with regards to just tracking fruit and vegetables servings. a serving of berries is about 50 cals. a serving of apple is about 70 cals. a serving of avocado is about 80 cals and that's providing you actually only eat the 1/4 of a fruit serving size. all are servings of fruits, but there is a decent amount of variety between them. same goes for dairy and grains and proteins and vegetables. some people can just focus on getting the right amount of servings in and be fine but for other people that can leave them well under or over their goal range. and if you were just planning on tracking produce, well, produce tends to be the lowest calorie servings you eat. there might be a few people who take control of their eating habits by focusing on getting ten plus servings a day and edging out other options, but for the most part most people didn't get their extra weight by eating too much kale. it's everything else that tends to be higher calorie, and higher calorie is where you want to start your efforts. that being said, you get the most and the most useful data by tracking everything. tracking servings doesn't guaranteed you enough fiber, calcium or iron and you won't even know you're lacking in those things if you go by servings. and if you happen to be particularly partial to the lowest calorie options in each category, you might not be eating enough calories. and the same is true on the other end. if you are partial to the highest cal items in each category you could be eating a lot more calories than you need. if tracking is really overwhelming you, either ease into it [add three staples to your tracker a day and after a few weeks you'll have most of the basics you use in there] or don't do it all the time. pick a day a week [but don't change what you eat that day], a track that day, but use your servings plan the rest of the week. fully tracking will help you see the glaring oddities and using servings will make it feel easier the rest of the week. if you find that you're where you need to be when fully tracking, ease off of it and stick to your servings plan. if you start to notice a lack of results, increase the tracking that will give you the most data to work with.
Fitness Minutes: (136,343)
4/18/15 9:23 P
Absolutely critical. I track my food every day and did that while losing weight and now in maintenance. For me it is the only way I can keep honest about what I'm eating. I can tell why I'm losing or gaining or maintaining by looking back over the week.
Fitness Minutes: (26,453)
4/18/15 8:49 P
I kept a written food journal for years. Now, I depend on the nutrition tracker. It gives me the tools I need to see where I can make improvements in my choices. I have all the information I need to assess where I am lacking and where I'm going overboard. It's a fabulous tool.
4/18/15 4:53 A
I have always kept a food and exercise journal, usually just to record food and exercise but I should also be recording my feelings and emotions and get to the bottom of why I eat what I eat, or why I don't eat when I should
Fitness Minutes: (0)
9,764 4/17/15 10:02 P
keeping track of food intake and exercise can be a daunting task but necessary one day at a time God Bless
Fitness Minutes: (195,479)
15,169 8/20/14 1:48 A
I rely on spark because it gives me the carb count which allows me to bolus the right amount of insulin for what I am eating - I've found My Fitness Pal and the FitBit don't give me accurate carb counts so I either over do the insulin or under dose (both are bad).
Q: anyone using food journal or food tracker (eg. those provided by spark people website or myfitnesspal or even the fitbit app).
A: I use the Sparkpeople tracker and related app. When I first started, I tracked every single thing. Now, I track everything on weekdays but am hit or miss on weekends, although I've tracked enough that I know what my food choices do to my weekly loss goals. If I've had a food that I'm not familiar with the calorie count on, I track weekend or not, so I can figure out how that budgets into my week.
Q: What is your experience with these programs? do you find it useful?
A: I like it and find it extremely useful.
Q: how do you manage to stick with it? I tried many times but I usually get bored and stop keeping track after a short period (generally less than a month)....
A: I just do. What I always did before was not working to take the pounds off, so something had to change. That change had to come from adjusting my habits and making tracking a part of my daily routine. When I arrive at work, I start going through work emails and load up SparkPeople. I track the foods I had for dinner the night before, what I had for breakfast, and brought with me for lunch and snacks. Later in the day, around lunch or when the morning chaos dies down, if I've deviated from my scheduled meals - typically didn't eat everything for breakfast or lunch - I shift those out to snack or outright remove them if I do not plan on having them at all. Sometimes I sign in after work while making dinner or after eating dinner and enter my dinner, but usually I wait to track dinner until the next morning.
8/18/14 12:46 P
I am currently using Weight Watchers point plus. It seems to be working beautifully for me
Fitness Minutes: (15,322)
449 8/17/14 9:11 P
Sparkpeople. Mark items u eat a lot as ur favorite.
