean there’s that book by the Navy Seal where it’s make your bed to start your day. And just kind of get those small goals that you’re just knocking out through the day. It’s going to help you in the long run, find your goal over time.

Chuck Gaidica: So as I look at the A, and I’ve used smart in other ways, when I think about things, even in the business world, people use it. But the achievable part to me also is easy to assign in my mind to consistency. Because I try to get 10,000 steps a day. To be honest, I’m about 7900, 8,000 steps. I’m not quite there, but consistently everyday if I track it and I’m hitting 8,000 steps in some days I’m at 13,000. I mean I’m working hard at it, but you know what? It’s consistent. And I actually feel pretty good about it.

Dan Muncey: No, and I think the best part is when you are consistent, you’re forming those healthy habits. Whether you’re getting your steps in or drinking more water. That opportunity that every day you show up and understand that it’s a big picture. One day I might get 5,000 steps, the next day I might get 15,000 but at the end of the month when I look back at it and I see I average 10,000 I know I’m doing something right. But at the same time, if all of a sudden I’m like, “Man, I really dropped off this month. What did I skip?” Was I not walking in the morning? Was I not making time to go for a bike ride at least once a week? Where was I picking up steps or physical activity that I dropped? And then it’s easy to kind of go back to the drawing board.

Chuck Gaidica: So I went through this with my aging parents at the time, drinking water was a big deal. I couldn’t even relate to the idea personally, not to say anything against them, but that you would forget to drink water, but they would know. Is this something you see across the board regardless of age, that some people just zone out and they’re like, “Oh, you know what? I don’t understand. I don’t drink water.”

Dan Muncey: Well, you saw, I brought my canteen today. I think it’s something where you can try and sit there and tell yourself, I’m going to get 64 ounces of water. But I see that with my own mom. I see that with groups when I’m on site, people that are dehydrated, people that sit there and talk to me about it, they’re tired and I’m like, “Well, did you drink enough water today?” Like, well, I haven’t had water since this morning. And it’s something that if you aren’t physically keeping track of, and that’s again, while we’re talking about these trackers today, logging your drinking habits. If you had eight ounces of water, log that eight ounces. And it’s going to kind of help you build those healthy habits. So you do it almost without thinking.

Dan Muncey: I’ve seen it generationally from kids all the way up to seniors. I think water’s something if you’re not thinking about it might not be in the forefront of your mind if something you need to do every day and remember if you feel dehydrated, you’re way past when you should’ve been drinking water.

Chuck Gaidica: And I’ve seen the canteens or the bottles that have the led lights that flash to remind you. So I mean, if you’re looking for the smart option to kick you in the pants. There are ways to get reminders now.

Dan Muncey: Yep.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. So how do we keep ourselves accountable? Maybe another question would be how do we keep our spouses accountable or have them keep us accountable? Because peer pressure is good even when you’re not a teenager.

Dan Muncey: No, and Chuck, I couldn’t agree more with you. Accountability is something that is going to help you be successful. I think it’s important to have a good circle around you, whether that’s your parents, your friends and family, people that check in. I think that people that go to the gym with someone are significantly more successful because they’re not doing it on their own. They have somebody else that’s going to say, “Hey, 6:00 AM, coming to pick you up, or I’ll see you at the gym.” And I even looked into a study by the American Society of Training and Development. And in that study on accountability, they found that 65% of completing a goal, if you commit it with someone, and if you have a scientific accountability appointment with that person, you’ve committed an increase of 95%. so that’s not only if you’re doing it with someone, but if you’ve committed to doing it with someone, you’re going to be up to 95% more likely to work out.

Chuck Gaidica: So do you find this as kind of a personal question, because I know you like being around family, do you find being a wellness coordinator you can turn yourself into a coach? Is that an upside for you with friends and family or do people go, “Oh gosh, here comes Dan again I’m off track on my tracking.”

Dan Muncey: I’d say it’s give and take. I think that’s a great point, Chuck. So thanks for calling me out on that. But no, like on the last podcast I did with you, I talked about hiking and how I’ve definitely guilt tripped a few friends of mine to get up early on a Saturday and hit the trails. But right now we’re all planning a big trip coming up and we decided to kind of have an accountability group. Everybody kind of checks in every day, talks about what they were doing physical activity wise.

Dan Muncey: But within that group I still have friends that post I’m going out, maybe getting a drink or a cocktail. And although at first I was very reluctant to be like, “Man, I can’t believe they’re posting this instead of what their physical activity was.” But at the end of the day it’s whatever helps you get through the week we all have different coping mechanisms so I don’t guilt trip anybody. I think we all have our success stories and I think that I’m hopefully just helping those friends and family just make that decision to work out just because they thought of me.

