For Week 2 of the Summer 5% Challenge, the healthy habit we are scoring points for is tracking our nutrition. When the announcement was made about the week 2 LTGL habit, my first thought was “Great! I do this already and it’ll be easy!” Then I started thinking about why I do it and what it has meant to me and decided to blog about it today, the start of our Week 2.
On my seven month journey (this time around), as I’ve been losing weight and down-sizing, many people have commented on how good I look and ask how I did it. There are a lot of answers to this that are true, but if I had to name one thing that’s changed my lifestyle for the better and made the biggest difference, it’s nutrition tracking. Along the way, I’ve added other habits in that are also important, but for me, nutrition tracking laid the foundation for nearly all the others.
Learning all over again what I was eating in terms of nutrients was once again a real eye opener. The tracking gave me the information to begin making small adjustments in my eating patterns and habits until I was comfortable sustaining the changes and staying within recommended ranges. This came in stages:
First, the only goal was to stay within the limits of calories. This took lots of adjustments and made me start to make different choices for food.
Next I focused on getting in the recommended ranges for carbs, protein, and fat, all at the same time as staying within the range of calories. This took a number of readjustments and I had to get more creative in meal planning and food choices….exploring new recipes, reworking many of my old ones, and just trying more new foods.
Then I focused on getting 5-8 servings of freggies. By doing this, I found that some of the other imbalances in my nutrients came into line more easily, and I was less hungry. “OK then”, I thought, “this is really working, and getting easier!”
Finally (regarding eating habits), I added fiber to the tracking and worked to stay within 25-35 grams per day of fiber. Adding in the freggies earlier helped a lot with this, but I still found it necessary to make some further adjustments to diet and food choices.
For the last couple of months or so, I’ve managed to stay within all these ranges every day but a few, and everything seems to be working pretty automatically. The tracking aids my meal planning, so that if I add in a “treat” I can see quickly where I need to compensate to stick to my overall nutrition goals. Yay!
This means that “treats” don’t have to make me feel bad and like I’ve failed to meet my goals, but I now have the power and tools to have them and still be on track and headed in the right direction to achieve my nutrition and other health goals.
Since I committed on this path in December, nothing has been perfect, except for this one thing. No matter what, I committed back then to tracking EVERYTHING. EVERYDAY. And I have done this, even when I wasn’t able to stay within nutrition or other targets, or even to stay on track with my exercise plans. For this one commitment, “there is no try. Only do or do not”, and I chose to DO!
My journey to a more healthy and happy me has included making a lot of changes in my lifestyle, and overall it’s been a great success. I feel better, stronger and healthier than I have in many years, and this is attributable to a combination of all the changes without a doubt. But the ONE tool that helped me to accomplish the majority of the changes was nutrition tracking, so for me, it's truly the key to success!