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LADEEBIKER1 SparkPoints: (4,275)
Fitness Minutes: (635)
Posts: 29
4/27/14 2:09 P

I'm not a faithful food tracker but I try. I'm better at tracking my water and exercise than food.

VUKELK Posts: 623
4/27/14 9:49 A

Never.....The only way I am is to track and that's the truth!!

CHESAPEAKE60 SparkPoints: (7,725)
Fitness Minutes: (12,886)
Posts: 438
4/27/14 7:35 A

I think once you have tracked long enough you can track in your head. I know I can keep a running tally in my head of how I am doing for the day. At the end of the day if I actually look everything up (which I do occasionally to spot check myself) I am almost always within 50 calories of what I had figured I would be. Having said that, if I am eating out or trying a new food or recipe I will look that up to make sure I have an idea of the calorie content.

I don't worry about the other numbers. I figure if I am eating good healthy lean proteins, lots of fresh veggies and fruits (and staying away from high concentration sugars) that the other numbers will take care of themselves. All the "recommendations" are just ideas of what amounts our bodies need in any case. And the experts change their minds fairly regularly about optimal amounts in any case.

All this combined with good lab and BP numbers, etc at yearly check ups give me the information I need.

We all do whatever works best for each of us. And any changes we make to improve how we eat and live are to be celebrated.....

Edited by: CHESAPEAKE60 at: 4/27/2014 (07:35)
4/27/14 3:54 A

Tracking is tedious and time consuming. Being able to save favorites is nice. Someday I would like to stop tracking, but for now it helps me stay accountable during those moments of weakness. I can see where I'm at for the day and it's a little bit easier to tell myself no.

-RUBIES- Posts: 6,154
4/27/14 2:37 A

Just as others have said, you may want to go without tracking for 30 days or so to see how it works for you. Speaking for myself, I'm a faithful tracker. I don't skip a beat. Without it, I know I would not have been able to maintain successfully.

SENSORYFOODIE SparkPoints: (8,980)
Fitness Minutes: (5,695)
Posts: 244
4/26/14 10:00 A

Maybe when we are finally on top of our food problems, we can let go of certain trackers such as calories. When I was following a certain diet lifestyle and lost weight on it through portion control and exercise, I didn't track my calories. But I have never tracked calories before SP and I have gained much more than I needed to (I am in the overweight, not obese, category). For now, I am going back to a healthier way of eating (more plant-based foods) and significantly increasing my exercise. Overall, it will be a way of life that fits my values, personality and tastes that combined with the changes I've made through SparkPeople.

Edited by: SENSORYFOODIE at: 4/26/2014 (16:14)
REDGIRL54 Posts: 255
4/26/14 12:17 A

I have found that I am more accountable if I track my nutrition and exercise. I began doing this with my diagnosis of diabetes. I was able to keep my glucose levels lower by tracking what I put in my mouth. When I began getting lazy with tracking, my glucose levels went up and so did my weight! Now, I am trying to lose the weight I gained and get back on track so that at my physical this summer, my A1c is at an acceptable level and my clothes will fit better too!

LADEEBIKER1 SparkPoints: (4,275)
Fitness Minutes: (635)
Posts: 29
4/25/14 10:26 P

Hello. I have a problem tracking food so I stopped tracking. I try to be mindful of what I eat. My problem is I don't eat enough. I drink the water but don't complete the fat and other requirements. I do think that if a person tends to overeat they should definitely track foods. When I was on Weight Watchers I lost 42 lbs but had the same problem. I couldn't eat the foods required for one day. I like what RadioactiveGN said. Try it for a month and then you will know what you should do. This is a good site and you will shed pounds. You just gotta work at the program.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
4/25/14 9:46 P

From RadioactiveGN:

"I think you'll have to find out for yourself if you need to track food or not. Try a month without tracking food and see where you stand. I feel like, personally, I need to track so that I'm more aware of when I'm just mindlessly snacking. Everytime I eat something, I think "okay, I'll need to put that in my tracker later" and that keeps me from eating two more servings."

It's interesting, because this is exactly what I didn't want. I felt like relying on tracking would set me up for a world of trouble. Instead I wanted the motivation to eat properly (first for health, then for weight loss, now for maintenance of both) to be my top priority, not layered below something else that I could potentially fail at and feel bad about, even if I was still eating quite well.

So I guess my comments in this thread are just directed at people like me, as encouragement. If you really want to eat well (and lose weight), yet think that tracking would only hurt you given your personality, you can still succeed. You just need to find other ways to go about it.

