Tracking would be far too much pressure for me and (in my opinion) focus my attention on something extraneous to the main thing, which for me is eating proper portions of good food. I've never tracked, and I've done and am doing great with my weight.
I think not tracking (especially during the weight loss phase) is a lot more realistic an option for people who eat outside the house only rarely and cook much of their own food at home. And then also, it's important to be willing to avoid snack foods to a great extent and not to snack in an un-portioned (straight out of the box) fashion at all.
If in your opinion tracking is focusing your attention on the wrong things, then consider controlling your portions in other ways. (If you always use the same scoop for your breakfast cereal it's impossible for hunger or bad thoughts to fool you into measuring out twice as much as usual, for instance.) And if it doesn't work after a month or two, remember you always do have the option of tracking to fall back on and there's no shame in that. Most here find it very valuable. I'm just a weird exception.
Height 5'8 1/2" SW: 190+ CW: 141.0 Woohoo!
5K 4/21/11: 31:55
77 Maintenance Weeks
Fitness Minutes: (27,633)
2,361 12/20/13 9:12 A
I can relate to the issue. Some days it seems that every time I have a free moment I'm tracking food. I've had days when I found myself thinking "Oh, I have more calories left I could consume-I better got eat something!" These are not helpful. Now I try to track my whole day first thing in the morning. I'll track all my planned meals and snacks. Then at the end of the day I make changes to the tracker as needed. This works two-fold for me. 1-I'm only tracking twice so not always obsessed about the food. 2-I already know what I'm going to eat for the day so there's no guess, no going off-plan, and less temptation.
Pounds lost: 9.0
Fitness Minutes: (28,951)
12/20/13 5:43 A
I agree. At first it most definitely stopped me from overeating and gave me awareness related to what I was eating. Now, though, I feel it actually prevents me from undereating. A lot of the time I'll sit down halfway through the day, or toward the end, and track my food and realize I need to eat a bit more than I had planned to meet my needs. In this way, I definitely do eat more because of the tracker. I will say it must not be a bad thing, though, because even though I've only been trying to maintain, I've kept losing.
“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” --Christian D. Larson
Perhaps it would work for you to plan all meals/snacks 1 week in advance. Grocery shop for items needed. With this plan, you don't have to think about it continually. Prior to the next meal, look at your list and you already know what to have.
Becky Your SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Fitness Minutes: (24,769)
12/18/13 11:35 P
No, just the opposite. I eat much less and control my carbs better when I track.
Would tracking ahead of time (a day or more) be helpful? That way you already know what you should be eating and don't have to constantly refer back to the tracker. I often track ahead that then just make small changes as necessary.
To a point, I agree, but my 'mental notes' are rarely as accurate as weighing/measuring and tracking.
When I'm busy and eating the same things for several days in a row, I don't track, because I've done that. Otherwise, I am reasonably consistent. I aim for the lower end of my range, which gives me flexibility for those 'mind bending' issues associated with tracking.
Every moment is unique, unknown, completely fresh. ~~ Pema Chodron
most people tend to underestimate what they're eating. there are some people who do overestimate, but it's mostly under. the thing is that a few days doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. if you want to see if you're ready to not track, by all means try it out for a few weeks and see what results you get. that's going to be the deciding factor in the track or not question. some people can transition to not tracking rather quickly, others can never make that change. you won't know until you try. if you're new to this, it's pretty common to be very focused on something when you're learning about it. and that's true whether you're counting calories, learning basic car repair, teaching yourself french or even how to french braid your hair. it's one of those things that tends to plateau off for most people after a while. after that point it kind of becomes automatic or you get distracted by something new.
I've noticed through my time on SP that when I track my food constantly, I have a tendency to eat more. It's like I'm always thinking about food! I did an experiment where I did not track for a few days, and just took mental notes of what I was eating and when and discovered that I ate much less when the pressure of tracking was removed from the equation.
Does anyone else have this problem? Obviously, most of us are on here to lose weight and food plays a role in there somewhere but I do not want my new obsession with it to be tracking every calories and gram of fat then calculating it into a daily profile. Every meal should not be a math lesson! lol
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