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The Key to Success

Saturday, August 03, 2013

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. emoticon

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. emoticon

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!” emoticon

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. emoticon

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! emoticon 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! emoticon

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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for the comments on my blog. I appreciate the support greatly. Yeah, I walked tonight but was rained on so had to bring the exercise indoors after a half hour or so. I'm happy my fog lifted off of me so I can feel better, like myself again~ emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1629 days ago
    I agree.

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    1654 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/9/2013 2:21:15 AM
    Alie, great blog. Although I've always tracked regularly, I too have room for improvement, especially with the ranges. I usually try to make sure the calories are in line, but my carb/fat ration seldom fall the way it should. That will be what I work on in this challenge. Thanks for sharing. emoticon
    1658 days ago
    emoticon me too.
    1659 days ago
    1659 days ago
    To answer a question that was asked, here's some additional info (I don't mind at all sharing, especially if someone else can benefit from it).

    My calorie range is 1200 - 1550 and over time on average I'm around 1350 - 1400. There are many days that I'm right at the max, but I try to be on the lower end the next day to offset it. One thing that I found early on was that I was often at the highest (barely in range) on fat, and at the same time at the lowest (again, barely in range) on carbs. From reading on here about nutrition, I learned that you need the carbs to burn the fat, so this combination is not good for weight loss (or management). That's one of the things I had to really work at adjusting so that my fat stays more in the middle, and carbs likewise. This was the hardest adjustment and I struggled with it. When I added fiber tracking, the carbs increased pretty much naturally to get the fiber in the 25-35 range. I found that what I had been doing was limited my carbs in order to fit in my high-fat treats and still stay in calorie range! Once I stopped that imbalance, everything seemed to fall into line. I think this may be what helped me avoid a plateau like so many others have hit. In the beginning, the pounds come off pretty easily, but then if you don't adjust something , it's easy to get stalled out, or at least that's what I've seen. Maybe the carb / fat balance thing is obvious, but it sure seemed to be a revelation to me once I figured it out!

    1659 days ago
    WooHoo on staying committed to tracking. You are doing great!
    1660 days ago
    I know exactly how you feel right now. You are so right about sticking to tracking foods. And most of all, lots of freggies. for me, Eating them made me feel good in Side and out. Although I felt bit of deprive of eating so clean and this weekend I had to rewind myself a bit of indulgence. But I will start back healthy me coming this week. So over all, I finally feels like me again nowadays. I know that you are feeling great too. Have a wonderful Sunday my dear.
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    1660 days ago
    Tracking is crucial to being able to lose weight and to keeping it off. Now that I am in maintenance I am not so rigid and faithful about tracking every last gram but I notice when I have not tracked for awhile I gradually start making poorer food choices.
    1660 days ago
    Wahoo, you are doing great. If I may ask, what is your calorie range and where do you usually fall within it? I have been staying pretty faithful to 1200-1500 c per day since January with much less dramatic results. My daily average over time is about 1350.
    1660 days ago
    You're truly spot on!

    1660 days ago
    Doesn't integrity feel great? I'm so proud of you for sticking to your commitment to track your food every day and for adjusting your food choices along the way. Terrific blog post!
    1660 days ago
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