GLORIAMAJDI Posts: 6,155
4/25/14 9:26 P

I have lost so many times by tracking and every time I quit tracking I gain it all back. This time I feel like I could go without tracking because I am so much more attentive to portion sizes and what I am putting into my body, but I am not going to risk it yet. I might try it in a few months for a week or two to see how it goes but I suspect I will always need that accountability.

4/25/14 9:07 P

I lost 30 odd pounds without tracking (except for the initial month or two, just to see what was going on). This was before I joined here so it is not reflected in my strip below. I think it is good for checking out initial parameters, but after that, up to you. I did track for awhile after joining here, but once you have the idea, I doubt it is necessary unless you Truly Believe it is necessary. Mind over matter or something.

BOREDA SparkPoints: (373,089)
Fitness Minutes: (251,554)
Posts: 4,374
4/25/14 4:51 P

As others have said, it is doable without tracking, especially if you are following a dietitian's plan. But most of us don't have this help, so tracking becomes more essential. Also, even with your plan, I think weighing everything and tracking for a while (a few months, perhaps) gives you a better idea of, firstly, how to "eyeball" a portion size and, secondly, what you can eat more or less ad lib and what you have to keep a really strict rein on.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,287
4/25/14 9:28 A

I reckon if you're following a meal plan from a dietician... presumably, she's done all the number -crunching and sort of "tracked" for you. As long as you stick to the plan, you'd be fine.

It would be going off-plan, that could present some problems. Going out to eat or eating at Nana's house or getting tired of grilled chicken and craving a cheeseburger. If you track your food, you can figure out how to work the occasional off-plan stuff, in. Even people who've previously tracked on Spark... they don't regain the weight *because* they stopped tracking. They regain the weight because they eat too much. If they had kept tracking, they would've seen they were eating too much. Not tracking only lets them overlook how much they're eating.

ROBBIEY SparkPoints: (413,603)
Fitness Minutes: (135,693)
Posts: 12,870
4/25/14 8:43 A

I have to track all my food to stay successful, it has become a regular part of my daily routine.

DIVIERO968 Posts: 184
4/25/14 8:24 A

I lost over a 100 lbs on my own without tracking. Like others have said it is about making yourself accountable. Now when I did start tracking I found that the weight came off faster and I was able to drop the remaining pounds.

ROSEWAND SparkPoints: (185,673)
Fitness Minutes: (70,140)
Posts: 953
4/24/14 3:39 P

As IAMARMSTORNG said down thread, it is accountability
that matters. Tracking is a simple way to achieve
accountability. I have lost weight and maintained that
loss with tracking. Others may be successful with
other forms of accountability. For some, it is
the scale.

You are accountable to your dietitian. That may be
all that you need. The best way is to experiment.
See what works. Pay attention to your results
and you will answer your own question! emoticon

SUZKEE SparkPoints: (132,474)
Fitness Minutes: (65,019)
Posts: 257
4/24/14 2:26 P

I think experts say that most people lose more weight if they track. Tracking really helps me but you probably need to try out your method and see if it works for you. emoticon

LOUIE-LILY Posts: 5,632
4/24/14 1:32 P

As long as you're keeping to a plan and it's working, then that works for you. Tracking was helping me early on, not so much right now. I'm still tracking but not losing so clearly something else is going on. You just have to find what works for you.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
4/24/14 1:16 P

It differs from person to person, I weigh, measure and track because I like certainty

MI-ELLKAYBEE SparkPoints: (228,267)
Fitness Minutes: (210,762)
Posts: 4,388
4/24/14 12:17 P

Tracking works for me....even though I'm not trying to lose more pounds. It helps keep things in balance, and - most important - shows how much sodium I've had. More than ANYTHING, sodium makes you fat.

LADYCROFT7 Posts: 92
4/24/14 12:13 P

Like many others have said, it's a personal thing. I know for me if I need to lose then I have to track, if I'm in maintence then I can go for about a month without tracking but then, although I have a much better idea of what I should be eating, I tend to get lazy. Right now I'm approaching my college finals season and have been stress eating like mad (even though I know I shouldn't) so I really have to start tracking again and hold myself accountable before I regain more than 6lbs.

Edited by: LADYCROFT7 at: 4/24/2014 (12:14)
ALP923 Posts: 23
4/24/14 12:07 P

tracking has kept me on "track"--i think that's one of the reason trying to lose weight feels different for me. i feel in control and motivated when i track. good luck!! we can do it!