Chuck Gaidica: But we all run that fine line of trying to figure out are we serving as a coach, as a motivator. And sometimes that’s just by actions that we have. We don’t even have to say anything. And also then being somebody who’s haranguing another person. And I walk that fine line with people I know too. I don’t want them to harangue me much, but I really appreciate somebody who will come alongside me. Kind of like a jogging partner, you know somebody who goes with you. It really helps out. So let’s talk about this idea of tracking. So many ways to do it. You can download free apps. That’s what I’ve done. I’ve got the Lose It app, I love it. It’s tracking food. All my steps kind of populate through my watch into my phone. So I’ve got all this high tech stuff working and I’m just amazed by it all. What are the major upsides for tracking?

Dan Muncey: I think the biggest thing that’s going to help us keep us aware of our goals. And so, like I said, we talked about the 10,000 step goal. And I think it has to be achievable. it’s something that we’re constantly working towards and understand that it’s a process. You’re not going to change a bad habit overnight. You just kind of got to keep chipping away at it. So first and foremost, I think it keeps you aware of your goal. If you’re tracking it for steps, logging your calories, your water intake, all of a sudden things become easier because you’re doing what you wanted to do. You’re checking a box every single day. And I think that that is that level of accountability and consistency that we all need to be successful.

Chuck Gaidica: So with the new year coming, it’s pretty easy to create a new idea of what 2020 is going to look like, and then we fall off the wagon within the few weeks of January.

Dan Muncey: Easily.

Chuck Gaidica: So the idea of consistency is fine and all that stuff, but what can you do to encourage us that even if we stumble a little bit that you know February is coming too, it’s okay to start again.

Dan Muncey: I think that this is a great podcast because it’s bringing up a great point on tracking your steps, tracking your, your fitness goals. I looked into a study from the 2011 from the American Dietetic Association and there was just ample evidence. They did a meta analysis of a bunch of different studies and it was consistent and significant positive relationship between self-monitoring diet, physical activity, weight, and then the successful outcomes from that.

Dan Muncey: Basically they were looking at a wide variety of measuring tools. So if you were just writing in a journal, if you were tracking it on an app and it was significant, the people were so much more successful doing that. So I think it’s a great opportunity. Looking forward to 2020 and if you are training on planning a new goal for yourself, what a great opportunity to know that if you write it down every day, if you’re tracking it, if you’re logging it, you are going to be more successful than if you weren’t.

Chuck Gaidica: I remember years ago I saw a video and it was showing… It was a stock market video. And it showed the ups and downs of the stock market. And the one thing that we tend to forget as human beings, as long as the stock market is going up and down, people think that’s okay. No, not really if it’s going up and down, but the inclination of the line is up. Even with the ups and downs, as long as that trajectory is going up, you’re okay. And I think of my diet that way. I think of my exercise… I think of my life that way. I’m going to have ups and downs, but as long as it’s going up in general, I’m doing okay. And that helps me visualize in my mind anyway that I’ve got a goal. Sometimes I fall off the wagon and then I come back and it all kind of works out as long as it’s heading up.

Dan Muncey: No, and I think that you, again, you brought up another great point that we are going to have those days that we wanted to get 10,000 steps. We wanted to log our water and we didn’t. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay. Like you fell off, you can get right back on the next day. And the goal is that we’re trying to form healthy habits that are sustainable over a lifetime. Not just, “Hey, I wanted to make sure I worked out for a month and then well let’s hope we do it again next year with our new goals.”

Chuck Gaidica: And when we talk about modifying our goals and our tracking, we’ve got to be honest because here in Michigan it’s dark, it’s cold, the snow and ice. I mean we’ve got things that we can do, but we can talk about physically modifying where we even go to workout. It doesn’t have to be outside walking 10,000 steps.

Dan Muncey: I would encourage people maybe to get out if they can, I think that I benefit from people not hiking in the winter months. That fresh air goes a mile for your own health and well-being. I think it brings some mental clarity, but changing it up, Chuck, I think you’re right on. If it’s swimming, if you haven’t been doing it, taking a cycling class, going to yoga. I mean you can even be a mall walker, go over to Great Lakes. There’s people that walk miles every morning. They don’t have to worry about the inclement weather. The temperature’s controlled and you’re able to get in there. Even get together with that accountability group. Maybe it’s just catching up with a friend or family member and again, it’s physical activity. It’s overall the American Heart Association wants us to get 300 minutes of physical activity. Then that’s what our striving for. I think that it’s however you break that down.