It's a very individual thing as to what will work best for you, your goals, and your lifestyle. The trackers are just a tool, and different people will find that tool useful in different ways, or not useful at all.
Some folks are like my partner, and have no problem with never tracking a thing, and just choosing smaller portions - he lost 60 lbs that way a number of years ago, and has maintained ever since without ever using a tracker.
Other folks find that getting 10 servings of veggies and fruit each day, along with plenty of water, is enough to keep them full and satisfied enough that they lose or maintain weight, so they track just those to make sure that they get enough.
There are others who track things on more of a "close enough" basis, where they guess at the serving size and pick existing entries from the database that seem roughly equivalent to what they've eaten. There may be days that the calories are off on the high side, but this should balance out with the days that the calories are off on the low side. Most of these folks find that they are more successful with weight loss if they aim towards the low end of the range.
Then there are folks like me, who are as (or more) concerned about some specific nutrient levels than about the calories. I actually started using the tracker because of some medical issues, including some serious nutrient deficiencies. I weigh everything, and enter exactly what I put in to each recipe, because I'm concerned about getting enough of those nutrients. I didn't even start looking at the calorie side of the tracker until weeks after I'd started tracking for those nutrients.
I pre-plan each day the evening before to make sure that I will have the minimum that I'm looking for of those nutrients. I also include some things that are there simply because I *want* them to be (my evening cocoa and piece of dark chocolate). If life happens, or I'm just not in the mood for what I'd planned, then I'll change it on the fly as I make different choices.
The biggest "trick" for me in not getting bored or resentful of the tracker was to not get my knickers in a spin about any one individual day, but to keep an eye on my weekly and monthly averages and trends. If I eat to my hunger, then I find that I'll have some days where I'm a few hundred calories over the range, but that there are more days where I wasn't as hungry and so ended up at the bottom of the range. At the end of the month, my daily calories and nutrients all averaged out to be in range --- and the trend on my weight was continuously downward (so I could happily ignore the daily and weekly fluctuations of up, down, and sideways).
I've been maintaining for a few months now, and still use the tracker the same way almost every day. I didn't track for a few weeks in June and for a week this month while I was out of town, but have been at this for long enough that I pretty much track in my head and so didn't have issues with that - other than feeling disconcerted that part of my daily routine was "missing"!
Keep trying things a few different ways and see what feels the most natural and comfortable for *you*. The changes that you make will need to be ones that you continue for as long as you want to maintain the weight-loss, so they really have to be ones that *you* are happy with.
I am struggling after bariatric surgery almost three years ago. Have let my weight sneak up about 10 pounds. One of the strategies is to use a food journal. I like the SP one and plan to use it as one of my tools. Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions.
I don't always practice this rule but the only way I can be successful is to track everything honestly. I agree it does take a little time to do but I also try to plan one day ahead. Then I know what I'm going to eat and don't have to think about it.
Fitness Minutes: (22,834)
8/15/14 11:36 P
I use the SP tracker and I use it to plan what I eat as much as possible.
There are times I don't feel like doing it, but since I want my blood sugar in healthy places, I do it anyway.
For your last question, it's up to you. If you can lose weight fine. Using the SP tracker gets easy after you get a lot of your favorites and groupings set up. When I started I used both the regular tracker plus the fruit/veg and water trackers, now just the regular tracker.
Also I usually plan the next day in the evening, even if I have to make changes as the day goes on. I get into trouble if I track after I eat something.
Good luck to you.
8/15/14 10:40 A
I was wondering: do you think is really necessary to log precisely all calories or would it be enough to record simple things like how many servings of vegetable and fruit etc? (for example using only the vegetable serving tracker)?
any words of advice?
8/15/14 10:28 A
WOW you guys are really disciplined. I'm impressed! I read an article that reported a study done on food journaling and it does indeed seem to be very useful (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008 /07/080708080738.htm).
I guess I need to discipline myself better.
Are you guys also using the mood tracker that SP provides? Is that useful?
I find SP Food Tracker an excellent way to keep track and plan. Before SP I had set up computer spreadsheets to track but they were cumbersome. I am slowly entering recipes and making favorites. Once these are done it will be easy and quick. Once my day of tracking is done instead of printing out the reports I copy them to a computer spreadsheet. I keep a week on each spreadsheet and can easily see any problem areas to need to correct. Keep tracking whichever way works for you, it works to keep you on course.
