I agree completely! I've been a member of Spark People for quite some time...but only recently have I really started carefully tracking everything that I eat. It's made a HUGE difference. I used to hate tracking everything because it was so time consuming. Who wants to sit down and figure out how many calories they ate when they get home from a long day at work? That's when I started planning out all my meals/snacks for the upcoming week on Sunday. Spark People lets you log your food up to 7 days out...so that's what I do. I plan what I'm going to eat for the week, enter all the days in at once, and then all I have to do during the week is look up what's already been planned and tracked. It's really taken the headache out of counting calories since I only do it once a week.
I really believe that tracking calories in vs. calories out is the best way to diet. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of creating calorie deficits everyday. Personally, I like to use the myfitnesspal app on my iPhone-it makes it so easy to track the foods I eat and the calories I burn, and makes it easier to stay on track!!
Ive been tracking my meals and exercise for 3 years now and have lost 80lbs. Its great but I believe if I was not tracking I still would have lost the same weight. It was more of lifestyle changes I made.
4/20/2013 12:54:36 PM
I just went to read the link for the original research. It seems that this research DOES NOT speak about 'counting calories' or using a food tracker like on SP. Quoting: ""Keeping a food diary doesn't have to be a formal thing. Just the act of scribbling down what you eat on a Post-It note, sending yourself e-mails tallying each meal, or sending yourself a text message will suffice. It's the process of reflecting on what you eat that helps us become aware of our habits, and hopefully change our behavior," says Keith Bachman, MD, a Weight Management Initiative member. "
4/20/2013 12:50:36 PM
So, I wonder, did the participants only write down what they ate or did they track calories and nutrients? The article doesn't mention it.
Also, it is very well possible that the persons who did not keep a record did not do so BECAUSE they weren't (very) good at sticking to the food plan. And those who were good at sticking to it had less of a problem tracking. So I'm not convinced that it is tracking leads to more weight loss.
4/20/2013 8:40:49 AM
I am completely convinced that recording the food you eat helps to loose weight. The reason I'm discouraged when I do it is that I often make my own recipes which are not easy to record in the programs. so I have to search the data base to input my recipe before I can begin to record it. It can take me 30 minutes to just get my recipe into the system. Has anyone else encountered this problem and how have you solved it?
4/20/2013 8:21:44 AM
I finally bought a tablet so when travelling I can keep track of food in the food tracker. Keeping track by writing it down is the only way to go, it is too easy to cheat when you are not writing it down.
My personal experience has been that it's an indispensable tool. I had done Weight Watchers for many years and never tracked, at least not accurately and consistently. And guess what? I always gained all the weight back and then some. Once I started using SparkPeople's trackers, I not only lost the weight but I've also kept it off for more than a year now. I have little sense of correct portions, even after three consistent years, and will easily let them creep if I'm not on top of things. Is tracking a pain? Yes, sometimes. Is it worth spending the time each day to weigh, measure and log my food to make sure I don't end up at 260 pounds ever again? ABSOLUTELY! Of course there are other factors that have come into play, but tracking has been one very important piece of my weight loss success puzzle.
4/15/2013 10:52:10 AM
Just started today. so excited..... plan to lose 50 lbs by October 7th this year wish me luck....
I track, but what I need to change with tracking is(eyeballing it) I am committed to weigh and measure so I know I am headed in the direction I want to go. I find the tracking here on Sparkpeople user friendly + I get loads of nutritional information.
12/26/2012 1:03:14 PM
I tend to start obsessing about food MORE when I track. Not sure it has been a good thing. Just depends on the individual.
I find the food tracker doesn't help me if I'm making/cooking my own food. I'm now making my own calorie counter for the foods I use, getting details from http://www.acaloriecounter.com (free, so I hope this doesn't count as advertising) Takes time, but then saves time as I fill in what I need.
The tracker can work as a menu planner. I found it helpful to plan the whole day down to the snacks on the tracker. It was freeing to see that I can have that snack. It was much easier for me. My friend plans her next day. She has lost a lot of weight. If it wasnt on the plan I didnt eat it. I was satisfied. I need to listen to my own advice. This helped me to not have the paranoid thing about food. I tend to do worse when I am thinking about every bite.
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