Dan Muncey: I think old Dan would have been like, you need to be doing HIIT workouts. You need to be cross training. But nowadays I find that it’s just people need to show up, find that level of physical activity in your life and then be willing to modify it, change it with the seasons and know that, Hey, you know what? Maybe we just got a huge snow storm. Maybe you can’t make it to the gym. Find a simple at home work out. You can find something on YouTube. There’s all these fitness apps out there. I like the Nike app. I think they do a great job with warm up exercise and cool down. So I think that being able to modify your workout and know that even if you’re injured, there’s a workout you could be doing. I mean, when I had my knee injury, I couldn’t run, so I started hiking. And I know that people that have had shoulder injuries, maybe they, they can’t lift weights, so maybe they start getting in the pool. So it’s what works for you. I think it’s just being consistent.

Chuck Gaidica: So it’s interesting, this past weekend at church, we saw a lady who we were on a trip with to Israel. She’s 88 years old. She’s had a stroke. I said to her, “So how, how are you?” She said, “I’m great. It’s turned a little cold. So we found an indoor track at a different church. They happen to build a track and a gym.” She said, “I’m doing a mile to two miles a day and sometimes my daughter and I do three.” And I looked at her, Susan and I walked out shaking our heads like, well, there’s a reason she’s 88 I mean, what? Talk about encouragement. So you’re never too old to be what you’re supposed to be, which in this case is an encourager to others. And she had no idea she was even encouraging us. But she’s modified her workout at 88 years old. Isn’t that wild?

Dan Muncey: Well, and again, I think she’s being consistent and that’s why she’s lived to 88. She’s found this measurable that I want to be physically active and I’m not going to let a shoulder injury, a stroke, a knee problem, stop me from doing it. And there are great facilities. Like you brought up she found one maybe in her community or in a neighboring community that she can get to in the winter months, not have to worry about the weather and that’s important. I think that we can’t let these small hiccups of weather, it’s darker out, I can’t get up in the morning. You know? You just have to find that consistency and be willing to modify your own daily schedule.

Dan Muncey: But when I say that, I always think that it’s important to remain accountable and when I talk to my groups, I talk a lot about scheduling physical activity, and for those of us that are lucky enough to experience working from home, put it on your calendar. If you were going to maybe have two hours of commute time that you’re gaining from working from home now, what an awesome opportunity to put that hour on your schedule. Put it right on your work calendar. I’m going to work out for an hour and then all of a sudden you’re gaining that time back.

Chuck Gaidica: I want to double back to something you said. You said old Dan to me, you’re still young Dan, but when, when younger Dan used to self-impose the idea that you had to go on a high intensity workout, what’s changed for you? Why are you not putting that pressure on yourself?

Dan Muncey: Well, for me it’s goals, goal related. I think before I wanted to be an Olympic athlete. I wanted to be at the pinnacle of fitness and now I just want to be healthy. I want to know that I’m reading the studies and it’s not really about necessarily what you do. Sure, there’s more effective exercises like high intensity interval training. You might get more out of what you’re doing instead of like a steady state cardio. But at the same time it’s still steady state cardio. It’s still exercise. It doesn’t matter whether you’re gardening, you’re shoveling. I mean you can even just doing household chores and that’s physical activity. You can’t break it down and tell yourself that that doesn’t count. But the big thing is it going towards your goal?

Dan Muncey: And so before I had this goal of maybe lifting a certain amount of weight or running under a certain time, but now it’s just I want to make sure I’m physically active X amount of minutes a week and whether it’s tracking it on my Fitbit or there’s like my fitness pal. There’s a lot of great apps that my generation I think utilizes. I previously used to write it down in a journal and I loved being like, “Aw man, I just squatted this much weight that’s like five pounds more than last week,” and it’d be those small little wins. Now I’m doing all that on an app. So I think you have to find what works for you. Obviously, like I said, old Dan, maybe it would be shaking his head at me right now, but like I said, new Dan understands that there’s goals for yourself and everybody’s different and you don’t need to judge someone because their goals are different.

Chuck Gaidica: And the 300 minutes you mentioned that supposed to be the goal per week for exercise.