PFOLEY7 SparkPoints: (87,243)
Fitness Minutes: (102,285)
Posts: 274
4/24/14 9:51 A

I eat out 2 days a week. The places I go don't have nutritional info available. I do better the rest of the week on my fitness pal and I just got the fooducate app still trying to learn it

I wish sparkpeople would sync with my fitness pal. Multiple places have different calories for the same thing so you don't know what is correct.

BETTERME8913 SparkPoints: (5,341)
Fitness Minutes: (747)
Posts: 824
4/24/14 12:34 A

emoticon I think if you make better choices and focus on eating healthy, weight loss will follow, it did for me without tracking. BUT, now that I lost 20 +pounds weight loss has stopped, not gaining either. I think I need to start tracking at this point to lose more weight. I am eating the right foods now, but maybe too much of them.

4/23/14 6:49 P

It depends on what you need and what works best for you.

Personally, I prefer internal accountable to external forms, and I'm careful about how much I track because one of my biggest problems when it comes to fitness and nutrition is getting overwhelmed and trying to do more than I can. I realized early on that if I focused too much on tracking everything I ate, it would become stressful and I wouldn't be able to keep it up (or have any motivation to). I'm also prone to obsessing over stuff like accuracy, and for my own sanity, I try not to worry about it too much or put complete stock into what Spark's counters tell me.

However, I've found that I enjoy tracking because it's made me more aware of what I eat. I'm one of those people who tend to underestimate the number of calories in food, and tracking has spurred me to pay more attention to nutrition information and has helped me get a better idea of how many calories some meals have. It also made me more aware about how much I was snacking. That, in turn, has helped me make better choices. It can also be a fun challenge to record stuff. I'm trying to build good long-term habits, and I'll probably always try to pay attention to what I eat so that I stay on course.

Whether or not you can be successful without tracking really depends on you and what purpose tracking serves for you. I think there's no harm in doing it, but I think the value is in what you get out of doing it. For some people, that's accountability. For others, it's awareness. *How* you manage accountability and awareness is less important than that you have a method that works for you.

LAURENCT323 Posts: 44
4/23/14 6:37 P

I've known people that haven't tracked and have been very successful. I, however, am not one of those people :). Try both and see what you like better and have better results with.

4/23/14 6:09 P

some can, some can't.

try it if you want - if the scale stays favorable, than yes - you can do it your way.

BENE38464 SparkPoints: (11,303)
Fitness Minutes: (9,092)
Posts: 2,547
4/23/14 5:12 P

I can't go without tracking. However, although I love computers for lots of things, tracking my food is not one of them. I keep a steno notebook on the dining table right where I can see it, so it is a reminder and it is handy when I want it. The steno notebook is divided into two columns and I use the columns to track two days. I just list the food down the column, total after lunch, and then subtract the total from my daily allowance. I write down what it left from my daily plan.That way I know just how many calories I have left for the evening. I didn't track the week before Easter, as I considered myself "too busy." It was a disaster! I gained!!!! emoticon

TMNOLLAN1 Posts: 113
4/23/14 4:38 P

I am needing to track what I eat and see how much is enough. I do lose if I do that. When I get away from tracking then I eat too much. Hopefully can lose without some day.

ALICEART2010 SparkPoints: (61,885)
Fitness Minutes: (16,343)
Posts: 2,273
4/23/14 2:31 P

It really depends on the individual. You CAN have success without tracking. I lost 60 pounds without tracking (I was exercising almost daily) That was in 2010 and my body was more youthful. I think as you age it gets harder to do.

For some tracking is a necessity, for other's it's not.

KHADEEJAH1 Posts: 282
4/23/14 9:02 A

Tracking keeps me motivated, especially when I earn Spark points for doing it

SHAPNUP Posts: 9,579
4/23/14 8:00 A

I messed up when I stopped tracking. Tracking helps keep me accountable. I'm very aware of what I'm putting in my mouth, cuz I know it's gonna have to be tracked.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,521
4/22/14 12:47 P

I would love to get to the point where I am tracking in my own head RenataRuns.

Until then. I think that tracking somehow is a good thing. At least for me.

MICHELLE73101 Posts: 317
4/22/14 12:32 P

Definitely! Once you get the hang of portions, and you know your meal plan works well with your goals, then tracking may be unnecessary.

