I have become alot more aware of what I put in my body. When I eat a cup of veggies vs. a cup of processed something, I dont realize how big of a difference it is till I see the numbers on my trackers. Over time I have been able to make better decisons for my body because of tracking
Keeps me honest. No reason not to record everything because you can't fool mother nature! It really is the reason for my success. I do have weeks where I don't lose and I can correlate that to when I am not measuring my foods (though still tracking)....I need to continue to measure and track to make sure I am not fooling myself!
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning but anyone can start today and make a new ending." ~ Maria Robinson
The same way a checkbook keeps you on budget. If I know I'm writing everything down, that "handful" of kisses becomes four...it's defined, and I'm not fooling myself grabbing a couple every time I pass by.
The others have given some great reasons for the success of "dietary self-monitoring" (keeping food records) and weight loss and weight maintenance. Here is an article that analyzed many of the studies in this area, as well as other successful weight loss strategies:
tracking helps you pinpoint the exceptions. in other words, a lot of people have a fairly healthy base diet [yep, i use the primary definition of the word, which is what one eats] but it's having too many extras, even if all your extras are 100 cals, that puts them over. one or two are fine. seven or eight perhaps not so much. most people are better at remembering what they usually eat and what they were supposed to, so it's harder to remember that you had sugar in your morning hot beverage and the donut for a midmorning meeting snack when you think you'll add a little more granola to your afternoon yogurt or grab a piece of candy from a coworker's dish. also when you're tracking you notice that you ate out ten times this week, whereas you might not if you usually ate in. i mean, you'd notice you ate out more frequently than usual, but probably not the extent.
if you note portion sizes as well it also helps you prevent portion creep. it's fine to finish off something in one meal, thus giving yourself a larger portion. but start doing it more frequently and you get used to it. so your one cup portion becomes 1.13 cups, then 1.25 cups, then 1.3 cups and so forth.
actually looking up the nutrition info also helps with the common misconception that you should eat as much as possible of things that are good for you. while it's fine to eat as much kale as you can stand because it's a low calorie food, eating as many nuts as you can adds up very quickly. and a lot of people don't realize how high calorie eating out is relative to how many calories they burn. they think "a smoothie is a good for me choice and tasty" without realizing that the smoothie has 600 cals. and while they know a cheesecake factory dinner is large, they probably don't realize that it's 2000 cals large, which is a full day's calories for most women.
Edited by: NIRERIN at: 5/11/2014 (19:29)
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5/11/14 7:26 P
For the same reason as my son behaves better in class when he knows he's getting a daily "getting stuff done or not" evaluation than when he doesn't. Much of the stuff we do that is bad for us we know perfectly well that it is, but when you are writing it down every single day it's a lot harder to fool yourself about what you're really doing, and a lot easier to reinforce signs of progress.
On top of that, many people just really do not know how much they are eating, or how little of the best things (or how much of the worst), and tracking helps with that. It can be difficult to figure out how to stay in a weight loss range if you have no idea at all how much is going into your body.
All that said, not everyone tracks to lose weight (I do not, and would most certainly not have wanted to lose twice as much or twice as fast as I did anyway!), but I'm a bit of an oddball and it's not like I don't have my own personal means of accomplishing any of the same things.
Because you are more prone to pay attention to what you are eating.
Once you know calories counts of food, you make wiser decisions. You say to yourself "I'm gonna have an apple for a snack for 100 calories, as opposed to a snickers bar for 225, and 15 grams of fat".
It also helps you form decisions on meals, once you know how many calories you have already consumed. Say it's dinner time and you have eaten 900 calories for the day, and your goal is 1500. You can choose to have grilled chicken and brown rice and greenbeans for 500 calories and very low fat, or lasagna for 900 calories and 35 grams of fat.
Does that make sense?
Tracking helped me lose my first 25 pounds alone - no exercise, so yeah...it works - well, it does for me.
Now I'm doing maintenance for a bit - and I don't track - but....I'm eating basically the same foods I've been eating all along - so I know off the top of my head pretty much the amount of calories, fat and carbs I am eating every day - but I would have never known those numbers, had I never tracked for all those months.
Renataruns is a member here (the only one I know off the top of my head) who never tracked, and she has had good success - so it's always interesting to hear her take on tracking.
The best exercise in the world is to bend down and help someone up.
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