Dan Muncey: Yeah. Know that they’ve, there’s a lot of different statistics out there. they even talk about 75 minutes of vigorous activity. So I always like to go to peer reviewed sources. You heard me talking about a couple of scientific studies from some peer reviewed journals. It’s just important to have that conversation with your doctor, especially if you’re going into the new year and you’re thinking about starting up a new exercise plan. Maybe work on your goals with them so they know what is realistic. I might be sitting up here telling you it’s 300 minutes.

Dan Muncey: If you’re not doing anything, starting with 10 minutes a day, that’s 70 minutes of physical activity in your week that you’re getting that you weren’t before. And that 10 minutes could just be a simple walk around the block. So it’s important to understand that it all adds up and that’s what the American Heart Association is trying to let you know that however you get to that, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to do 200 minutes in one day because you went on a family bike ride and you were on the river walk downtown, you went to Bell Isle, you got to see all the sites. Well that’s awesome. You can count that towards your goal, or if you were just doing 20 minutes a day, that adds up too. So…

Chuck Gaidica: And isn’t the same thing true of nutrition. It’s not just the holiday parties we may have come through with our companies or even our families. But when you’re working out and you’ve got a plan, that little piece of birthday cake, that stuff that just kind of falls in line because it’s normal life. It’s okay if you cheated one day because it’s all consistent.

Dan Muncey: And I know that I’ve probably talked a little bit more about physical activity because that’s my background and I thank you for steering me back on Chuck because it is true with nutrition’s the same way. If you know you go in with healthy habits of maybe making your breakfast, you maybe brought your lunch to work that day and maybe you get invited out to go to dinner and maybe you’re able to grab a burger or grab something you really enjoy. Don’t beat yourself up because you did that. It’s the consistency. Are you eating what you should every single day? Are you focusing on getting your five servings of fruits and vegetables? Are you focusing on eating nutrient dense food? Food that you’re going to actually get a lot of vitamins and minerals from. You’re not just getting processed food that isn’t going to have a lot of nutritional value to it.

Chuck Gaidica: Explain to me and everybody nutrient dense. Are you talking about like an apple if I hold it, it’s dense but it’s got all kinds of stuff in it compared to a cookie, is that what you mean?

Dan Muncey: Yes, absolutely. So when you’re looking at nutrients, it’s more than just carbs, fats, sugars. We’re looking at all of a sudden these vitamins and minerals and like when you look at leafy greens, things that you’re going to get a lot of bang for your buck. I can thank my girlfriend for that. I used to not be a big leafy green eater and now because she loves lettuce, I got stalks of lettuce in my house I don’t even know what to do with, but I’ve been eating a salad every day because I know that if I don’t eat it, it’s going to go bad.

Dan Muncey: And all of a sudden I look at, we talk about relationships and positive impact and that’s something that somebody brought to me in my life. You know that I didn’t know how to do it. All of a sudden I got a salad spinner, I’m washing my lettuce, I’m cutting it up, I’m spinning the water off it and put it back in the fridge and it’s fresh. It’s enjoyable. I had an awesome garden this year for the first time I decided tomato plants and bell peppers and it was just so awesome to be able to pick that, take it inside, cut it up, maybe make a stir fry. I made my own pasta sauce. Or maybe I’m just throwing that on my lettuce and it was that positive… Like like you said, it’s this nutrient dense, just flavorful food and it was really enjoyable to have, so can’t wait to make that garden again next year.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, that’s great. All right, so let’s do a long recap. Let’s take a minute to do this because I think so many points can fly by all of us. We’re looking to track our progress. Let’s talk about in a list, if you will give us a list as we head for the new year. What are the things we should be thinking about?

Dan Muncey: Well, first off, create that plan, make it smart, make it realistic, and I’m not going to lie, you’re not going to lose 20 pounds overnight. It’s hard to replace a lifetime of changes. So you have to think it’s going to be small and measurable. And I like to bring up the fact that if you’re replacing these high calorie foods with low calorie alternative, so that could be replacing French fries for a salad. If you’re reducing your portion sizes and helping you cut calories. And just remember if you’re eating 3,500 calories, that’s about a pound. So if you’re cutting out 500 calories a day, and that could just be something as simple as going from whole milk to skim milk. And all of a sudden you’re losing that hundred calories will over the course of the week that could be one pound. So I think that’s realistic. One pound a week, 500 calories a day obviously consult with your doctor.

Dan Muncey: But the first thing is to be realistic. The second thing would be to keep a journal. We’ve been talking about it today, whether it’s an app, it’s going to give you that opportunity to be successful because you’re logging your steps along the way. You’re logging your water intake or your food. I’ve been using the Strava app and that’s helped me log my mountain biking and my hiking or rucking.

