At a Glance
Diet Power uses the Personal Information Form to set up your records and your nutrient allowances when you enroll. Later, you can revise the information. To open the form, click Options > Personal Information on your Home Screen.
The first time you use Diet Power, the program asks you to fill out the Personal Information Form so it can set up your files and begin understanding you as an individual. It needs your age and sex, for example, to estimate your metabolic rate until you've logged enough daily weights and meals to reveal your true rate.
In the top third of the form, most of your choices will remain in force indefinitely. Under certain circumstances, however—if you become pregnant or quit smoking, say—you'll want to revise them. This won't alter or destroy any of your old weight, exercise, or food-intake records. It may change your Personal Daily Allowances (PDAs) of certain nutrients, however. And gradually, over a period of days or weeks, it may also modify your calorie budget. For details, see the notes on smoking, alcohol, pregnancy, and lactation, below.
(You can also use the Personal Information Form to set new allowances on your 19th, 31st, 51st, and 71st birthdays. For details, see Personal Daily Allowances (PDAs), Editing Your.)
In the bottom two-thirds, you can update the nutrients, diets, diet drugs, and diseases that interest you most. This will help your Personal Health Coach tailor its advice more exactly.
To open the Personal Information Form:
If you're registering as a new user, the form will automatically open when you click the button labeled "I'd like to enroll as a new user" on the User List, or when you choose "New User" from the User Menu.
If you're already a user, go to your Home Screen and:
Open the Options Menu (by clicking the word Options).
Choose "Personal Information."
Filling Out the Form
Type the correct information in each box, using the Tab key to hop to the next. Then check off each health statement that applies to you ("I use tobacco," "I'm on a low-salt diet," etc.), by clicking the box beside it. When you've completed the form, click the OK button.
Below are notes on some of the items:
First and Last Names
Fill these in as you'd like them to appear on Diet Power's printed reports. Two important notes:
Don't use initials
with periods. These may confuse the program.
Once you've registered as a new user, your first name cannot be revised—it will always appear grayed out. That's because Diet Power uses your first name to help identify the subfolder where your personal records are kept, and if the program let you change the name, it would no longer be able to find your files. You can always revise your last name, however.
To keep other users from reading or inadvertently altering your personal records, type in a password. Write it down somewhere. Diet Power can't help you retrieve a forgotten password.
(You'll be able to change your password later, if you like—but you'll need your old password to get into the program to do that.)
Enter your height in your bare feet, expressed in feet and inches. Include fractions or decimals (whichever you prefer), since your Body Mass Index and ideal weight are very sensitive to height.
If you haven't measured your height lately, you should do so now. Out of wishful thinking, many people under- or overestimate their height by as much as an inch.
Users who are still in their growing years may need to amend their height as frequently as once every two or three months. After age 40, once every year or two is sufficient.
You might expect the Personal Information Form to include a block for entering your current weight, but this is done elsewhere. See Weight, Logging Your.
Enter your birth date in standard month/day/year format. November 3, 1966, for example, would be 11/3/66. Be careful: A mistaken birth-date entry can't be corrected once you've left the Personal Information Form—the birth date will always be grayed out. Reason: like your first name (see above), your birth date is used to help identify the subfolder where your records are kept, and if you were allowed to change the date, Diet Power would no longer be able to find them.
Click the button corresponding to your gender. Make sure this choice is correct, because it profoundly affects your calorie budget and nutrient requirements.
"I use tobacco." You are a tobacco user if you average more than one cigarette, one-half pipeful, one-quarter of a cigar, or one dip of snuff or chewing tobacco per day. If you check this box, Diet Power will raise your Personal Daily Allowance (PDA) of vitamin C by 35 milligrams, in keeping with studies showing that smoking depletes the vitamin. (If your doctor doesn't like this change, you can undo it—see Personal Daily Allowances, Editing Your.)
"I drink alcoholic beverages." Mark this box if you average more than two drinks per week. A "drink" is defined as 3/4 fluid ounce of pure alcohol—about what you'd get from a 12-ounce beer, a 6-ounce glass of wine, or a 1-1/2-ounce shot of liquor. Checking the box will cause Diet Power to change your Personal Daily Allowance of alcohol from zero to the highest amount you can consume and still be considered a "moderate" drinker. (See Alcohol.)
(Even if you don't check this box, your Nutrient History will reflect any alcohol that you happen to consume.)
"I have high blood pressure." Check this box if your resting blood pressure 1) averages 140/90 or higher, or 2) probably would if you weren't taking medication or other measures to lower it. (The first number, the systolic pressure, used to be considered less significant than the second, the diastolic—but recent studies have cast doubt on this rule. Still, if your reading is normally 142/83, you could probably answer no. Similarly, if it's 135/92, you should answer yes.) Be advised, however, that many experts think 140/90 is too high a ceiling. Ask your doctor.
