Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On track

"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

This post is less about reporting that I'm literally "on track" with my food and fitness programs, and more about reflecting on finally tracking my food - every bite - everyday.  I'm an authority, you know...having religiously tracked for the last 2 days.  But really doing it 100% has already opened my eyes in strange, horrific, but also interesting ways, and that's what I want to reflect on here.

Brief background:  I've made lukewarm to thready attempts in the past to track everything.  A few times since starting this blog in 2009 I had brief stints with on-line tracking - most notably Spark People and Calorie Count.  I never once (in the vast 4-5 days total that I pursued these) put in everything that went into the temple.  Either I couldn't get my info into their various tracking systems accurately, or I couldn't find items in the databases, or I didn't want to own the 50 Rosemary Olive Oil Triscuits eaten at 9 pm.  (Yes. 50.)

A dozen or so times I started hand-written food journals, with pretty notebooks and flowery new pens in jewel tone inks, doing a Leslisimulation of the on line sites.  Problem:  I still had to look up calories, or carbs, or something that was as user-unfriendly as the attempted activities mentioned in paragraph 2.  And without meaningful data (even as opposed to the simple discipline of logging the food only), it became another exercise (no pun intended) in futility, and was unsustainable for my eating disordered, screwed up mind.

Fast forward to Monday, September 17, 2012 - aka the first day of the rest of my life.  (Um, isn't every day that?)  I'd already been dabbling with My Fitness Pal for awhile (only in terms of bookmarking it, adding the app to my phone, and entering in my stats and goals as they request/suggest.  I started out good  - breakfast and lunch logged in with the running totals of the big categories (calories, carbs, proteins, and most important - WHAT IS LEFT TO EAT for the rest of the day) while at work.  I'm always good at work, except when I'm not.  Usually I am.  When I'm not it's going to be a very bad (read: high intake) day.   I digress.

I let it go after getting home.  My conscious mind says I forgot about it. My Freudian mind says, "cut the bullshit, Leslie".  I didn't finish the day so don't know what my totals were or what it felt like sticking to my goal intake or a little less.  So my first paragraph claim to have tracked for 2 days was not entirely true.  1.5 days.

Yesterday the rubber met the road - almost.  There were sparks, but firm contact didn't happen until this morning when I completed yesterday's logging.  In went breakfast, lunch, after work snack.  My total indicated that left me something like 450 calories for dinner and beyond (though beyond is not a requirement - I get that but I've been going beyond a lot and know that after dinner is my toughest time so I wanted to leave some room for that possibility - though it became an eventuality yesterday).

Harumph!  Want more.  So I went back into the tools and recalculated my weekly weight loss goal from 2 pounds to 1.5 pounds.  Your daily amount is calculated according to your weight and how fast you want to lose.  (There is no option for higher than 2 pounds a week or you can bet I'd have selected it, and then been even more disgruntled over how fast my daily allotment dwindled!)  Anyway, the increased amount of calories (I think about 150) made it much more palatable - HA - another pun.

Well - I got through dinner and an after dinner snack at about my exact amount.  Well done, and done by changing a few things along the way, like having spaghetti squash instead of cauliflower rice (which has olive oil).  This was starting to feel like making smarter choices - ding ding ding!

In trying to shorten this, I will say that I ended up having a couple more "snacks" last night, telling myself to log them, even if I went over.  I couldn't bring myself to do it last night, but I did it this morning.  Eye opening, to say the least, and I was absolutely honest in amounts, if anything overestimating a bit.  It was truly startling.  I'd managed to consume almost 700 calories over my limit.  But it was there in black and white.

I feel like I am already getting the wisdom of tracking week in a way I never have.  Obviously this is a dubious start and it's unlikely I'm going to be made tracking poster girl any time soon.  But I learned a few things: 1) knowing exactly what I'm eating makes me think about it a lot more  2) watching the calories pile up (or drain from the daily allotment) enables me to make choices and I assume more responsibility and accountability for my eating  3) my disordered thinking about eating and my disordered eating are alive and well  4) if I let my guard down and decide to just "wing it", I will start an up-the-scale crawl that I know I don't want.

Today I intend to do it again, and try to leave out the after-after dinner snacks.  But at least I commit to logging them in the same day, because even that will be progress.


  1. Good for you!!! Try tracking before you eat that snack you will be amazed at how it suddenly doesn't look so good any more!

  2. I used My Fitness Pal for tracking when I was dieting, and I have to say, it got addicting after a while...I don't know what it was about logging everything in, and seeing the totals, but I really liked it. Plus, it was a big help when I did overindulge, because when I (wo)manned up and logged the excess, I could see that it wasn't SO BAD that I needed to give up dieting completely (my mind, it's a bizarre place to live).

    I said all that to say, nice going with this whole "facing reality" thing, Leslie. :)

  3. This would be such a better addiction than others I've used! Thanks for the support.

  4. Helen and I have had this conversation before about tracking - we think we've totally "blown it" only to discover we were at 1500 calories for the day!

    Unlike alchohol, you need food, so I know its a constant struggle for you - hopefully the light bulb is on with the tracking!

    I use - I have the app on my phone and I love that I can enter recipes and get a nutritional label, now if I could only figure out how to transfer that label to my blog, I'd be a happy camper!

    Hugs Leslie!!

  5. Good job owning up to your personal reality! I don't know why we ever get in a mindset that if we don't write it we didn't bite it. So silly. Just think if you ate 700 calories extra every day, over the course of 5 days that equals a one pound gain. But if you ate 700 calories less....

  6. Love MyFitnessPal! I got a bit obsessive for a while, but now I'm feeling good. Feel free to add me as a friend. User name: campi_mama
    Keep at it Leslie

  7. Thanks so much Tiffany! I will.


  8. "snacks after dinner" : Sorry Leslie but that sounds crazy!

  9. Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

    LUV it!!!!