Chuck Gaidica: So what is it called?

Dan Muncey: Strava. S-T-R-A-V-A. And the cool thing about it is it’s like I have this community of friends that like to do that and we’re able to post what routes we took. All of a sudden I’m understanding that I didn’t even know I could go to that rec area and bike over there. Or I didn’t know you could take the river walk that far. Or my buddy runs Detroit all the time and I’m like, you just ran in the Detroit marathon. Shout out Marlin, way to crush it.

Dan Muncey: But I think it’s the opportunity that when you are tracking those, journaling those workouts, you’re going to be more successful because all of a sudden now you have a baseline and you can build from that. So first was create a plan, second was track it with a journal and then if you can use a measuring tape, I think that that’s an opportunity that we all got away from we, we started really focusing on the weight. We were like weight, is our ultimate goal. We want to make sure we’re losing pounds. But when you’re working out you might be putting on muscle and your water weight really impacts what you’re showing in the scale. So if you are going to weigh yourself make sure you’re doing it once a week in the morning. But I did talk about measuring tape. You can check your hips, your legs, your arms, your chest, really simple to get body measurements and then that might help you actually get a more realistic goal of what you’re actually achieving along the way.

Chuck Gaidica: That does seem a bit old school. I think people have stopped thinking about I’m going to take the tape measure and measured my belly. You don’t hear about that as much as I hate the scale. I hear… I kind of think that myself, it’s like, Oh that’s an evil device.

Dan Muncey: It’s easier though. I think it’s easier to step on a scale than it is to grab a measuring tape and go around those few points. But we live in a modern age. You can find that information on how to measure yourself online, grab a measuring tape from a local hardware store or even your grocery store probably could pick one up down one of the aisles. That’s a good one.

Dan Muncey: So another thing I wanted to bring up was to take a before and after photo, which is so rewarding. I did that the first time I did the insanity workout program from Beachbody and I was real skeptical I was a big heavy weight lifter was like, Oh I never want to do these cardio exercises. And I did it and it was so awesome to see myself after… I think it was 64 days of hard work to see where I was day one and where I finish and I posted it. And so that’s maybe another moral of taking a before and after photo is posting it maybe to Instagram or social media. People have like a flex Friday where they’re showing, “Hey I worked out today.” They’re just getting out there and maybe showing their arms, taking their shirt off. I think it’s just this opportunity to show others in your community that you are working at something and then you don’t know who that might inspire along the way. So…,

Chuck Gaidica: So the idea of taking a before and after, it’s always the before that gets everybody freaked out. Because if you’ve got a cool after, I mean, you know you walk in the grocery store and there they are on the front of magazines before and after. You’re talking about taking this to another level where you’re going to share it. But you said something important within your community. It doesn’t have to be to everybody.

Dan Muncey: Yeah. And I mean that might even, like I said, I have this small circle of friends where we’re posting pictures we’re keeping each other accountable. Like, we’ve definitely all had a day where somebody posted that they worked out and we all looked at it and we’re like, “Man, I can’t believe Cam checked in today, but you know what, I’m going to check in today too.” I’m going to clock in, I’m going to put in to work. And within that we’ve even had those success stories friends that have finally got back into it and they’re seeing success and they’re posting their own photos, whether that’d be with just us in our group chat or then sharing it abroad.

Chuck Gaidica: So, you know what I find so cool about this, and you mentioned it too in in many different ways, the friendship and the comradery that’s involved because we read all these studies about how loneliness is increasing in our society from young to old. Well if you’ve created this circle of friends who’s not only encouraging you, but now it’s a new circle, it would seem to me to be a great way to stay connected to people. And move away from another problem area potentially, which is, I’m lonely, I have friends. But I really don’t stay connected. Well this could fix that.

Dan Muncey: And I think it’s important that we remember ourselves. Like you kind of are what you surround yourself with. So if you are surrounding yourself with people that are posting and positive messaging, it’s going to help you along the way. Because like I said, even I have those days where I’m negative and it’s important to have that support group around you.

Chuck Gaidica: All right, so we’re going to keep logging and talk about logging food.

Dan Muncey: Yes. So now if we’re talking about food, I’m thinking carbs, fats, proteins and that might be kind of mysterious to people. How do you get that information? And the nice thing is there are some great apps out there that you literally can find anything. I talked to him about the, My Fitness Pal earlier. When you’re logging nutrition, I mean they have every single food product you can think of. Even if you’re grabbing fast food on the way home and you didn’t want to, you’re able to go back, log that, see what you had.

