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Wow, I really can't handle the food tracker

Friday, March 15, 2013

I've been using the food tracker for the past four days, because my midwife wants me to keep a food diary.

I'm definitely DONE using the food tracker.

I stopped counting calories when I did my Whole 30 last fall, and I'm very quickly remembering why. Here's the deal:

1.) I start freaking out about numbers right away. The simple fact of the matter is, I have NO IDEA how many calories I need in a day. Knowing that I'm supposed to eat "300 extra calories" each day for my baby's growth doesn't really help. Does that mean I should be trying to eat 2300 calories daily? 1900 calories?
And calories aren't the only numbers that I worry about -- carbs, fat, blah blah blah. Getting hung up on these stats is not at all useful, because it doesn't address the quality of food I'm eating.

2.) I don't trust the numbers it gives me. The food tracker does not know the nutritional information of the bread my husband bakes, or the ingredients in the chicken salad I ate at lunch (which I hope doesn't kill me). The yogurt I eat doesn't list potassium in its nutritional information, even though all dairy products contain the mineral. So am I really potassium deficient?

3.) I immediately have awful feelings of food guilt and that's just fcked up. Sure, today was not my healthiest food day, but when it's 70 degrees and sunny, few things are more delicious than a slaw dog, fries, and ice cream. Sure, it wasn't the best choice given that I also had a brownie and some sweetened tea today (but at least I had a big side salad with dinner and chose sugar free ice cream), but it's also not something I do every day, or even every week. I don't really need Spark People's nutrition analyzer telling me I'm turning myself into a big fat pig, thanks.

It only took 4 days for a crappy cycle to start. See, the first two days I tracked, I was SHOCKED by how few calories I was getting. So I figured I needed to eat more to make sure I was hitting the 1900-2200 mark that I "think" is right for me. But after four freaking years of obsessing over my weight, food intake, and how what I ate determined whether I'm a decent human being (I know that's extreme, but my emotions regarding food got pretty intense before my W30!!!).... I can't see numbers like the ones I see today and feel OK about them.

I can't let my relationship with food get that fcked up again, ever. And I certainly can't let that happen when I have a person to grow.

My midwife will not be happy about what I ate today, I'm sure of that. But you know... it was DELICIOUS, and it was a rare treat that I don't want to feel guilty about. And tomorrow, I'll be right back on track with a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner (corned beef and colcannon, yummmmm).

So to hell with calorie counting and obsessive guilt, and hooray for loving my body and my growing bump!

Also, turns out I can't do a W30 or even strict Paleo. My midwife wants me to eat every 2-3 hours (that means a mid-morning snack, an afternoon snack, and a before-bed snack, with smaller meals in between. THIS IS SO HARD FOR ME TO DO, OMFG), to drink juice when I'm "blocked," and eat yogurt daily for the probiotics. Whole30 is pretty strict about not snacking, juice is forbidden, and obviously even cultured dairy is a no-go. So while I can definitely eat a primal blueprint, a W30 is out of the question for now.

I also ran out of coconut and almond flours and have been crazy busy, so I haven't had the time to bake any kind of paleo snacks that quell my crazy carb cravings (like banana bread or big batches of pancakes). I have more now though, and a quiet weekend planned, so hopefully I'll have a few more snack options on hand.

Today has really been my first "bad" food day in a quite a while though, and I'm pleased about that. I'm eating lots of veggies, getting plenty of protein, and taking good care of my gut. I want to make my mindwife proud!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Find what works for you. I happen to love the food tracker, but if it's not working for you, I think you can find balance without it. You'e aleady learned everything you need to know about healthy eating, and you can continue to apply that. Just add a few extra healthy snacks to get the extra calories you need.

    I wish you all the best!
    1806 days ago
    I have become obsessive at times, with the number and the carbs and protein, etc etc and had to back away from tracking on here. At least you are still journaling what you eat, that is the biggest part- so you can see trends and evaluate the quality of food you are giving yourself and your little one.
    1813 days ago
  • JGRAY55555
    You said,
    I've been using the food tracker for the past four days, because my midwife wants me to keep a food diary.

    I'm definitely DONE using the food tracker.

    I didn't mean to offend, just offering up that I don't over-think the food tracker, and I don't see the value in bashing it??

    I don't think the food tracker suggest that you eat yogurt, or drink juice when you're "blocked" or eat paleao. It is just a tracker of what you and your midwife decide is best for you.

    I am sure there are many sources that can tell you about nutrition related to pregnancy.

    Good luck to you and your child. I just became a grandpa for the 3rd time, it is wonderful!
    1824 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/18/2013 6:22:00 PM
    Hey girl,
    Can I say congrats again or are you plum sick of those already? CONGRATS!

    I hear you about how numbers and expectations (self-imposed or not) can mess with your head. I just recently started using the tracker again, and I almost completely disregard it since it says I'm getting too many calories and way too much fiber (I'm just munching on fresh veg all day, hippie dippie smoothies and nuts, because that works with my cooking-averse, 3 hours a day commute, boring cubicle lifestyle), but it's gotta be better for me than the far more tracker-compliant 3 McDoubles a day I was plugging in when I lost all that weight a couple years ago (not that Sparkpeople is to blame for those stellar food choices, I know), or my recently atrocious diet while I was in a bit of a long-haul slump.

    Sounds like between that self-aware head you've got on your shoulders, Miles, and your midwife, you are more than prepared to do this baby thing.

    Can I also compliment you on how relatable your writing is? Always, always an interesting read, even for somebody like me that cannot fathom caring for something more significant than my plants and hermit crabs.

    Hope your day is smashing!
    1824 days ago
  • JGRAY55555
    I have lost almost 70 pounds in about 7 months. I COULD NOT do it without the food tracker. NO, it is not ALWAYS 100% correct, who cares. It is way more accurate that what I tried unsuccessfully to do before. When I eat a brownie, I know the price I have to pay. I figure if I am off a few calories, or spark is off a few calories, then maybe I lose 1.5 lbs instead of 2, or maybe 2.5 instead of 2. It all works out over time.

    Don't freak out that all the numbers are not exactly correct, but use them as a guide. JMO

    Good luck in what ever you do.

    1824 days ago
    I found ther tracker one of the more useful tools on the board. I don't use it like I did in the beginning, but by doing so I know the calorie content of what I call "stock" meals....the things I eat almost daily for breakfast and lunch.
    1824 days ago
    Do what is right for you and that will work for your little one too! Actually- I think that the baby will take what is needs- the questions is whether you get what you need- so keep on following your own voice. Step one of parenting. You can do it! Believe in yourself. All will be well. Congrats to you!!!

    1825 days ago
  • BOPPY_
    Isn't this simple?

    If you want to lose weight, and you're losing it without the tracker, then you don't need it.

    If you want to lose weight, and you're not losing it without the tracker, then you do need it.

    If you have special dietary needs, find the foods you need and eat them; avoid the ones that are causing problems.

    Maybe, I'm just confused, though?

    1827 days ago
    I'm so with you about the food tracker. I haven't used it since November. Those numbers of whether I was over or under just added up to guilt or anxiety. If I ate 1400 calories and was still hungry, didn't that mean I needed more food? Yet that 1400 became some kind of barrier that didn't correlate to my real nutritional needs.

    If I track, my calories are pretty low by Spark standards. But I'm not hungry. Seems to me that's the right amount of food. If I ate more when not hungry, then I'd be overeating. That was a concept that took me a very, very long time to undo, and I don't intend to go back.
    1827 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/15/2013 8:42:41 PM
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