Fitness Friday has come and almost gone, and I nearly forgot to make my obligatory update.
As promised, I jumped on the scale this morning, so I am officially using this at my starting point:
October 9, 2009: 137.2 pounds
I'm hoping to eventually make it down to my goal weight of 130. That would pretty much take care of my gut (hopefully).
A couple months ago I decided to track what I ate. I eat a lot. All the time. I am the ultimate snacker. Any time I'd pass by the pantry or kitchen, I would grab something ... just because? It was ridiculous. I've always been like this, and it makes sense why I could be super active and fit, but still not make any gains in terms of weight loss (so punny). So, I figured it was time to make myself feel really guilty by keeping a food diary.
Most of my coworkers have been personal trainers and I talk to a tonnn of RDs for work, and everyone agrees that logging food intake is the best way to lose weight.
I tried it, and it's literally the only thing that has made me lose weight somewhat effectively. At my lowest, I was down to 135.something about a month or so ago. I started out at 142ish when I first started my job.
Basically, here's the gist.
- Write down everything you eat.
- Keep track of caloric count and fat grams.
- Want to eat a donut, but know that those 400 calories will make a huge dent in your daily caloric intake.
- Get instant feedback at the end of the day as to your success.
In general, what I eat isn't bad. I cook a ton
and try to eat a lot of fish, vegetables, whole grains, fruit, etc. The problem was that I just snacked like a mofo. Seriously, if I could cut out my meaningless snacking (and my candy), I would weigh a lot less. Oops.
Basically, writing down what you eat makes you accountable for your actions. You can't cheat. Because you know you're cheating, and you can't fool yourself.
For me, it also helps because I don't really eat out when I track my food. A lot of places don't have nutritional content (at least independent restaurants), so you'd have to guess. And believe me, from all of my interviews, people always underestimate portion size, which in turns leads to underestimating calories. So, if I cook my own food using recipes from places like Cooking Light, I know exactly what's in it and the nutritional make up. It helps me be in control of what I'm eating. And plus, it saves me money. Always a good thing.
I've logged my food twice for probably increments of 3 to 4 weeks each time. The first time I definitely just gained the weight back after I stopped logging. That was shitty. The last time I did it was probably a month ago, and surprisingly I've only gained back a pound or two. While that definitely isn't good, at least it shows I kind of improved my habits? Ha.
I'm hoping to use this round of food logging to basically make myself aware of my choices and help form healthier habits. For example, I am obsessed with dessert. But I'm trying to eat fruit for dessert instead of candy, ice cream, etc. My grandfather has always had his cherries after dinner ("Glorrrrr! Bring me my cherries!" he'd always boom from the downstairs), and I think I could learn from him. Plus, I just need to get out of the habit of eating because food is there. Not necessary at all.
Here's today's food log:
Breakfast: cup Blueberry Special K cereal w/ soy milk: 150 cal
Lunch: smallest piece of pizza ever (w/diced bell peppers, spinach, roasted garlic sauce, feta, goat, cheddar and prosciutto): approximately 200 cal; sugar-free fruit cup: 70 cal
Dinner: 6 oz. salmon w/spicy shrimp stuffing and chipotle salsa: 250 cal
Dessert: lick of the spoon from the lemon bars currently in the oven: 15 cal
(Edit) Dessert pt. 2: an actual lemon bar (Mom, they are delicious): 150 cal
Total today so far: 835 cal
It doesn't seem like very much (and looking at it written down, it's not), but surprisingly when you're eating healthy food, there aren't that many calories. I could have had a combo meal at McDonald's that was more calories than that. But instead I had cereal, pizza, some fruit and a hunk of salmon.
Yeterday I did some extra snacking (and candy corning) and had 1,165 calories.
I think the one thing I have going for me is my habit of not drinking anything other than water. Alcohol especially has a billion calories. I can't imagine drinking four or five bottles of beer and hitting like 800 calories. That is insane. Hopefully my monthly margarita doesn't set me back (haha just kidding). Though last week at Boulders, I drank three Shirley Temples. Not sure what got into me that night. So crazy. Ha!
Here are some tips I've gathered through my own experience and from articles I've written about nutrition and food logging:
- Keep your logs in one place. Whether it's online through a service or in a planner (I'm using my Moleskine planner), it's helpful to see your progress. Before I was just using whatever random Post-Its I found. Then I would lose them and it just wasn't very helpful.
- Track more than just calories. Last time, I logged the calories, fat (trans and sat), fiber and protein. That helps put things into perspective for you. Depending on what kind of lifestyle you live, you need different proportions of fat, carbs and protein.
- Pay attention to portion size. For me, the big thing was cereal. Sure, a serving size of cereal is between 3/4 cup and a cup, depending on the brand. But when you pour a bowl of cereal, it ends up being a lot more than that. Take a dry measuring cup and measure out a cup and put that in your bowl to see what that looks like. I was definitely shocked!
- Learn from it. No one is going to keep a food diary for the rest of their lives. And least hopefully not. But after one week of keeping a food journal, you will learn a lot about your eating habits. Maybe you're not getting enough protein. I realized I wasn't. I know my good friend Bethany started keeping one, and she was especially interested in her fiber intake. Logs can be really useful to see what you're getting too much of and not getting enough of.
- Apply your knowledge and adapt your diet. Once you become aware of the missteps, put the knowledge to use. Honestly, before I logged my food for the first time ... I knew I ate a lot, but I didn't realize how much of it was just for fun. Now I know I need to watch my snacking and I can remember that. Most of the time I don't pay attention, but at least it's there if I'd like to listen, haha.
That was really long. Sorry for rambling. I know too much about this kind of crap from work.
P.S. - Rereading the last two entries makes me seem like a freak. I swear I'm not actually obsessed about my weight or anything. I'm just a goal-oriented gal and want to look hot for my wedding.