Consistent calorie tracking is a MUST! When I don't track I tend to graze, nibble, and try to mentally keep track of what I'm eating. That does not work!!! I have to be totally accountable by knowing what I'm putting in my mouth. I also religiously track my weight. Every Sunday I weigh in ... whether I've had a great week, a good week, or a bad week. That too is helping me stay motivated.
Edited by: KAREN155 at: 6/19/2013 (23:19)
Fitness Minutes: (9,407)
6/19/13 8:17 P
When I track my food, I can consistently lose weight. As soon as I stop tracking, I end up getting way off track with my diet and gain weight. It's easier for me to resist temptation when I know I have to track it. For some reason I'll feel more guilty about eating a donut if I have to track it.
Fitness Minutes: (12,388)
287 6/19/13 11:41 A
I use the recipe calculator on Sparkpeople, and always save the recipes for future use when I use it again. If I cook dinner in this way and enter it, I also enter it to lunch the next day as well if I'm planning on leftovers to save time. This also encourages me to eat the leftovers instead of going for something maybe a little less healthy I received a food scale for Christmas last year with ounces and gram measurements and it has been SO much help in calculating recipe calories as well as servings.
It can be a pain to track, but it is the #1 way to successfully watch what you eat. It has also taught me so much about portion sizes, that I find my "eyeball" portioning is pretty accurate when I measure it.
And of course, ALWAYS track!!! Even if you splurge and eat a huge bowl of ice cream or half a pizza, it is good to know what and when your weaknesses are...and sometimes, you find you didn't go over nearly as much as you thought.
Not tracking is the biggest mistake you can make. Back in 2009 I went from 185lbs to 130lbs within 9 months and all due to my dedication of consistant exercise and keeping track of what I ate. The minute I stopped tracking, no matter how much i continued to work out, the pounds started to creep back. Now I'm 160lbs and back where i started having to get the weight off again. Its tracking every single day from now on for me no matter how tedious it can be at times.
6/19/13 10:33 A
I was tracking on and off and then I started looking at the reports!! OUCH!!! the first day I looked I ate more for snack than any meal of the day!! I have since done better...eating more at meals and eating fewer snacks. I love reading everyones comments!!
6/19/13 9:36 A
Don't get discouraged. Better to lose slowly and keep it off than lose it fast and gain it back. Focus on the fact that the number is dropping not by how much.
Disclaimer: This habit took me almost a year to grasp and believe. Just putting it in perspective. It's not easy...if it was, we'd all be skinny minnies!
Fitness Minutes: (1,717)
6/18/13 11:05 P
I live in Japan and I just took the time today to learn all the different Kanji for macro-nutrients so that I can accurately account for my nutrition. I could read calories already. Time for me to take it to the next level!
I am in the process of entering my recipe's in the recipe calculator/cookbook for easy adding to my food tracker.
Fitness Minutes: (950)
6/18/13 9:45 P
I a having a hard time this first week. I keep tracking and keep eating this is my first full week tomorrow and I am only down 1.1
Fitness Minutes: (23,276)
3,283 6/18/13 9:18 P
I would not have gotten as far as I have gone, without the tracker. It has become a fixture in my day, just like making the bed, eating, exercising and anything else that makes up the day. I make time for it, and I make a lot of fast inputs using favorites and groupings. I do the basics in my groupings and add if I must, by using favorites for extras. Like for instance my Annies salad, it has 2 cups of mixed greens, 1 Italian tomato, 2 Tbsp. Annie's naturals dressing. And if I add anything to it, I use my favorites listing. Turkey burgers, same thing. Anything I know I eat a lot of, is in my groupings.
If you use the same foods all you have to do is save the food to your favorites and just add it from your favorites later. I use my phone and the mobile app and track my food when I eat out as I do that one night a week. We do our shopping and our friend pays for our meal. So I try and eat light the rest of the day as I know dinner will be around 1000 calories. My husband tracks the dinner on a pad and I enter it on my app.
