It’s amazing. Really. I am in the morbidly obese category even though I don’t look THAT big. (Denial, much?). And yet I always proclaimed that I didn’t eat much.
You know what? I didn’t. So imagine my quandary as to how someone who didn’t eat much could continually gain weight or at least stay well overweight.
No more confusion. I’ve been tracking my food and drink intake with myfitnesspal.
It’s a very useful app and if for nothing other than making you realise what you eat and drink adds to your problem then you need to get it (or something similar).
Benefits of keeping a food diary
What I realised when I started tracking using this app was that
1. I didn’t eat a lot (lucky to hit 1200 calories some days)
2. what I ate was the problem!
When you see the calories in one Anzac biscuit (123 calories) it doesn’t sound much. But when you scoff down 3 – that’s an entire meal full of calories! Compare that to nibbling on a cupful of cherries (74 cals) and you start to learn about better food choices.
That’s the thing that I have gained most from using this app to track my calories – that most of my habitual food choices are high calorie. So even though I don’t eat lots (in my mind) those nibbles and snacks on low-nutrient-dense foods that just satisfy my mouth are the reason I carry so much weight.
Solution? Eat foods that still appeal and satisfy but that do not have the high calorie load.
Usually that means fresh foods or least-processed foods. OR. Still having what I want but limiting the quantity.
Yeah. Haven’t learned that one yet so my best solution is to avoid buying those treats. I know when I think of heading to the shops on the way home to get ‘something’, my subconscious is trying to pull a swifty and push me into buying chocolates, cakes, lollies, pies, biscuits, ice-cream … you know, that food you’d kill for!
Apps like myfitnesspal also show you the nutrient breakdown of foods and drinks etc. That is also very educational if you have no clue whether a sugar is a sugar or a carb or what. Also, by paying attention to your balance of macro-nutrients (carbs v protein v fats) you start to understand what you need to take in during the day to stay in balance.
Filling out your food journal
Now when tracking, it’s real easy to ‘forget’ so the advantage of an app on your phone is that it’s usually always with you. Doesn’t take long to train yourself to think “oh, I must log that”. You get bonus points when you think about having something and check the calories on the app BEFORE you eat it! Then you know you’re in mode to really start losing weight!
Tracking is about capturing everything that goes in your mouth so include pills and supplements too. Remember to add sauces and condiments – they all add up. Oh, and one thing you’ll realise is that alcohol can be a calorie killer – so if you can’t restrain yourself after one drink a week – abstain completely! Alcohol sure punches above its weight in the calorie department.
Whether you use a phone app, a paper based food diary, a food journal book doesn’t matter. It matters that you TRACK DAILY. Once you get into the habit of tracking your intake you’ll become so much more aware of what to eat or drink and make better food selections. And that will lead to losing weight over time. Educational and practical. Great way to go!