Friday, March 09, 2012
I have been on and off of Sparkpeople for years. I have had some success but not really as much as I would want to have. I kept thinking that I could "do it myself." That I didn't really need to use all these tools, and follow all the recommendations and tips. I could just pick and choose. And of course, really, you can. But maybe omitting the food tracker really is a bad idea.
I've always avoided the food tracker. It is tedious. It is time consuming. It is a pain to sort through all the foods that come up every time. But most importantly, I really didn't think I needed to write down what I was eating; I could keep track of it elsewhere. I could just do it in my head. I could just "keep an eye on" what I was eating and it would be fine. I didn't need help with that part.
Except, apparently, I do.
I've been tracking, mostly, over the past few weeks. On the craziest days I didn't, but mostly I have been. I have been mostly pleased with the newer version and it really has been helpful to see what I'm eating and if I'm short on fiber, or veggies, it is then really obvious and that helps. But the real eye opener came yesterday. When I met a friend out for a few drinks, and then emboldened by drink, got McDonald's on the way home. I almost didn't put it in the tracker. Then I realized it was only because I didn't want to know how many calories it was. Which is the precise attitude that has been keeping me fat: I can pretend that I didn't just eat a week's worth of calories if I don't actually look at it. If I just do it in my head, my serving sizes get smaller, my actual amount eaten was not so much, and the damage wasn't that bad.
So, I put it in my tracker. All of it. The drinks, the burgers, the fries. The four pot stickers I had with my drinks, the whole lot of it. I was SHOCKED. I shouldn't be, maybe - I know that alcohol and fast food are very high calorie items and very low nutrient. But this! In those four hours I wiped out all the exercise-calories burned - for the whole week. For the WHOLE WEEK!
Wow. I hardly know what to say. I can't believe it. I knew that it was not the best choice for my weight loss goals, but I honestly didn't think it would be that many calories. To see it like that, with numbers, and see it against my fitness tracker was just so eye opening. Now, next time I am tempted to do that, I will think "but I will have to work out an extra 90 minutes just to burn that off." Or at least, I hope I will. Because I want this to be a life change, not a diet.