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    ITSMATT   11,185
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Step One: Tracking

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Hi there resolution maker.

How are you doing?

Great.

Me?

Oh, I'm doing wonderfully well today.

Thanks so much for asking!

So you've made your resolutions.

You're going to do all sorts of things this year - maybe learn Italian, take up knitting, plant a garden, volunteer, take that cooking class, stop smoking, join an adult kickball team, run a 5k, and lose some weight.

Ah... lose some weight.

Great.


To start things off you need to TRACK YOUR FOOD.


That means accounting for everything you eat.

Everything.
You.
Eat.

Not just the good days.

Not just the things you want to track.

Not just on the days you want to track.

EVERYTHING.

EVERY DAY.

Period.


Notice that I haven't mentioned anything about exercise or creating a calorie deficit.

Not yet.

Let's not put the cart before the horse.

You need to get tracking down first.
Because if you can't track your food, you're probably not going to be successful.

Think I'm wrong?

Ask around SparkPeople.

And look at the statistics.

Folks that don't keep account of what they eat are far more likely to fail at weight loss.
Far more likely to put the weight back on.
And far more likely to yo-yo.


Your FIRST STEP is to TRACK YOUR FOOD.

And the primary component of this is to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF.

Honesty is the best policy in life and it is DEFINITELY the best policy when tracking your food.

Why?

Because if you cannot be honest with yourself when tracking the food, you're unlikely to be successful with your weight loss.

And by "successful", I mean really successful.
Long term success.
Not short term.
Short term really doesn't matter much.

Any fool doing the Master Cleanse can lose some weight short term.
And if you are doing the Master Cleanse or something like that... yes, I think you're being foolish.
It's nothing personal.
It's just stupid.
Sorry. There's just no reason - NO REASON - to engage in such nonsense.
Don't agree with me?
That's OK.
We don't have to agree.
I don't mind if you don't agree with me or don't like how I put things.
But I'm right.
There's no reason to do that lemon water nonsense at all.

You want LONG TERM WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS right?

Then track your food.

And don't try to rely on ridiculous things like Master Cleansing.


Tracking here on SparkPeople is pretty good.
It takes me less than 5 minutes per day to track all of my food.
5 minutes.

And creating groupings helps to make that easy and convenient.
Example:
I eat the following most mornings:
1/2 cup of oatmeal.
1/4 cup of raisins.
3 tablespoons of instant nonfat dry milk
3/4 teaspoon of Truvia

That can get old to enter that each day.
So I made a grouping of those things.
And then I can add it easily each time.

And another shortcut is to copy between days.
That is a real time saver.

You can learn all about these on the site using the help but honestly, it is super simple to do.

And Favorites.

Use the Favorites feature - it makes it REALLY easy to find food that you eat regularly.


Someone wrote on their blog that it was "too hard to track".

I think that is a lie they are telling themselves.
Or perhaps they are looking for an out.
(Edit: I re-read what I wrote and think I left out another possibility - the person just hasn't had enough experience tracking yet to see how easy it is.)
Regardless, it isn't too hard to track.

It just takes a little discipline. And DISCIPLINE is the key here.

So step one is to track your food.

Collect the information for one day.
Then do it again the next day.
And then you have a tracking streak going.

Easy.

And once you're tracking regularly, you can move onto step two.

But that's for next time.

Track your food.

You can do this.

You are strong. Strong enough. Way stronger than you think!

And hey...

Make it a great day!
Matt
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EBIELOU 1/3/2013 12:16PM

    You are so right! The only way to excel at this is to track every morsel that goes into the mouth! I prefer Myfitnesspal to do this! Goodluck on your journey!

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HALFFAST 1/3/2013 11:38AM

    Yep, I totally agree with everything you said!
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FLGIRL1234 1/3/2013 11:23AM

    You.ARE.awesome!
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GINGERHAWK 1/3/2013 10:23AM

    Happy New Year! You're absolutely right, tracking is the key to getting started on your journey. I track virtually every day (admittedly, I have missed a couple of days while traveling) and it really helps to put things in perspective and helps me make healthier decisions throughout the day. Nice blog, as always.

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DEBRA0818 1/3/2013 6:44AM

    It's a revelation every time I track my food: how much my choices cost me in terms of calories (and, in my case, carbs). Tracking not only helps to keep me within my range but also helps me to refine my dietary choices by causing me to think about getting the most bang for my buck calorie wise.

It's an essential tool!

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DOVESEYES 1/3/2013 5:06AM

    I also like daily feed back and looking at the breakdown of carbs fat and protein as 'pie charts' (mmm ....pie). Iron and vit d are also important so track those and what type of fat I consume.

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MAMADWARF 1/3/2013 12:28AM

    I track most days. I have the app on my iPhone. It helps keep me in the right direction....whether I hit my goals or not, at least I know what I'm doing g...its been almost 3 years. I never would have made it this long without it...

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INTHEGAP 1/2/2013 11:55PM

    Ir's really true. I used to hate tracking ~ not so anymore. Matter of fact, I feel like I've cheated EVERY time I don't track. So, I have to be responsible and track. I, actually, wasn't going to track today because I can feel the flu coming on. I haven't tracked since breakfast when I ate 2 pieces of toast with butter and honey (very light on both of those). ALL I've consumed for the rest of the day is tea with a bit of cream and sugar. So, I thought 'why bother' I absolutely will be way under in calories. Upon reading this, I stopped half way through and went and tracked all my beverages. hehe Now, I will know for sure ~ no questions either way. Tracking is VERY important. Thanks. Matt. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/2/2013 11:56:52 PM

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WONDERFUL2BME 1/2/2013 11:43PM

    This is so true. Commitment to tracking must happen or a person is not going to succeed. I have learned so much by tracking and trying to fall in the 0- whatever range at the end of each day on the nutrients. It is quite the game to play. I wil realize I have 300 calories left and I will look to see what categories of carbs, fats, or proteins I need. It is amazing how these various nutrients affect my energy and fullness.

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BOOKAPHILE 1/2/2013 11:37PM

    Those groupings and favorites are what makes tracking a smaller time committment. The longer you track, the more foods you eat end up on that list, and the faster it is to track next time.
Thanks again.

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DALID414 1/2/2013 11:22PM

    Well said, as always.

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SLIMINDOWN31 1/2/2013 10:48PM

    True that! The most important thing I do each day is track my food!

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