8/14/14 11:19 P
Food tracker here, weight and measuring everything
8/14/14 5:14 P
I write down everything I eat in a notebook. I weigh and measure everything. I really don't mind. It keeps me losing weight. I keep up with my exercise also.
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
8/14/14 2:22 P
The tracker was probably the most important thing that helped me lose weight. Before tracking, I thought I was eating ok but when I started tracking I realized I was eating too many calories. I was underestimating portion sizes. I didn't realize how many extra calories I was eating (a cookie when I was packing the kids' lunches, finishing the last few spoonfuls from dinner when cleaning up, grabbing a handful of nuts a few times a day) I also underestimated calories when I ate out.
I grouped things I usually ate together into groupings to help. You could also not enter things like lettuce that don't have a lot of calories to cut down on the entries. Some people plan their meals and enter everything before they eat.
I don't track as much now that I am in maintenance but I often still measure portions.
8/14/14 2:05 P
I use spark people and the way I manage to stick with it is doing it even when I dont want to. Its will power. It gets boring. It gets tedious. It gets to be a pain. But it works, and since I want to lose the weight, I continue to track every day whether I feel like it doing it.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
29 8/14/14 1:56 P
I prefer to use a written journal, I track everything I eat, How I emotionally feel that day, what I did for activity. Silly Me! I bought a childs one year diary to use as my journal/tracker although any notebook would do. I read what I wrote in it every evening while DH is watching TV. I can go back and read anytime I want. I personalized it as a scrapbook with before and during pics, motivational quotes, small articles from magazines etc. This is something Personal I can hold touch, and read. This is part of my day to day life that I can go back to any page. I have been doing this for about a year and surprised how my healthier lifestyle has changed me from the beginning! I don't always like what I wrote or my choices- especially the "bad days" but thats life and I know where to improve.
8/14/14 9:33 A
thank you very much everyone: I guess I just have to try to stick with it. I find annoying because it takes me too much time to log in my meals....but maybe it will be better once I personalized the system!
The nutrition tracker here has been an incredible learning tool for me, and gives me the ability to ensure that I'm getting adequate nutrition as well as keeping in a reasonable calorie range. I can't imagine how I would have made the changes that I have done without it, since it gives me hard data that I can analyze to see exactly what I'm doing. I've had some real eye-openers on calorie counts and nutrition that have definitely influenced my choices each day.
As for getting bored of it - well, I haven't had that issue, really. It took a bit of time to get all of my favourites set up at the beginning, but now it generally takes me about 5 minutes a day (sometimes a bit longer if I'm putting in a new recipe or two). I guess that I think of it as just one of those necessary self-maintenance things that I just "do" every day - like showering, and brushing my teeth. It's such a habit now that I don't even think about it, I just automatically weigh, measure, and track everything that I eat (and feel somewhat disconcerted when I'm somewhere that I can't do it --- just like I'd feel if I weren't able to shower or brush my teeth).
Fitness Minutes: (18,343)
4,275 8/13/14 1:13 P
I use the Spark People Food Tracker DAILY. After EVERY meal. If I didn't -- I would not be losing weight!
I use it - when I stop I find that I also don't eat as well. When I am being consistent I even track bad days or cheat days it makes me very aware of how bad I really was and if I'm not seeing results I know why. I have the Spark mobile app on my phone and some things that are standards in my diet - bagel thin with peanut butter or a salad - I put the foods together in groupings and it saves time when logging and makes it easier. I also save a lot of things to my favorites.
Try sticking with it a month and see if the calories in vs. spent matches your weight loss - it may encourage you to do it more faithfully.
8/13/14 1:10 P
I track using the sparkpeople app. I've tried tracking before but this is the most consistent I've ever been and I'm seeing results. It's almost like a game for me to get to my calorie goal for the day.
Fitness Minutes: (102,340)
3,769 8/13/14 12:52 P
Yes. I track my food here on Spark. It's the only way I've been able to consistently lose weight and keep it off.
8/13/14 10:18 A
Hi, anyone using food journal or food tracker (eg. those provided by spark people website or myfitnesspal or even the fitbit app).
What is your experience with these programs? do you find it useful? how do you manage to stick with it? I tried many times but I usually get bored and stop keeping track after a short period (generally less than a month)....
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