Weight Loss Essentials: Part 2 of 5
You can exercise all you want but if you throw it away in the kitchen, you’re not getting anywhere. If you want to be healthier, making progress begins with knowing where your starting line is.
Nutrition is 80% of the equation to health so until you have an accurate and honest picture of your daily food and drink intake, you won’t make progress.
Meal tracking will only help you if you are honest and if your tools work with your lifestyle.
Ideally a meal tracker not only records your meals but also your BLTs (Bites, Licks, and Tastes) and what you’re drinking. You should know when they happened and how much you consumed. That’s right, you need to measure your portions.
If you’re guesstimating… You…will…be…wrong.
A big part of meal tracking for me is also recording how I felt while I was eating and after I was eating.
I used food as a form of ‘self medication’in order to deal with my negative self image and depression that I developed an extremely unhealthy relationship with it. Tracking my meals helped me realize that my relationship with food could be positive and that often times poor sources of nutrients were also making my depression and negative feelings worse.
Then, after I found out about the PCOS, it became extremely important for me to recognize when my blood sugar levels weren’t being maintained.
Many of my mood swings, lethargy, mental fog, and depression were being caused by the ups and downs I was putting my body through were being triggered in part by severe ups and downs in my glucose. By not eating enough, often enough, of the right things I was making my symptoms even more severe and deepening the negative cycle that I had created.
Forgive me, I digress. Back on track now.
The biggest challenge for me is remembering what I ate.
If I don’t write it down I won’t remember.
There’s no writing it down the next day because, I simply won’t remember.
Record your food and drinks as soon as they jump in your mouth.
Often times this simple act of having to write it down helps people resist things that they know they shouldn’t be eating. Meal tracking is, at it’s heart, a form of journaling and the reason behind journaling is to hold yourself accountable and recognize the things that are happening in your life.
MEAL TRACKING HOW TO’S
As with any tool, it has to work for you. I’m not saying that any of these are the right way to keep track of your food but, they have worked for me or one of my challengers.
1: Pen and Paper
This is probably the cheapest and easiest way to track your food since you’ve got all the materials at hand already… hopefully. The most difficult part of this method is actually doing it. When I was just using pen and paper I would often forget to keep my tracker with me, and then I wouldn’t write things down.
2: An App
I tried using My Fitness Pal as a stand alone activity and meal tracker, but I hate typing on my phone. I found myself doing okay in the morning when I wasn’t quite so distracted with life. By noon, I’d usually forget to use it.
Plus I just didn’t like having my phone with me all the time.
My solution was to set the reminders for each meal and snack so that they would ring at the usual time I should be eating. I’ve found that this reminds me to eat and also to write my meal down without tying me to my phone.
BTW, the My Fitness Pal link also has a great section of other featured health and fitness apps that they recommend so be sure to check it out.
3: A Support Group
My support groups have saved my life. I love helping other people meet their health and fitness goals, but often times, whether they realize it or not, the members of my challenge group help me stay on track too.
Knowing that these people are looking up to me as an example of a real person on a real health and fitness journey ALWAYS inspires me to make healthier choices
The simple act of having someone else know what you’re going through, whether you’re struggling or having a successful day, helps you feel less isolated.
3 1/2: Support Group Check Ins
Checking in with an in person support team can be great, but honestly, who has the time?
I’d love to sit down with a bunch of other people every day of the week AA style and talk about how many days I’ve been clean off soda, but I don’t got the time.
I find the time to check in with my online support groups.
Every damn day though.
I can check in any time, any place (with WiFi that is), and with anything.
Want to join one of my support/motivation groups? We have free 5 day previews each month as well as longer options that start on an ongoing basis. Send me a message, follow our Facebook page for updates, or check us out on Instagram.
If you’ve found any other ways for meal tracking that work for you, I’d love to hear about them! Feel free to comment below with your success stories, and even things that haven’t worked, you never know what will help someone else 😀
To check out the first post in this series, Goals: Meet Em and Beat Em, please click here. (Don’t forget we’ve got a free SMART goals workshop starting January 4th! Find the offer on our Facebook page or contact me for more details.)
Or to find our original post of the 5 Weight Loss Tricks, please click here.