Tracking is the only way for me. Otherwise, I eat way more than I should. I don't mind doing it. My job is stressful and physically demanding, so I actually enjoy sitting at the computer and tracking my calories. Most of the time I track ahead of time, planning what I will be eating the next day. Planning ahead makes it easier for me to stick to it.
Edited by: LPPTOGO at: 6/18/2013 (19:43)
Fitness Minutes: (121,948)
6/18/13 6:07 P
I feel that when I track I do so much better. Especially since I am so close to my goal.
6/18/13 5:47 P
Singera, if you're calculating the calories when you plan your meals then you're tracking.
Edited by: SIMONEKP at: 6/18/2013 (17:47)
Fitness Minutes: (8,109)
6/18/13 4:08 P
I think it's awesome how many people track, and have had success with it. I guess I'm a freak. I don't track. I have tracked in the past, and I found myself to be going crazy with writing down every little thing all the time. I would rebel, with a go-big-or-go-home attitude.
However, I do plan. I plan my meals out a week in advance, and I stick to it. When I do that consistently, I lose consistently.
Fitness Minutes: (950)
6/18/13 4:02 P
I have to track just as a reminder as to where my calories were spent each day
I'm the same way as KDYLOSE. I can basically maintain my weight without tracking but if I want to lose, I almost have to track.
6/18/13 10:16 A
After almost three years, I pretty much know what I'm eating and I've gotten to the point where I can get lazy about tracking and not gain weight. But losing weight? Forget it. I can't lose an ounce without tracking.
6/18/13 9:55 A
The times I have failed before, I got bogged down by how much time I had to spend on the computer typing in EVERY.SINGLE. LITTLE. DETAIL for the food tracker. I work 2 jobs have kids, internet didn't always work, and I just gave up. This time I am going for simple and have a small notebook that goes with me everywhere. Maybe it's not perfect and not precise, but I'm using it, which is more important than doing nothing at all. If there are items I'm not sure how to calculate I use the tracker here, but as a whole it's in my notebook.
I don't doubt that it's necessary to track, I just had to tweak it to make it more user friendly and consistent for me.
6/17/13 10:37 P
I can't plan my meals a week in advance. I usually eat what sounds good to me (healthy foods that is). I could say chicken for Tuesday and then when Tuesday comes along I might not feel like eating that. I just go day by day. With everything in favorites it is easy to find them.
Fitness Minutes: (23,276)
3,283 6/17/13 6:21 P
That used to be one of my biggest fears, is losing my way, not using the tracker faithfully every day like I do now.
And then I can be thankful for the fact others do it, recognize it and get back on track. I can say I won't and that I am committed but even the best swimmer can still drown.
I am vowing to this plan, that it is a lifelong commitment and I shall never stray. I think I just married it! lol
Edited by: MJLUVSANIMALS at: 6/17/2013 (18:23)
Fitness Minutes: (4,854)
6/17/13 4:36 P
this topic just hit me right in the face. I lost 70 pounds from 8/15/12 to 4/30/13. I tracked 98% of what I ate.
Starting early May, I got lazy. Graduation parties, a weddings, the end of the school year, etc, and I have done a lot of eating, and even less tracking. I don't think I have tracked at all in the last 2 weeks. I kept telling myself I was enjoying that start of summer.
Now, after gaining about 15 pounds in 6-7 weeks, I am getting back on the horse.
How stupid to let this happen after working so hard. Tracking takes 10-15 min every day. The question is, do I want to be fat, or do I want to enjoy my life doing things other than eating!! I start school again 8/14/13. I hope to be back to my end of April weight by then. I now know it won't happen if I an not accountable. Let the tracking begin.
Fitness Minutes: (4,889)
5 6/17/13 2:17 P
I think that the tracking works as my judgement of how much is too much is somewhat flawed. I do way better when I am tracking. So today I am starting to track again.
I think, what works for me anyway, is putting things you eat regularly in Favorites and that save s a load of time, but it is timely in the beginning because you have to enter everything it includes, like, carbs, vits., etc.
