When I began SP and started using the nutrition tracker, I was shocked by how many calories I was eating in a day. The next day, and most of the days going forward, I stayed within my calorie range and tracked my fitness, and I've lost 50 pounds since January. My son graduated 8th grade yesterday and I got so many compliments. Definitely feels great for people who havent seen me in a while tell me how great I looked. I can't wait to break through this little plateau I'm on so I can reach my goal.
I love my trackers! I would not be successful without my nutrition tracker, and I love the fitness tracker because I enjoy seeing my fitness numbers (specifically minutes per day/week/month) add up. It makes me realize that every little bit of fitness helps, and every morsel of nutrition is important.
I have worked my way into friendship with the food log. I began just by watching what I was eating and then began reducing items that I thought were either eating too much or had too much fat. I still need to become friends with portion sizes but I am going toward that goal slowly. Now that I have begun to lose less weight then when I first started, I am considering a food scale. Part of my issue with that is that I am really trying to make a life style change and not a diet. I want to eat is a way I can live with and worry that the scale will make me become obsessive or make me "feel" that I am dieting. What I like about Spark's menus are that they keep me goin in the right direction with the right types of foods.
Fitness Minutes: (1,140)
351 6/16/12 12:50 A
I have been a member here for some time and just started tracking this week. The first day or 2 I was really honest about what I was eating and was horrified to discover I was eating over 2000 cal/day, when SP recommends 1200-1550. I am in a plateau and had changed my fitness levels but totally needed to adjust my calories as well.
I am also a meal planner. I love looking at and using meal plans. I have had to substitute some foods not on the list, so I am looking at labels and serving sizes and calories per serving to make sure I am tracking the exact amount. It really helps to see the numbers and know your limits. Back when I joined, I was working more and felt I just didn't have time to track. Now, I work only sporadically and am basically a SAHM so I have plenty of time to be more aware.
So yes, I was shocked too...but I know I can change. I think I will also be getting a food scale really soon too.
Fitness Minutes: (11,327)
108 6/15/12 10:58 P
Just started with Spark this week and I love the trackers! I am amazed as well at some of the calorie counts...love the nutrition reports(daily report) that lets you know what to change/improve on....anybody have a favorite food scale?
Fitness Minutes: (17,295)
772 6/15/12 10:32 P
Once I started tracking-I found that I was consistently eating a little over my range. Not by a lot. My weight gain hd been very gradual over 10+ years. Once I started sp, it took be 6 months to go from 160 to my goal of 132. I was shocked at how quickly I could reach my calorie limit in a day.
Fitness Minutes: (36,692)
3,856 6/15/12 10:17 P
Not really shocked, but certainly disappointed on a regular basis.
Fitness Minutes: (2,431)
50 6/15/12 9:21 P
Although I am shocked by the things I put in my food log but I am thankful for it because it brings me so much awareness about what I am putting into my body and how much of it, and what is causing me to gain weight.
Fitness Minutes: (9,406)
370 6/15/12 9:12 P
Yes! It's surprising to me in both ways.... to see how much I was eating and to see how few calories it costs to eat healthier. I can have how much broccoli for a hundred calories?? lol
When I first started tracking, I was mainly shocked to realize that my weight gain was due to cheese and bread and not junk food.
Nothing goes into my mouth until it's tracked (and weighed and measured) The dinner I was ready to make tonight had to be adjusted to add carbs and remove protein (I'm diabetic and my insulin requires me to have 45gm of carbs with meals). I was sure I had the right balance until I added it up. I love, love, love the fact that my diet is so balanced. My body loves the tracker
I have been tracking my food via sparkpeople for about three years. There are still days when I am absolutely amazed at how fast I ate 2500 calories and it is only lunch time (ie. allowed myself to eat a fast food meal). It is so incredibly eye opening and really allows me to keep my eye on the ball. I have learned that the best thing for me to do when I want to snack is to eat fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories and allows me to "splurge" on higher calorie items during meal time (bread, potato, sour cream etc.). I do also agree with Vanillanne that tracking how you feel in the notes section is a great idea (I am going to do it). There are days when I do not feel good and more often than not it is because I have not eaten well balanced meals throughout the day. I may be in my calorie range but I do not feel good!
Fitness Minutes: (455)
162 6/15/12 5:39 P
I'm not shocked at my food log any longer, but, it does make it so much easier to see the balance between calories, protein, fat and how much energy I have and how I feel.
It's possible to eat within the calorie, protein, fat, carb boundaries and still consume food that makes me tired and sluggish and crappy. There are foods that give me energy and help me feel balanced (dark green salads, vegetables, fruit, nuts) and other foods that might fit in number wise, like white bread, white sugar, chocolate, but, do nothing positive for me and make me tired. I have started utilitizing the note feature to keep track of my energy level and how my emotions are each day -- and using the information in making better food plans ahead of time.