I would say, every once in a while (if you get off track or feel like you're not seeing results...or even when you're trying something new or seeing AMAZING results), track a little bit. It is so beneficial to analyzing successes and challenges, and also keeps you engaged with this AMAZING spark community :)

JENNA3 SparkPoints: (74,985)
Fitness Minutes: (53,654)
Posts: 2,704
4/22/14 10:03 A

I recommend some form of tracking. If you dietitian gave you a plan, then track each item on that plan some way On paper, SparkPeople, or another tool. If you eat anything off the plan, add it to that tracker. The key is to track in some form--it does not *have* to be on SP.

4/22/14 9:01 A

I think you'll have to find out for yourself if you need to track food or not. Try a month without tracking food and see where you stand. I feel like, personally, I need to track so that I'm more aware of when I'm just mindlessly snacking. Everytime I eat something, I think "okay, I'll need to put that in my tracker later" and that keeps me from eating two more servings.

KKKAREN Posts: 12,754
4/22/14 8:27 A

For me, tracking is essential. When I got to my goal weight I quit tracking and regained the weight. I don't have a nutritionist though. I think if you follow her plan you will not need to track.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,273
4/22/14 8:22 A

if you're following the plan from the dietitian, presumably the dietitian already did all the math and tracking for you. ask just to be sure.
the issue you'll likely have is what happens when you aren't following the plan. are you paying enough attention to portion sizes and meal composition while you are following the plan that you're essentially learning what you need to know to keep portions sizes and balanced meals? or are you just following the set of instructions and not paying any attention beyond that? keep in mind that learning about what is a portion and what makes a balanced diet isn't something that you learn in 3-4 days, 3-4 weeks or even 3-4 months. it takes a long time to learn all those little details. so it's fine to start off following blindly, but at some point you need to learn and create some safety nets for yourself that you can use when you're not following the plan. so things like knowing how many portions your favorite bowls hold, knowing how big an ounce of cheese or four ounces of fish is relative to your hands, knowing how many berries you can hold in your hands, knowing that celery or kale or mushrooms are things that you don't really need to worry about measuring out but that you may always need to measure nut butter and olive oil and avocado, or simply what portion sizes of what kind of foods make up a meal, all of those are things that you can learn while following that plan if you're paying attention. there are people who will have to track forever, period. but there are also a lot of people who can teach themselves all those sorts of little tips and tricks that basically track for them without them making the actual effort of tracking. when it comes down to it, it's also like being able to tie a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue or being able to wiggle your ears. some people can just do it naturally because that have a knack for it. other people can do it if they spend a lot of time and effort learning how. and still others just can't. it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you, whatever category you fall in.
so basically if you can learn to curb what makes you gain weight in a way that doesn't require tracking, then you can. you just have to figure out they why[s], what you need to do to subvert the why[s] and then manage to do that in your head without thinking about it.

Edited by: NIRERIN at: 4/22/2014 (08:33)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
4/22/14 8:00 A

Just speaking for myself, since I am a distinct minority here, I prefer to keep my accountability in my own head, not in anything external. Since I truly want a healthy lifestyle and good relationship with food, much of the issue takes care of itself. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, 0-3 snacks depending on busyness, activity and hunger; desserts and junk food only rarely -- it just keeps going. My weight doesn't change. (This is in maintenance; obviously while still losing weight I had to keep a much more conscious accounting of what I ate and how much, since on some level I was fighting my body to continue to eat just a tiny bit less than I truly needed. That's not the case now, so instinct works much better.)

For me personally, tracking would only have gotten in the way. It would have been an additional burden, something else I would have needed to keep up with and spend time on every day over and above the at-that-time burden of changing the way I lived. Maybe in a way that was my own version of baby steps, or of taking on only as much at once as you're confident you can handle. I wasn't confident that I could handle tracking or that it would be at all a net positive for me, so I didn't do it, and it turned out I never needed it. My weight loss was consistent as reasonably fast; and in the close to a year I've been in maintenance there's only been twice I thought the scale might be drifting upward by a pound or two. In the first case, being extra careful for a week resulted in lower numbers again, and it may in the end have been nothing but water. In the second case I promptly got a stomach bug, so it was a moot point.

Regardless there's no inherent reason that a tiny gain (even if it was real, which it may not have been) needs to result in regaining everything. IMO most of the 'game' is in your head, and if you have that right then you will make it work, whether tracking is part of your self-accountability plan or not.

