Tracking food for one day! Surprise!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I tracked my food yesterday in part to try out this feature on Spark and in part because I wanted to see how many carbs I eat when I don't eat beans or grains.
The first suprise was that spark recommends 1600-1950 calories for me. That is about 500 calories less than I eat on days when I don't exercise in maintenance mode. On days when I run and/or crosstrain I eat around 3000 calories, sometimes more.
The carb recommendation was 208-301 grams, my carbs yesterday were 110 grams so this was not surprising since I was trying to eat lower carb.
The fat recommendation was 41-72 grams which seemed extremely low to me compared to the carb recommendation. My fat intake was 151 grams and that was with only 3 meals without dessert. A typical day for me would be more like 200 grams.
The protein recommendation was 65 grams and I had to add a piece of cheese to meet that requirement. I usually get a significant amount of protein from a combination of beans and grains and I can see how not eating a lot of those and reducing the carbs that way will also lower my protein intake. This would require me to eat more of more expensive sources of protein. In the long run I would not want to do this.
I may keep track of my eating tomorrow eating mostly grains and beans with some veggies and dairy added just to see how that changes my balance of macronutrients.
Overall I can already say that I would hate tracking food every day. There are several reasons. It takes much more time to record food combinations I have not eaten before but I believe in trying new foods all the time and making up new recipes all the time, in fact I hardly ever use the same recipe twice. Anything that is made from scratch (and usually healthier) is more work to track than packaged foods. Instead of spending the time recording foods I would rather have more time to exercise knowing that will make me much happier.
Having said all this, while I'm experimenting with changes in my diet tracking is very interesting to see the proportions of macronutrients and it's worth the extra time.

Today I was playing taxi driver for my daughter most of the day and ate only lunch at home. Everything I ate was fairly healthy but impossible to track.
Breakfast was a vegetarian crustless quiche with some breadcrumbs in it, snack was a handful or two of walnuts and raisins, lunch was a whole-grain melted cheese sandwich, afternoon snack I can't even remember and dinner a home-made lentil stew with carrots and beef. I think I feel like a good serving of ice cream for dessert with a few berries added. I definitely was hungry for some carbs by lunch time today, not sure if that was just habit or because I ended up having some bread in my breakfast.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think your numbers sound GREAT. Yes, they're way off Spark's recommendations, but Spark recommends sooo many carbs, and that means you get fewer calories. Shudder!

    You're also right that you need to eat high fat. If carbs go low, then fat has to go high. Protein does NOT need to skyrocket.

    I think you're doing GREAT!
    3285 days ago
    I have another related problem for tracking - I like to eat out at restaurants and very few post their calorie and macro breakdowns. There is one that does so but is truly the exception!
    3290 days ago
    My next blog, Wednesday, Jan 18, I will be tracking a more typical day, eating what my body feels like and what's affordable.
    Thank you everyone for your feedback. emoticon

    3290 days ago
    It's amazing how many calories one needs to maintain weight while running, isn't it?
    I'm interested what your normal nutrition day looks like in terms of carbs-fat-protein.

    I'm eating above the SP recommendations too, but only 100-200 calories plus, and I still see new minimums sometimes. Usually I'm at the high end of carbs and at the low end of fat and proteins.

    3290 days ago
    When you read the Spark Diet summary you realize it is closer to the MyPlate recommendations. So In addition to utilizing Spark to count the estimated calories I do eat in my more Paleo diet. I also like that I can track nutrients to know when I need to supplement with additional food swaps due to say low potassium intake. Finally, I find the daily report helpful: being in weight loss mode and not eating many starchy veggies, I still find my daily nutritional report (run after all food has been entered for the day, still shows a nice balance of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 of overall calories from fat, carbs, and protein - and I'm okay with that mix!
    3290 days ago
    Thank goodness being a raw vegan and drinking green smoothies I don't have to track. The trackers are off in their recommendations anyway for vegie and fruit eaters.
    3290 days ago
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    Tracking can be challenging, but it's doable especially if you have the SP app on your phone. I will sometimes just approximate it by selecting a restaurant/packaged dish that is equivalent. I know it's not exact, but it should get me in the ballpark.

    I also use food groupings a lot. I'll eat nearly the same thing every morning so I've input that and a few variations into my groupings and can edit from there. Once you've saved your usual food items into the favorites, it also goes a lot faster. A trick I just discovered is that you can pick several items from your favorites and then add them. I did them one at a time for a long time.

    Since I've been eating primally, I don't worry about the calories and just make sure to track the carbs and make sure I get enough fat and protein.

    Hang in there! :)
    3291 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.