I love the food tracker and it's really helped me but this summer I'm not working and haven't been diligent about tracking - or eating enough calories - and I can see my weight loss stagnating. This is a great tool and when I use it properly feel like I can eat soooo much (healthy foods!)
I love the nutrition tracker! I have been on diets where I counted calories or carbs before, but the tracker gives me nutrition information that I didn't get before. It really helps me keep my food in balance. It's so much easier than trying to look everything up in a book!
Fitness Minutes: (10,813)
936 6/15/12 4:51 P
Every time I read someones post who says they haven't lost weight and are tracking their foods I immediately know that they are not or they are not measuring. I started tracking from day 1 and I had the eye opening experience then....I couldn't believe how many calories I consumed. It took me about 4 weeks to be able to adjust my food intake and make better choices based on the numbers I was seeing. I try to track ahead if I am going to eat something new so that I don't get eaters remorse after the fact.
I'm going to take all the references to the power of the food scale to heart. I've been good about measuring things until I know it when I see it, but it would be interesting to have a more accurate measurement.
I was too chicken to keep eating like I was eating and track it. When I first started tracking calories and created a grouping for my cup of tea, I had to face reality. It was close to 120 calories... 10% of my minimum for the day. And I was having 2 or 3 cups a day!
Once the shock wears off, the surprises and eye-openers in the log make it so much easier to come within range for all nutrients. If I have sourdough toast for breakfast instead of oatmeal, I'd better be on the hunt for fiber. The portion size for rice is 1/2c; more than that and I'll be extra-pressed to get my protein. Avocado? Just a 1/4c or I'll need to take the lowest fat option for the rest of the day.
Recently I found that even on a day when I grazed a bunch of junk, my improved portion control kept me pretty darn close to the target calories.
Fitness Minutes: (18,556)
824 6/15/12 4:15 P
Tracking has definitely helped me. I'm kind of the opposite of everyone else though... I don't eat enough calories if I don't track. I stopped tracking one time and stopped losing weight and I couldn't figure out why... turns out I was only eating between 800-900 calories in a day. Oops! I stay at 1200 calories now, but its still hard for me to meet that number. Healthy food has so much less calories that its hard to reach the daily requirement!
Just tracking what I was actually eating was the first step on my 60 pound loss. I had THOUGHT I was eating 1800 calories a day back then, but was closer to 2600 to 3200 a day--definitely an amount of calories that turned me into a 249 pound woman.
I've gotten away from tracking and put back on a few pounds, and I KNOW it's what I need to be doing to kick-start my weight loss again and go even further this time. :)
Somedays I try and catch up on a day or two of lost food tracking, and it reminds me really of how it was before SP. My problem always was sneeking in snacks that I don't remember a few minutes later, so I really need the food tracker to keep me on track! I also realize how hard it is to keep the protein up and within the recommended range! And I always try and stick to the lower end of carbs recommendation... It is a great tool!
Yes, although it wasn't portion size and calories that startled me. It was the nutritional breakdown of what I was eating. I never would have guessed that I was eating so little protein during the day. Or that I was constantly going over my recommended limits of carbohydrates either. As a result, I've been working on making my eating plan more balanced.
Fitness Minutes: (1,700)
57 6/15/12 1:58 P
LOL I do the same thing, it keeps me in my track!!!
Fitness Minutes: (9,891)
69 6/15/12 1:50 P
The tracker helps keep me honest and offers a little more support to my self-control. When I think about eating something I know is outside my range I plug it in BEFORE I eat. After looking at that number, I usually lose my appetite.
Oh yes... it all adds up, doesn't it. for the past six weeks, I focused significantly more on the food tracker than I did the exercise one, and I dropped 10 lbs. I had it all backwards! Was working out like a fiend with marginal scale/size response.
My tracker really turned me on to the fact that I was a carb addict and that my diet was out of proportion. I don't have a hard time staying in my calorie range. I have a more difficult time keeping my meals balanced. With two toddlers in the house, it is easy to munch on a cracker or two, eat some pancakes, etc.
Definitely, and it is common. Most people grossly underestimate how many calories they eat while overestimating how many they burn. recipe for disaster! Get used to tracking, it is a huge key to success!
I cannot live without my tracker. I would give everything else on SparkPeople up (reluctantly), but I must have the trackers. Even though it is very painful to see the numbers when my food choices are not very good.
Fitness Minutes: (8,907)
490 6/15/12 12:04 P
Thats why tracking our food intake is so important. I know with myself I am struggling to get the proper food intake. Got to start eating more times a day they suggest...
Fitness Minutes: (146,547)
13,780 6/15/12 12:00 P
Eye-opening for many folks!
