To Track or Not To Track
Monday, June 30, 2014
In the past, I have been consistently tracking my food for weeks and even months at a time only to struggle keeping up with it at some point. That usually led to a complete halt of food tracking. Whenever I did not track, I eventually started gaining back weight. So my logic told me, "you have to track to lose." I tried to keep up with it by carrying a little notebook with me and write down all the foods I ate so that I could track them when I would find the time to. Eventually, I realized that I do not want to live like this for the rest of my life. I do not want to obsess over food, measuring and tracking every single bite. I really enjoy eating, and this took away a lot of this joy.
Those who know me, know that I already eat healthy and balanced most of the time. And, no, I will not deny myself an occasional piece of chocolate (or something else that I really enjoy). However, what I had to really work on were serving sizes, a problem many people seem to have (often not even knowingly).
I would say I have a love/hate relationship with tracking. I really love the insight I get from tracking. I see the nutrients I am getting, if I am eating enough protein, too few or too many calories, etc.
I hate the time tracking consumes and how it makes me obsess over the food I eat.
Ultimately, this is not just a weight loss journey I am on, I want to change my life. I want to be able to create a healthy lifestyle that works for me and that I can sustain indefinitely.
So this is what works for me: I eat intuitively and consciously, enjoying the food I eat. I will not eat high calorie/low nutrient foods if they are not absolutely worth the empty calories. For example, I will eat my favorite chocolate on occasion, but I will not eat just a random snack/dessert/candy I see or I am offered if I know that I will merely like it and not absolutely love it. Why waste empty calories on something I do not absolutely love when I can have something nutritious instead? That does not mean I do not try new things. I love exploring new foods, provided they are real foods (more about this another time). From time to time, I will go back to tracking. Sometimes just for a day, sometimes for a week or two. This lets me check in on myself to see how I am doing when eating intuitively. If I notice any patterns (not enough protein, for example), I know what to tweak in my diet.
Do you track or keep a food journal? What works for you, what does not?