Can we talk about Food Tracking? Before this week, the only time I have seriously tracked what was eaten was when I did it for Ade’s allergies. That’s it. I may have done it for myself once upon a time, long, long ago, but…actually I think that might’ve been my grocery list I was writing down. So no. However, this week I decided to join the food tracking community.
I would like to pre-empt the rest of this post by saying, I know that there can be a dark side to food tracking; carb, calorie, and nutrient counting. Food Tracking is not for everybody and can, in fact, be dangerous for some people. If you have dealt with illness such as Bulimia or Anorexia, then this might not be for you. I would encourage you to talk with your doctor or therapist before setting off on this journey. Seriously, guys, an eating disorder is not a good road to go down, no matter how you feel in the beginning.
My food counting journey really began a few weeks ago, maybe a month, when my husband decided he was going to start watching how much he ate. Now I’ve been working out regularly for the past two or three months and I have been content in that. I got curious, though, and started asking some questions. What’s the point? What is better to count: Calories or Carbs? Does it really make a difference?
My curiosity kept growing, partly because I was trying to be aware of what I was making for dinner even though I didn’t know my husband’s allotment. One day I got so curious I looked up my own numbers and spent a couple of days tallying my daily intake. I wasn’t consistent, but the days I dabbled in it I found that I was right between the “Weight Loss to Major Weight Loss” range. Now, my ultimate goal is not to lose weight. That would be the opposite of healthy for me. My ultimate goal is to tone up and strengthen my muscles. But I don’t really see a spot that says “To Tone Up Eat X Amount” (Am I just missing it?). So anyway, on to the next portion which was…
I bought Carrie Underwood’s new book. I have wanted this book since I first found out she had written one. If you haven’t seen Carrie’s legs…are you even looking at pictures of her? I finally broke down and bought it. In her book, Carrie writes about how she tracks what she eats by writing it in her journal and using a fitness app. I decided to try the app out. I’ll admit, I didn’t like it so much that first night. I’d gone over my Goal by what I thought was a lot, but I had to be honest with myself and admit that I hadn’t needed that extra cup of Sweet & Salty Popcorn or that second bowl of spaghetti. The second day was better for me. I was even under my goal intake and had done a full workout. Today is Day Three of using the app and it may prove to be a tough one simply because of one word: Pizza. But I’m learning to find the balance between indulging and being healthy. And that, in my opinion, is what food tracking is all about.
Food Tracking makes us face the music about what we eat and how much (or how little). It gives us something concrete to look at and see that we may not be eating what’s really good for us. It can show us where our problem areas are (*ahem* crunchy sweets). I’ll admit, it can be a bit tedious at first, but once you get the hang of it then it can be really beneficial.
I’ll admit that I am not a numbers person. I’m an absolute bust at math. So simply writing down what I ate and all the numbers that go with it is not going to work for me. It’ll become tedious and not only will I not stay with it, I am likely to get my numbers wrong. Using an app helps and gives me a more accurate picture. The food is all there along with every little detail about it, including macro-nutrients. It also will factor in how much calories I burn while working out.
If your goal is to lose weight or get fit, I suggest you try Food Tracking. Whether you use an app or write it down is up to you. If the latter is more your style, you can either create a fitness journal yourself or you can buy one already made! Maybe incorporating both the app and writing it down is the way for you. However you do it, I hope it helps you reach your goal.