My relationship with the food tracker has been a love-hate one. I never liked the idea of writing down everything I eat, even though I had heard of many dietitians and nutrition experts who would recommend it. According to them and to many researches and surveys, it can highly contribute to everyone’s weight loss efforts.
When I first joined Sparkpeople, I tried to use it for a couple of days. All products were in American brands and most measurements were in oz or packages which I had no idea how to convert to my own metric system. Already being negatively biased towards it, I found every little difficulty insurmountable and forgot about it. And I spent two years as a Sparker who would lose and gain the same couple of kilos!
I had already put exercise in my life for good and I was already considered a somewhat fit person but still the weight wouldn’t come off. That’s when I decided this ugly, despicable tool had to be given a second chance! But the difficulties still had to be surpassed in a way. And the perfectionist inside my mind started shouting: “If you’re going to do something, you have to do it right!” So, I started putting everything in the food tracker from scratch! The food labels became my second favorite reads, the best sellers of my weekly reading!
And the awful tool became an eye-opener! Suddenly it all made sense. Distorted idea of right portions, high fat content where you least expect it, calorie-bombs out of "just a treat"! The reasons I had put on so much weight, the reasons I couldn’t get rid of it, my high cholesterol (ok, there’s a bit of DNA in that one), all the puzzle pieces fell into place. And I have to admit it. The food tracker, the tool that I love to hate, was my best friend in losing 19 kilograms.
No, I haven’t kept on tracking ever since. I used it sporadically but it was still helpful. My feelings towards it are still mixed. I still ask myself the same question. What is the food tracker? Is it an indispensable tool for weight loss? Is it a necessary evil for maintaining weight? Is it an obsessive habit that in a weird way helps us balance our relationship with food? Or is it all of the above? I don’t have the answer to that. And if you think you do, I would really like to hear it!
But I know one thing. Everyone who has had a hard time losing weight should definitely try it. It may not suit you as a weight loss tool, you might not become a dedicated user for life but it will definitely provide you with valuable information concerning your eating habits. Use it for a couple of days or for a week. But be honest with it. It will pay your honesty back by showing you the real reasons you can’t lose weight. Mind you, it can be rude! But sometimes that’s what we need to realize our bad habits: a rude awakening!