Tag Archives: tracking

Weekly Recap

23 Jan

Today was a good day, food-wise, which is more or less on par with the rest of the week. I feel suspiciously full which makes me wonder what I forgot to track, but according to the Weight Watcher’s Plan Manager, I’ve actually got 3 points left over for today (and 21 for the week – which is great). I only overate once, and it was a supper at Mum’s, and I expected to do so and planned for it, and that worked out well. At more bread than I probably should have, but probably only 3/5 of what I would normally eat, so technically a win. And I didn’t have seconds of spaghetti OR desert.

Time to cross my fingers and hope it pays off when I weigh myself tomorrow!

And then all I need to do is figure out how to repeat that next week, instead of regaining whatever I lose as I have been doing the last few weeks….

This WAS a really good week, though. I think I may have (hopefully, maybe, pleaseohpleaseohplease) figured out some of the holes in my eating habits (not eating enough in the mornings, leaving me too hungry all day, not having enough options at lunch) and have managed to plug those with some success this week (went to a different place every day for lunch and forced myself to choose something new from the menu (I have discovered I like Quesadillas, but I do NOT like veggie paninis with weird-ass sauce), and added a chocolate milk to my morning fruit, which feels like cheating but has honestly been working to keep me from being hungry, and despite the huge hit to my daily points (9 points) last week I ate less overall on a daily basis than before I was drinking the milk…plus, hey, dairy, amirite?).

Also (I figured this out before this week, but I’ve come to appreciate just how true it is this week) I really, REALLY like Salsa. I can’t believe I refused to even try it for the last twenty-seven years. It is delicious, and SUPER low points (0 points unless I eat a shit tonne. A shit tonne of salsa is 1 point), AND allows me to actually eat JUST a handful of chips and have my craving for them be satisfied – because I don’t even want the chips, I want the salsa. WTF?! Since when have I ever wanted a veggie-based food over a grain-based food? Never, that’s when!

Peppers are now also among my favourite foods, but this has been for a while now. Tomatoes are VERY SLOWLY growing on me. THere are big chunks of them in the salsa, and my roommate puts them in the salad she makes for us sometimes (big fat chunks) and I am unoffended in both cases. Still don’t love them though, which confuses me. How can I love so many tomato-based foods (salsa, pasta sauce, ketchup, pizza sauce) but not the veggie (fruit?) they’re made of?

Even if the scale goes up tomorrow I name this week a win. Lots of new foods tried (and liked!), I made a few really solid choices when faced with temptation (a few bad, too, but more good than bad), and succesfully planned for the splurges on the weekend.

Me: 1
Habits: 0 (if we include absolutely nothing that happened before this week…)

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Tracking

22 Nov

So, let’s talk about tracking. I’m given to understand it’s sort of a controversial subject in the online dieting community (I’m basing this entirely on the few posts I’ve seen on it, and the generally animated discussions that happen as a result).

Pros


  • Maintain an accurate view in your mind of everything you’ve eaten in a given day. Nine times out of ten I could tell you what I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I’ll probably forget that cheese slice (or four) I ate in between. Oh, and that handful of chips from my clerk’s huge-ass bag. Oh, and then there’s the 75 packs of Rockets I compulsively ingested during a painfully long conference call. And so on and so forth. If it isn’t written down the moment I eat it, my brain moves on about the day as though I haven’t eaten it at all. My fat cells disagree.
  • For planning purposes. In having a written account of everything I’ve eaten, I have a good idea of whether or not I can “afford” a pizza for supper, or if I’m better off sticking to a salad. Without that written record, I’m more likely to suffer from a bout of exceedingly convenient amnesia and eat the pizza, regardless of the burger I had for lunch and the bacon sandwich for breakfast. Please also see previous reference to 74 packs of Rockets.
  • Hampers food-ninja behaviour. I hide a lot of what I eat. It’s a strange little tick I have – I don’t like snacking in front of other people unless they’re also eating. If I find myself alone in the kitchen, I will eat before someone can come in and find me. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’m very good at it. Interestingly, although it’s not guaranteed, probably about 50% of the time whatever primitive part of my brain prompts me to be a food-ninja recognizes the tracker as a person. If I can convince myself that I have to write it down in order to be allowed to eat it, I’ll walk away. A ninja leaves no trace, not even a written one.
  • Increases mindfulness. The fact that I have to actually track everything makes me aware of what I’m eating in a very present-tense way. It can actually cause me to pause and consider whether I actually want it, to weigh the benefits of eating something point-heavy now, or waiting for something better later. And so on and so forth.

Cons


  • It’s hard and requires effort. Not only do you have to remember to write down each individual pack of Rockets, you have to actually do it. You can’t not write it. It screws up the whole system, promotes cheating, and skews the mental image of what you’ve eaten today – in other words, completely undoes all of the pros listed above. It’s really easy to forget to track, or to “forget” to track. It’s hard sometimes to stare at what you’ve eaten in the face and acknowledge that it was too much, or you blew through your bonus points on the first day of the week, or so far on the other side of Healthy that you kind of wonder why food like that is allowed to exist. It’s sometimes hard to keep tracking in the face of that.
  • It promotes obsession. Nothing quite like meticulously jotting down every morsel that crosses your lips to create an unhealthy obsession with counting every calorie. Additionally, the downside of any system is that it can create a strong reliance on that system. Unless you want to count everything, even when you hit maintenance, at some point you need to learn to “stand on your own.” Counting is a way to teach yourself to be mindful about what you eat and plan your intake appropriately, but it can become a crutch if you let it.
  • It can take some of the fun out of eating. Now eating is like a job. Sometimes you just want to eat a fucking chocolate bar. The thought of having to open your log and mark down a big fat “6 Points” beside it takes some of the taste out of the damn thing, even if you do have the room in your food budget for it.
  • It can create a false sense of security if you’re cheating. The most adept of food-ninjas can run circles around a tracking log. It was just a bite, barely worth jotting down, probably not even a point. And if I eat forty-two bites, well, as long as I’m thinking in terms of bites instead of pints, I don’t need to write anything down. Then when it’s supper time and I’m staring down that meatloaf lathered in cheese, I look at my log and it totally looks like I’m on plan and can afford to gorge myself on the whole loaf. Then all that’s left is to act innocent and confused when the scale shows me two pounds up the next morning.

Ultimately – like all weight-loss plans and schemes and so on – it has to be a personal choice. Some people will swear by it, because it’s perfectly suited to the way their brain is built. Some people will eschew it entirely because it doesn’t work at all with their brains and may create larger problems.

For my part, even if you count the cheating and the amazing awesomeness of my food-ninjitsu, I do exponentially better when I’m tracking than when I’m not. I know this from long experience. If I stick to writing things down, I lose weight. If I stop writing things down, I’m good for maybe a week at most. Then things start sliding in again, so sneakily and quietly that I don’t even know I’m doing it on any practical level.

The trouble comes with maintaining the effort. But I’m not as heavy as I am because simple logic like “it’s good for you” works.