(Edit: I do believe that regardless of whether tracking or not, it is important to have a reasonably accurate and realistic idea about the foods that you normally eat that could contain an unexpectedly large number of calories. Take a large tortilla, for instance; it might feel like it should be about the same as a slice or two of bread, when actually it has 2-3 times the calories. Or if eating out is your thing and you do it more than once or twice a month, know what the actual portion size of your usual choices would have to be to keep calories in line; or choose different ones. And so on. That much I did do along the way, for the foods I normally eat, and I remain conscious of portions and/or frequency for those things.)

Edited by: RENATARUNS at: 4/22/2014 (08:05)
LADYCJM SparkPoints: (57,456)
Fitness Minutes: (36,342)
Posts: 2,545
4/22/14 1:25 A

I gained back 30#s when I quit tracking my food and slacked off on the exercise.
Psychologically, I have to track exercise and food. Maybe 100 years from now this healthy lifestyle will be so routine that I wont need tracking but I doubt that it will happen any sooner.

COLUMBINE2 Posts: 2,289
4/22/14 12:25 A

I have seen many, many people start back again after re-gaining their lost weight. The first thing they say is "I stopped tracking my food and the weight came back." You might not have that problem, but the other very common statement made is that consistent tracking was the key to their success.

It's so easy for me to start "fudging" (pardon my mention of "fudge") and kidding myself. So I'm in my 6th year with SP...I still measure my food. It just takes a second & keeps me honest.

Welcome to the will find so much reliable, research-based info'll just be amazed!

4/21/14 9:57 P

I use all the resources SP has to offer except for tracking food. I needed it desperately my first go around a few years back, absolutely vital. This time around I haven't tracked (except my first few days) and have been very successful and happy to not have that urge to track as soon as I put something in my mouth. I think it can almost be a detriment (I use that word very loosely as I know how important it is). But if you're just starting out with a lifestyle overhaul, absolutely track everything. I tracked until I learned how many calories/nutrients were in each of the foods I generally ate..I definitely feel free of the training wheels.

ALICIA363 Posts: 1,213
4/21/14 7:24 P

My knee-jerk reaction was "nooo!", but I am a spark baby, and new to this thinner weight, and I am a pickle. See this great blog by NELLJONES:

Tracking was what worked for me. And I'm guessing I'll need it for life (as I'm relaxing about hitting my goal weight, I'm experiencing that selective memory about what I actually ate).
Take good care of yourself and do what works for you!

4/21/14 4:57 P

In my experience, 'tracking' on Spark was more about the psychology of accountability, than what the site told me.

When I stopped tracking early last year, and checked out of Sparkpeople, so to speak, I gained every single pound back.

The power of Community and knowledge share is the strongest element of Spark People, in my opinion, not so much the tools themselves.... when you KNOW that someone is going to ask you how it's going, or when I think of the points I am going to earn for doing tasks, it helps keep me on track.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
Posts: 2,744
4/21/14 1:17 P

I keep a food journal rather than tracking on here. I know my portion sizes so its not so much the calorie counting, but the act of journaling keeps me mindful of what I eat each day. The whole point is to be aware of what you are putting into your mouth each day. If you can do that without actually tracking stuff, go forth and have fun :)

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
4/21/14 1:17 P

Yes, as long as you stick to the plan.

But how many meal plans did you get?

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,521
4/21/14 1:10 P

For me personally I need to track.

If you are following the dietician's recommendations and not straying. Then it may be ok to not track

MARTHA324 Posts: 5,943
4/21/14 11:32 A

The only way I've found to lose weight and keep it off is to track my food. This is from years the past when I stopped tracking my food I started to gain weight. Not sure if I want to test that at this point.
I would like to fine a site though that lets me just track my food and not have to track calories. My eating is pretty consistent and calories stay the same pretty much M - F and will be higher on the weekend.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
4/21/14 11:04 A

Yes. I did it and am maintaining that way too.

I think it's a lot more likely to be successful if the person trying it keeps junk food and mindless snacking to a bare minimum and has some means of keeping portions consistent otherwise, especially with calorie dense foods. I think the scale also becomes more important as a means of keeping an eye on trends. But it's do-able at least for some.

SUNSHINE-BLUE SparkPoints: (1,572)
Fitness Minutes: (405)
Posts: 11
4/21/14 10:32 A

Hi Everyone, I am new to spark people and I have a meal plan from a dietician, I follow guidelines from her daily, I inputted them into my tracker for 4 days to see if I was in range for calories, fat, carbs etc and I am hitting the targets. Can I continue to not track and still be successful in losing weight?

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