I usually write it all down on a pad and go their fewer times that way and I can figure out what and how much I can eat for that day, but if you are on the computer a lot, then do it either before you eat (easier to stay within range that way) or right after you eat
Hope that helps!.
Fitness Minutes: (340)
6/17/13 1:16 P
I'm just starting to track my diet. I've been consistently exercising, but I haven't really lost weight because of my diet. So here I go! I tried tracking before but always lost patience or not listed everything I ate. What are your tricks for consistently and honestly tracking? I would love the help!
I'm going back to tracking - one does lose track after a time.
Fitness Minutes: (7,604)
115 6/17/13 7:22 A
So glad to have you join us imlocolinda, lets encourage each other, one day at a time! Have a great day.
6/17/13 6:55 A
When I finally decided to check out Spark People it was because I knew a few people who had done very well on it. Everything I have read in the last couple years talks about keeping the journal of what you eat and how you feel when you eat and what you are craving either foodwise or emotionally. So I decided that above all I would get honest with myself about what I am putting into my mouth and why. It's been an amazing 2 weeks. It does take time...but so far has been worth it. And because I have chosen to be honest with myself, the idea of posting cookies or those extra pieces of pizza keep me from putting it in my mouth. Just knowing I'll have to track it is enough (for now) to keep me from eating. I just drink another water or coffee. I still don't understand how to put a group together like salads but am figuring it out as I go along...and glad you are all on this journey with me!
Fitness Minutes: (7,604)
115 6/17/13 6:15 A
Thank you for sharing on this message board. It is very helpful to read what you are all saying. I am starting again to keep track of my food I am not very consistent so hopefully following this message board will give me that extra push that I need.
I make a menu planner for the week, planning ahead. I (most times) do a good job following my plan. Also, I use a pencil to write it down. That way , If I don't have exactly what I need, something can be erased, then replaced with something else containing about the same amount of calories. This works well for me.
Edited by: LPPTOGO at: 6/16/2013 (19:44)
Fitness Minutes: (126,112)
6/16/13 3:19 P
I do it either as soon as I eat if or before I eat something. It helps me control the eating and I have lost 17 lbs in about 6 months. It helps me keep track of the food I eat and how much food.
Only thing that works for me. When I don't keep myself accountable, I fall off the wagon.
Fitness Minutes: (23,276)
3,283 6/15/13 8:44 P
My nutrition page is so precious to me, and I use it every day faithfully. I do a lot of grouping so it eliminates tediousness. I do the basics like my salads and then add items to it that I might toss in later. I wouldn't have done as well as I have without it.
I find the best way to track things when eating at a restaurant or friends ( I have good friends that know I am on this journey, so they tell me up front what's for dinner) is to use the portion sizes like The CD or deck of cards (meat and fish portions) Some of those things. I am sure there is somewhere on the web or even here on Spark that tells you portion comparisons. And when at a restaurant, tell them your needs and what you don't want on or with your food, most are gracious enough to comply, if not they lose the business and in this day and age that would be a stupid thing to mess with, with our economy like it is.
I find the mobile app for my phone to be helpful to track food when away If I see a container with a name if I cannot write it down I use a document app or camera that I have on my phone.
Fitness Minutes: (10,098)
57 6/15/13 1:18 P
I don't mind the tedium of entering foods at home. It is bothersome, but at least I feel like it is realistic and it really keeps me honest. My biggest struggle is the inevitable meals out or at other people's homes. I tend to go one way or the other in that situation depending on my emotional state... either I eat way less than I normally would because I'm afraid of going over my calories or I eat too much because I give in to social eating which is a major struggle for me. Either way it is a stressful situation but one I am trying to tackle head on because this journey is about lifestyle change and not dieting... I need to learn to navigate these situations successfully and just do my best to be as honest as I can when I track the foods. What helps me most with tracking is entering foods BEFORE I eat; then it is easier to eat the correct portions and stop without taking seconds.