Fitness Minutes: (64,361)
278 6/15/12 11:52 A
I've been using SP for over 3 years and I track my food on and off. When I'm off, I gain 5 pounds back. When I'm on, I lose that 5 lb. again.
This time I've been tracking my food for about a month. It's been hard to stay within my calories, but suddenly this week I've been surprised at how few calories I've eaten and still am not hungry. It's easier to stay in my limits and that's a surprise this week.
Fitness Minutes: (9,778)
5,826 6/15/12 11:39 A
In the past, I wouldn't bother to log my food if I had really gotten off of my healthy eating for a day or so (I would say, why bother? I know I ate too much, but I'll get back on logging my food tomorrow). However, I've tried to get in the habit of logging my food even when I know I have eaten way too many calories (fat, carbs, etc.). This way, I'm less likely to do it again for a good long while (when I see those high numbers)!
I've got to get better at not letting food thoughts dominate my day, but I still get excited when I check my food log and realize that I have enough calories/carbs/etc left so that I can have a hamburger patty instead of baked chicken, or that I can have a nice snack without going over my limit. (Boy, I gotta get a life!)
Fitness Minutes: (168,237)
2,241 6/15/12 11:39 A
Absolutely--it really sucks when you think you've had a fantastically healthy day & you log your foods only to find you went over your limits by 600, 800, 1200 calories. Crazy.
Once you really know what those standard foods "cost" in calories--you can eat accordingly without tracking at all and still stay on track. It's a great tool! :)
Yup, the tracker has been the absolutely most valuable tool on this site for me. I had no clue how poorly I was eating....I thought I was doing pretty well and could not figure out why my weight was creeping up.....duh!
Fitness Minutes: (35,097)
2,167 6/15/12 11:18 A
As I track the food consumed, my eye-opening moments were seeing how many more calories left to eat... It surely was a shock to realize that the dinner did not exist any more... Over time, I have learned to reduce the size of my 3 major meals, and in between I snack so that I don't exceed the daily caloric allowance. This kind of approach seems to be really working to contain the hunger.
Yes, I had this experience as well. Also, a food scale was very eye-opening. I found out that using measuring cups and eyeballing portions was not very accurate and was leading me to consume a lot more calories than I thought.
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
3,116 6/15/12 10:24 A
yes I was and sometimes still am surprised. Counting every morsel that goes into my mouth is an eye opener. The other shocker is the number of carbs I was eating. It helps a lot to track.
I think that's very common. Almost everyone underestimates how much they eat. When people tell me they "hardly eat anything" but can't lose weight, I know they're eating far more than they will admit.
Fitness Minutes: (3,361)
83 6/15/12 9:25 A
Well, that's why they say tracking is effective!
I haven't been surprised by anything really (except for the fact that sometimes I can eat a good amount and still not meet my minimum calories) but it has been a great way for me to restrain myself! I don't want those french fries as much if I have to be accountable for the calories
I wasn't 100% suprised as I knew I was eating a lot - but it is quite eye opening to really know how much! I agree with others that scales and measuring tools made my weight loss so much easier! I can now eyeball better, count calories in my head and really get my head around what I'm taking in!
I had logged everything since starting SP, but I was eyeballing measurements or using measuring cups. Thought I was getting pretty close if not exact measurements of my food. To make my life easier I purchased an $8 food scale. WOWZA!!! Was I off the mark completely! Amazing how measuring EVERYTHING (including the milk that goes into my coffee) by grams or ounces jumpstarted my weight loss!!! With the help of the scale, I have been learning to eyeball portions CORRECTLY, so now when we go out to eat or we are on holiday, I know my portions are pretty accurate.
Fitness Minutes: (7,653)
89 6/15/12 6:59 A
Not only was I shocked at how much I ate, I was shocked at how much salt I was consuming. Nearly 2-3 times the daily amount I should have been eating. Now that I have cut back to what it should be - I don't miss the salt at all. I can actually taste the natural flavor of food and I have discovered other spices that I would not have even thought of.
Fitness Minutes: (12,713)
4,111 6/15/12 6:52 A
Umm, ya. Whenever someone asks me how to lose weight, I tell them not to change a thing, but track every single bite. Most people that I know have this shocked reaction. And the people who refuse to track I don't believe are taking weight loss seriously.
Fitness Minutes: (1,420)
13 6/15/12 6:32 A
I've been struggling to lose weight for a few weeks now, adding exercise to my routine, and switching out some of my menu items for healthier alternatives. I've become very frustrated because the scale has not budged! So yesterday I tried to actually log my food for the first time, every bite that went in my mouth I added. Well now I know why I'm not losing weight! Even though my meals may be healthier - I still snack too much in between and eat too large portions. This all added up to a caloric intake far above my recommended daily allowance. Now that I know what's keeping my from losing weight, I can cut back portion size and calories, and hopefully be successful. Has anyone else been surprised by the results of your food log?
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.