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Tracking Makes a Difference, but...I Have Questions...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I know it's true, even if I don't want to admit it. Writing down my food and tracking my calories make a big difference in what I eat during the day. Even if I'm not exact or if I go back and enter it to the best of my memory after the fact, it still curbs my indulgence (overindulgence?!).

I sometimes get overwhelmed with the idea of having to track calories - how can such a little thing seem so time consuming? I have the app for my phone and I log on to a computer fairly frequently throughout the day - whether for work or at home.

Long ago I lost 40# through weight watchers - mostly from tracking my food. And then you looked it up in books, wrote it down in a book, and added up the totals. When I stopped writing down the calories, the pounds crept back on - that should be pretty clear indicator.

But, it still seems like an effort. I'm trying to change that mindset, because I know it works. I need to stop fighting it and embrace it. How much time out of the day does it really take? Not much.

Does anyone out there have any good tracking tips? Either psychological or practical?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Since you already know that tracking will keep you from gaining the weight back again why don't you use your phone and take a picture of your meal. Weight Watchers even incorporated an app into their online system for their phone apps that lets you do this. I think My Fitness Pal does too. That way you could sit down once a day or even once a week and input it all into the computer or notebook. Even if you aren't tracking calories you will still have a record and when things start to fluctuate you can go back and see how you have been eating.
    1734 days ago
    Ha--it took me about six months to work up to sharing the food tracker after I decided that I should. The fitness tracker, no problem--exercising every day isn't a huge challenge for me.

    Just something to think about...maybe...some day. :)
    1735 days ago
    Good ideas, AZULVIOLETA6! I can see where making your tracker public would help keep you accountable, but... Eeek. You are brave. I will give it some thought...

    Checking in like Facebook will really help me change my mindset. I think that is the big advantage of going "all in" with SparkPeople versus just using it to track calories and fitness minutes like I was doing in the past. I'm starting to see this as a bonus instead of a chore!!
    1735 days ago
    I kind of see it as being like checking Facebook or reading an online message board--it's something you can do in your down time or while something else is going on. It only takes a few minutes a day, but it's a great opportunity to learn what really does and does not work for you in terms of exercise and nutrition. You can only begin to see trends if you track everything, pretty much every day.

    It has really helped me to make my tracker public too. Knowing that other people could look at what I am eating helps to keep me accountable. Since I started sharing my trackers, I've really only had one short period (the last couple of weeks!) when I didn't keep up with things.

    Like anything else, it is a habit. Force yourself to do it for a while and before you know it, it becomes second nature.
    1735 days ago
    I try to eat the same thing everyday for at least the work week. That way I can copy foods from day to day. Otherwise I log my food for the following day the evening before, then pack that for my lunch. I tend to eat what I bring to work when I've preplanned.
    1737 days ago
    Try planning your day in advance. Track what you are going to eat the next day. It only takes few minutes in the evening to do this and I find it helps keep me on track when I do that. Use the "favorites" and it will go quickly.
    1737 days ago
    Thanks for the comments and good ideas. I do like it when I can just copy a meal - but I don't make good use of the "favorites". On work days I can enter everything I bring to work in the morning, when I have a bit of time with my coffee. That helps. Maybe tomorrow I will time how many minutes I spend tracking food?
    1737 days ago
    Since any of my meals are repeats, I just go back to that page and copy on present day menu. That helps me.
    1737 days ago
    Eat the same things over and over again and put those items in your favorites! I am...only sort of kidding. :)

    I eat a lot of salad-in-a-jar and I just copy/recycle those meals over and over again. Even if I make a completely new salad, I only have to enter it once and then just copy it from there. You can also save recipes in your recipe book--I've found this a bit awkward, but it does work. I also tend to eat simpler foods when I am recording everything because it is easier to track...but that also leads to eating more whole foods, which is probably healthier anyhow.

    Tracking BEFORE you eat something can also be helpful. It's harder to backtrack and easier to go outside of your goals if you aren't calculating everything along the way.

    It's easy for me to track most days because I work from home on my computer. When I am away from home of have a disruption in my life which takes me away from work, then things get challenging for me.
    1737 days ago
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