So last night after the tire and McDonald’s incident, I ditched my food journal yet again. I have a habit of doing this, especially on weekends. I’ll start the day feeling good about my food choices, with an optimistic feeling for the rest of the day, and then…

BAM boom CRASH

screwit

Something shoves me off my path.

I’ve gotten better about recovering the very next day instead of waiting weeks/months like I used to. I’m convinced this is one of the reasons I’ve been able to maintain my weight for so long — I never let one day dictate the next in a negative way.

However, I thought it would be useful for me to really analyze all the reasons why I walk away from food journaling because I feel like it’s coming from that all-or-nothing/perfection place we talk about so much when it comes to dieting/food choices.

  1. I don’t want to see the damage in black and white, or for fellow MyFitnessPal users, green and red. On days like yesterday I simply rather walk away than know the true extent of my choices. Of course this is counter productive because if we keep walking away instead of being accountable, we’ll truly never learn from these situations. I have been pleasantly surprised after entering every single bite and realizing it wasn’t as bad as I thought. However, when I just walk away, not facing the truth, chances are I keep eating because, well, I already ruined the day, I might as well …
  2. I get lazy. It’s true. There are days I find it exhausting and annoying to measure out a serving or calculate totals for  recipes. Other days I find it fun, exciting even. Unfortunately, it’s the cumbersome days I probably need to journal the most. Those are the times I’m simply unmotivated, and having a sense of accountability helps put things in perspective. However, I do think it’s important to take a conscious break from the journal so you don’t start to despise it. At the end of the day it’s a valuable to tool to help you reach goals.
  3. I don’t want people to see what I’m eating. This is my own fault because I keep a public journal, and most of the time that keeps me honest. But there are some days I don’t want the world to know I ate my way through a bag of Doritos or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because I had a fight with The Husband. Yet again, this is the time the food journal would help the most!
  4. It can’t be perfect. This happens to me a lot since I cook so much. Sometimes there are recipes I make that are just not easy to measure. Rather, I don’t want to be bothered to measure when I’m cooking and then I don’t know how much is in a serving or even how many servings there are. Take today for example: I made Quick Asparagus Soup with saved ends. I didn’t measure how many I added or how much broth I used. So how the heck do I enter this in the journal? Then I realize, hey… I’m eating pureed asparagus. What’s the big freakin’ deal?! Enter something similar and move on. In these situations I truly believe it’s the “thought” that counts. It’s not a reason to walk away. It’s time to estimate and move on. Forward progress. :)
  5. I’m too busy. There are some days I don’t have time to shower *cough* like today *cough* It’s kids, gym, work, kids, dinner, kids, work, bed with barely time in between to eat let alone take a minute to enter something in my journal. Then I realize, again, the pause, the moment to breathe and acknowledge I’m eating something is exactly what I need. I’d literally get through the day on handfuls of M&Ms, cheese sticks and nuts with a visit to a fast food drive through for lunch. The older I get the more I realize we’re only too busy for the things we don’t make time for.

Keeping a food journal has been a valuable tool for me to not only lose the weight but maintain it for this long — I’m going on 8 years!! It’s not something I see myself doing constantly for the rest of my life, but it will always be a tool in my arsenal because it works.

 
  • Susan

    Totally what I need to read. I know it works, it has worked for me. But lately I fizzle out (from reasoning above) and don’t stay consistent. I need to work on this because the extras are kicking myself in the face.

    Thanks Roni.

    S

  • Meredith L frye

    Totally what i needed to hear too… after i ate free leftovers at work instead of the soup i had packed for lunch… So i either skip dinner to stay w/in my points or i jsut move on.. and write it down!

  • Allison

    Needed to read this. I was just thinking about skipping it for the rest of the day because I know I am getting close to my calorie limit Nd I haven’t eaten dinner. But I will not just say f-it to the rest of this beautiful day!

  • Shan

    I agree with this totally. I also opened my journal up to my friends (you being one of them) and on some weekends I don’t want to say that I had a smokey and marshmallows while camping! I just want to enjoy that rare moment. That is the thing I think we forget. It is a rare moment. Lets all be kind to ourselves and remember it is ok to take a break from writing it all down and eating perfect. It is getting back to it the next day that matters. Great post as always

  • Amber

    I love food journaling an I hate it all at the same time. There have been months where I’ve logged religiously every day and there have been months where nothing shows up on my mfp diary. I’ve done pen and paper. I’ve done picture taking. I’ve done other tracking websites. Like you, I just get tired of having to do it. I know that it needs to be done but all the numbers drive me crazy. When the numbers drive me crazy that’s when I stop.

  • Nichole

    I don’t usually post howeverI actually enjoy food journaling because 9 times out of 10 it isn’t really that bad. I mean on your worst day it it probably better than a “good” day before you started down the healthy lifestyle.

  • ItsMeVsMe

    I totally could have written every single word of this. I usually do great during the week, but get lax on the weekends for the EXACT same reasons you do. I especially love the one about the recipes. It’s just easier not to journal it than to figure out exactly what you did.

  • A Pillow for Your Thoughts

    You are such an inspiration. People all over the place encounter the same problems that you just talked about (especially the being lazy part). Maintaining a positive attitude like you did is so important in having a happy life, wouldn’t you agree?
    @pillow4thoughts

  • Angela Honey, I Shrunk the Mom

    Yes, yes, and yes. I have been struggling with tracking for all the reasons you listed. I start out my day with my usual healthy breakfast, but often by lunch I’m making yet a bad decision. Instead of tracking it and moving on to better choices I give up and eat something even worse and skip tracking for the remainder of the day. Kind of like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I just blogged today about getting out of this rut and getting back on track. It’s like I’m throwing away all that I’ve learned over the last 2 years.

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  • http://twitter.com/dcrunnergirl9 dcrunnergirl9

    i totally agree that journaling gets to be draining sometimes. i once threw out my scale in college (i guess literally, down a trash chute. lol) and gained 40 lbs in the ensuing months … so i am afraid to find out will happen if i stop food journaling. i think tracking gets really annoying at times (like when i’m gaining — to have a written record of me causing myself weight gain, haha). but after i read that the majority of successful maintainers keep a diary of some kind i have tried to be like them :) (and have maintained my current weight for about 3.5 years). but i do tend to skip tracking if i have a treat or something, on purpose, just to not get caught up in the numbers too much.

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