An ideal blood pressure for most adults is around 110/70. If yours is considerably above that and you'd like occasional tips on lowering it, answer yes. (The choice doesn't change your daily allowance of any nutrient.)
"I'm on a low-salt diet." Mark this box if your doctor has prescribed a low-salt diet, or if you'd like to cut your intake of sodium for general health reasons. Diet Power will then include items about sodium and health in its advice. The program won't automatically lower your Personal Daily Allowance (PDA) of sodium, however, because "low-salt" is a vague term. If you'd like to set your own PDA after filling out this form, ask your doctor how many grams of sodium is a reasonable ceiling for you. Then follow the instructions under Personal Daily Allowances, Editing Your. (Be careful: Grams of sodium does not equal grams of salt, because salt is only 40 percent sodium by weight. See Sodium.)
"I am pregnant." Mark the box if you are pregnant or think you are; then click the "1st trimester" (if you're three months pregnant or less) or the "2nd or 3rd trimester" button.* This will cause Diet Power to adjust your Personal Daily Allowances (PDAs) of some nutrients (but not all—see Pregnancy), and to offer occasional Food for Thought on matters of interest to the expectant mother.
(Diet Power will not automatically put you on a weight-gain diet, however, because there is no universal standard for weight gain during pregnancy. Nor can it guarantee that every PDA it sets will be adequate, since individual pregnancies vary. To design a diet that's right for you, ask your doctor to recommend a goal weight, a target date, and a set of nutrient allowances. Then, after you've finished filling out this form, follow the instructions under Goals, Setting Your Weight and Personal Daily Allowances, Editing Your.)
For more information, see Pregnancy.
The Recommended Dietary Allowances remain constant throughout pregnancy. Nevertheless, Diet Power asks you to specify which stage you are in, so it can tailor its advice accordingly.
"I am lactating." Check this box if you're breast-feeding; then click the "1st six months" or "2nd six months"** button, depending on your baby's age. Diet Power will adjust your Personal Daily Allowances for certain vitamins and minerals. (It won't immediately change your calorie allotment, however—that will happen gradually as the program "learns" how much extra food you need for nursing.) If your doctor recommends different PDAs, you can change them. See Personal Daily Allowances, Editing Your.
(Make sure the box is unchecked if you are not breast-feeding—even if you've just quit today.)
For more information, see Lactation.
Until recently, some of the Recommended Dietary Allowances changed during the second six months of lactation. This is no longer true, but Diet Power still asks you to specify which stage you are in, so that it can tailor your Food for Thought items accordingly.
(What if you're lactating and pregnant? Although it's possible to be nursing one child while expecting another, you will not be able to check both boxes. In that case, check "I am pregnant" and ask your doctor to help you edit your Personal Daily Allowances to cover both conditions.)
The five sections in the lower part of the form are for recording your weight goal and the diseases, diets, diet drugs, and nutrients that interest you most. These help your Personal Health Coach tailor its advice more precisely to your goals.
The "Get My Records" button is for importing your old records into Diet Power when you upgrade to Version 4.4 from Version 3.3 or older. It works only when you first enroll in 4.4. If you're trying to import 4.0 or 4.4 records (transferring them via a Travel Bag backup, for example):
Close the Personal
come to the wrong place.
Click the Travel Bag button——and use its Import tab.
"Recalculate my PDAs."
(If you're filling out the Personal Information Form for the first time, this box will be grayed out.)
When you revise your Personal Information Form, some of your changes may cause Diet Power to reset your Personal Daily Allowances (PDAs) of certain nutrients—unless you tell it not to. The changes that fall into this category are:
you report being a smoker, your PDA of vitamin C will rise by 35 milligrams, because smokers need more
of the vitamin.
you report being a drinker, your PDA of alcohol will rise from zero to 0.007 fluid ounces per pound
of body weight—the
maximum allowed under Diet Power's definition of "moderate"
drinking. (The PDA will not automatically adjust itself as your body weight
have to do that yourself. See "Revising Your Allowance" in Alcohol.
(The revised PDAs won't be set in concrete. You can edit any of them after leaving the Personal Information Form. See Personal Daily Allowances, Editing Your.)
If you don't want Diet Power to change the PDAs you've established, uncheck the box labeled "Recalculate my PDAs" before closing the form.
To close the Personal Information Form:
If you want to save the changes you've made, click OK or press the Enter key. Diet Power will save your work and take you back to the Home Screen.
If you'd rather discard the changes, click Cancel or press the Escape key. After asking you to confirm your decision, Diet Power will restore the page to its former condition and take you back to the Home Screen or the User List, whichever you came from.
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Last Modified: 7/1/07