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How To Track Your Food w/out Going Insane?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

This week's Living the Good Life challenge for the Fall 5% Challenge is tracking your food and staying within your calorie range. I had a bad feeling this would come up one of the weeks, and now it has. I know a lot of you do this every day, so I'm asking: How do you track your food and try to stay within your calorie range without going nuts and getting hung up on things being exact? I'm being 100% serious here. How do you do that? How do you not get completely stressed out by it? That's why I've avoided it so long. It makes me want to tear my hair out. (Maybe if I ate a lot of processed foods it'd be easier. Ha. Cooking and not measuring a lot of the ingredients does not make things easy to track.) I know I would probably lose the weight faster if I'd do this, but honestly, I'd rather lose it slower than stress myself out with this. However, I do want to get points for the team so I'm going to try. It's only a week. Maybe I'll find it's not so bad.

By the way, this isn't to say I don't keep track of what I eat. I have a pad of paper in the kitchen, and since March, most days I take the time to write down what I ate. Even if I didn't necessarily want to admit to it. Still, that's different than counting calories but it does keep me at least somewhat accountable.

So, yeah, I would absolutely LOVE to hear some input from you guys.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm not thrilled with tracking either as I cook from scratch too but I think it really helps and it gets easier the more you do it. There are short cuts and once you enter items you can just pull them back up. I'm not into perfection as I know it doesn't exist so some days I do terrible.
    1958 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 4:54:29 PM
    I won't lie. Especially right now I get extremely stressed out over it and am cooking way too many recipes that do not have the calories already figured in Sparkpeople (sigh). If I stopped cooking my tracking would be stellar. emoticon
    1959 days ago
    I saw this blog title and had to check it out. I'm with you! Tracking makes me crazy. I know it works or some people. I'm not one of those people. I eat whole foods, appropriate serving sizes and listen to my body. That works for me. I have tracked enough in the past to know a fair amount about portions. I'd rather be an intuitive eater than a calorie counter. Plus, not all calories are created equal!
    I hope it goes well for you this week. But don't feel bad if it not for you.
    1959 days ago
    I use my iPhone app to track my food. I have a favorites list and a groupings list. I plan my breakfast, lunch and snacks ahead of time and put them in the tracker, so all I have left is dinner.
    1959 days ago
    I have established a list of "favorites" in the Food Tracker and tend to eat pretty much the same things all the time. If you plan your meals and snacks for the day, it's not that difficult but if you randomly grab a handful of something to munch on, it can be rough to keep an accurate record. For instance, I know that a fistful of pecans or almonds is really close to 1 oz. because I've weighed it out in the past. Half an apple, a piece of string cheese, etc. are all really easy to track. Sometimes there's a bit of guess work, like when I make stir-fry. I can weigh out the meat before cooking, "guess-ti-mate" the veggies as I chop and add them, and just measure out the rice when I serve myself. It might not be totally precise, but it's close enough for me.

    Eating out is harder to track, though.
    1960 days ago
    I track everything relentlessly. If I am not tracking it with my phone, I am on the desk top. I measure, I weigh, I track. If I am in the kitchen, I either jot down what I put in or if I used an entire package of say vegetables or something, I take a pic of the nutrition label with my phone and input it on Spark later.
    Honestly, it becomes second nature and you will begin to see greater success.
    It is incredibly eye opening to spend a day or two actually measuring and weighing...
    You will be shocked at how much you are actually eating without realizing it.
    Good luck!
    Start small...
    Give yourself 1 full day of logging everything.
    See how you feel about it at the end of the day.
    1960 days ago
    I like to be accurate too. I have been tracking my food everyday since Feb. and I feel that is my only secret to success. I agree with Amanda, just find a SP recipe close and use that. I does take quite a bit of effort to get your favorites started, but I find I am a creature of habit, so after the first two weeks - much, much easier! Tracking your food is not a perfect science, just a great indicator of progress.
    1961 days ago
  • -AMANDA79-
    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If I'm making something in the kitchen and don't want to take the time to put it all into the recipe calculator, I'll find a sparkrecipe that is similar and track it instead.
    1961 days ago
    Maybe if you planned out your week in advance and used the recipe calculator out would be a little easier?

    1961 days ago
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