Reading this thread, looking for tips myself. But I'm an old-timer, and I know about all of these things.
But this thread has turned into best practices and annoyances. So I'll share. I have a love/hate relationship with the tracker. I love being able to keep myself accountable, plan, learn portion size (I'm generally not good estimating weight/size/distance types of things, so I use a measuring tape and scale until I'm absolutely sure of something.)
However, I get frustrated when I eat anything that either doesn't have a label or when I eat out or at a friend's. I can't track these things EXACTLY and that drives me bonkers.
Yes, I look at the tracker and use "the next best thing," but I'm always so paranoid that I've chosen the wrong thing. So I tend to find the highest-calorie version of whatever it is I'm trying to estimate on the tracker.
I searched the articles and found one that gave ideas of what the servicing size was for different food items.
I have to work with my Husband as he makes dinner then I have to ask do you know the calories in this per serving? NO so I need to work with him on that. So I use the idea to stop when my hunger is satisfied and go with that. I read a book called "The 5 Day Miracle Diet" by Adele Puhn. It is a read simple diet plan but she uses the only eat until your hunger is satisfied. If you keep your body in a "good sugar" state then you will not be tempted to overeat.
Edited by: KSTONYA at: 6/15/2013 (11:28)
Fitness Minutes: (1,588)
6/15/13 9:46 A
I track food in my head now - I like to challenge my new eating habits a bit to make sure I understand what a portions size of each food looks like. But when I create a new daily menu I go back to the tracker and measure it out to the exact calorie.
When I started Spark I took a tape measure into my local supermarket to measure the size of a small/medium/large baked potato :-)
Fitness Minutes: (1,134)
4 6/15/13 9:24 A
Great! Tracking works, it's that resistance we need to overcome! Hurray for you to make the effort
I am in one of those moments as well... Was on track with SP, lost 16 lbs and fell off the wagon, started doing all the things I knew I shouldn't (eating at night, eating dairy in excess, eating take out, not drinking enough water, not focusing on activity) and lo and behold here i am 13 lbs up :(... I logged my water this morning, my food, and next will be my activity :) I too have been blessed with the realization that logging is the only way. I am in recovery, sober for almost a year, and in recovery they tell you that a relapse starts way before you pick up the first drink or drug.... I'm pretty sure it works just the same with food-- For me at least it does.
I have been an off/on member since 2006.. and I have bouts with success and then I gain the weight back. Every time I gain weight it's because I stop tracking (and that's usually because I know I'm not doing what I should be doing) every time I am successful it's when I am consistently tracking... I have come to the conclusion that tracking is the ONLY way that I will reach my fitness goals for once and for all.
Fitness Minutes: (566)
4 6/13/13 10:36 A
I enjoy your line about your body is the ultimate calorie tracker. It is the absolute truth and a great motivator to track everything that goes into your body.
I know I will not be exact. A given up front. I have a turkey burger my wife makes. i find a commercial turkey burger and plop it in.
I try to remember everything. It has truely made the difference for my adherence and progress, that and fitbit for me work hand in hand. It is something I would not have done as a full time working guy. Retirement is a chance to get rid of my tire whick I have worn for years.
Don't want any retread either so I will track my food!!! maybe for the long haul too.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
1 6/13/13 4:00 A
Hi, I think our birthdays are pretty close together! Happy early birthday!
I love tracking my food as it helps me remember I CAN control what goes in to my body and that it is not true, that 'no matter what I eat, I can't lose weight' is a fallacy!
What I hate about tracking is that it makes me accountable for my choices. ;-). Just kidding.
6/12/13 11:53 P
Every time I have gained weight back this year, it was because I wasn't tracking my food. Logging my food helps me get back on track. It may be the one habit I have to keep for a lifetime.
6/12/13 11:52 P
The fact is, your body is the ultimate calorie tracker. It will track what you eat, regardless of whether you do. So tracking honestly is absolutely essential for me to lose weight. I love the SP tracking features, and the android ap - much better than the Weight Watchers ones in my opinion!
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