Dan Muncey: And then at the end of the day you can go back and say like, “Wow, I can’t believe I ate that many calories.” And that’s the best part of logging your food is it’s kind of keeps you from binge eating. And I think that we’ve all had that moment where maybe we didn’t eat enough for dinner, we didn’t have a big enough lunch and we get home and all of a sudden we’re eating all the food we can get our hands on. When you’re logging your food, all of a sudden you understand what you’re intaking and how many calories are coming from that. I think it’s important to understand your caloric intake because at the end of the day, if you want to lose weight, you need your calories in to be less than your calories out. So whatever you’re taking in has to be less than your body’s putting out. And so if that’s the truth, you’re going to be burning.

Chuck Gaidica: And same thing is true with these apps of tracking your sodium intake. And you know the one I’ve got the free one, it’s got a bar-code scanner. So you can just scan the… God forbid you have that have Turkey chili or soup and you realize you’ve just had your whole day’s worth of sodium. But you know you can scan stuff. It is that easy. It really can be.

Chuck Gaidica: All right. So let’s leverage up everything that we’re talking about. What can we leverage up so we can really be healthy overall?

Dan Muncey: At the end of the day I think you need to find what works for you. I mean we talked about a number of different apps on the podcast today, talked about just the simple paper and pencil plan, but the wearable trackers, I think that they give you that opportunity to put it all in one place. We talked about my Fitbit app that’s letting me track my steps, my food, my water intake.

Dan Muncey: It’s got a heart rate monitor and a GPS, so no matter what I’m doing, I feel I can log it on my Fitbit. And for me I’m not as concerned with that information being stored on Fitbit because for me it’s so beneficial for everyday I can look back and know that I drank my 64 ounces of water or because I’m wearing it to go to sleep, all of a sudden I look back and I’m like, “You know what, I haven’t been getting restful sleep this week and that’s why I’ve been beady eyed every morning.” And if it’s tracking steps, it’s that simple reminder when my Fitbit buzzes me every hour. If I haven’t got my 250 steps, what a nice reminder that like maybe I’ve been down at my computer or I’ve been in the lunch room all day giving a healthy eating exercise to individuals and all of a sudden I’m like, you know what, I need to stand.

Dan Muncey: We were in a meeting yesterday and I love that culture’s kind of changing where it used to be kind of rude to stand up when somebody else was talking, but now you have the ability to stand up in the meeting, maybe even walk around or get up from the table do some simple movements or stretches. So I think all that kind of stems back to just wearing this Fitbit, making us all more knowledgeable about what we’re tracking. And so if that’s the case, just find the app that works for you. Don’t be afraid to Google what your options are out there as well.

Chuck Gaidica: And so many other devices, obviously the watches, you can look at your resting pulse, but even the number of beds now though, the air mattress things, they’re tracking sleep and how you’re doing and what are your goals and which way do you move at night and showing your restful sleep. It’s amazing.

Dan Muncey: And we need it. I mean, obviously if we’re looking at the stats and statistics, I mean, as a nation we’re probably as unhealthy as we’ve ever been. And I think it’s important that we gauge that a lot of our problems physical activity and healthy eating are going to have a great impact on obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol. And those are some major things that are going to eventually even lead to heart disease. So something as simple as just finding more time for physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water. That’s going to make the big difference in the long run.

Chuck Gaidica: Dan Muncey for president. That’s what I’m saying. Dan is an onsite well-being coordinator with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. It’s great to see you again.

Dan Muncey: Thanks again, Chuck.

Chuck Gaidica: Thanks for all the great tips and you know we want to leave you with a good one. Don’t overthink this. Just implement first, start small, baby steps your way up. We all know about New Year’s resolutions and then sometimes they don’t work, but don’t. don’t get down about this because there’s a new day coming tomorrow and you can start over. Keep track of your workout and once you have a handle on it, you’ll be able to see all these other aspects of how you can track it. Start measuring your food intake, just baby steps and you will wake up and your before and after will be an amazing journey for you.

Chuck Gaidica: We want to hear from you too. Hey, thanks for being with us today. Thanks for listening to a Healthier Michigan Podcast is brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show, check us out atahealthiermichigan.org/podcast, we’ve got a ton of great episodes previously that you’ll be able to find great stuff about. And leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcast or Stitcher. To get the new episodes on your smartphone or tablet, be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast and Spotify or your favorite podcast app. I’m Chuck Gaidica. Have a great rest of your day.