One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

JOURNAL

Weigh-In Wednesday: Food Journaling

31 Comments 2402 views

Here we are again. It’s Wednesday. Is December flying by or what?

Holy crap I just looked at the calendar! It’s exactly two weeks until Christmas! That’s crazy talk!

Well, at least the next two weekends I have fun things planned. This Friday is The Husband’s annual office holiday party. I always look forward to it. We get a sitter and dress up like prom night. When we went two years ago The Husband gave me the best compliment ever and I still can’t read that post without crying. This year I vow to take at least one photo of us. I picked up the cutest purple dress on Black Friday when shopping with my mom.

The following weekend I’m throwing my first ever ugly sweater party. I’m super excited! It’s been awhile since I hosted a get together at the house. Before we had kids I used to do it all the time!

Anyway, I thought this week’s weigh-in topic should be about food journaling since I started mine back up for some extra accountability through this crazy season.

foodjournal

I’m two days in and loving it so far. Sometimes I find food journaling to be really fun and easy. Other times it’s the bane of my existence.

When I do hate it, it usually comes down to one of two things:

  1. I’m confident in my choices, feel in control and simply don’t want to be bothered to enter things because I don’t need it. 
  2. I need it desperately but I don’t want to face it. I’d rather not know and lie to myself about what I’m eating and why I’m eating it. 

There’s no doubt in my mind food journaling was a BIG part of my weight-loss success. When I lost the original 70 pounds I kept it with paper and pencil. Then I shifted to emailing myself, keeping it on the blog, Twitter, Instagram, and now I use MyFitnessPal.

Successful food journaling starts with finding a method that works for you. There is no right way to do. I used to track Points, now I look mostly at calories but truth be told, I’m not into the numbers as much as portions and conscious decisions. Those two reasons are why I really needed it and still fall back on it today. My problem was always portion control and mindless eating. I can easy inhale a few thousand calories in a sitting without even realizing it. I’m a mindless muncher and someone who doesn’t mind and sometimes enjoys the feeling of being full. My food journal helps keep me in check when those old habits creep back.

Now it’s your turn. Do you food journal? Have you found a method or approach that works for you? Are you always honest with your entries? Do you ever step away? Have you found success? 

Note: If you are one of my original Wednesday weigh-in folks, please feel free to share your numbers along with your thoughts. I know how important that accountability can be as well!



Leave a comment

I’d love to hear your story or thoughts on mine.

However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.

Discussion

There are 31 comments so far.

    Lisa Eirene

    December 11, 2013

    I enjoy food journaling. Maybe it’s my OCD nature, but I like making lists. :) Tracking my calories helps me keep off 100 pounds. I know this. I’ve stopped counting calories in the past and gained weight. Why? Because I need that accountability.

    Sara Halverson

    December 11, 2013

    I as well need to journal. I’ve used MFP and am currently doing WW…mostly because I need to step on the scale in front of someone every.week. Or things start to go down hill. I’d like to evolve to getting to know my body and what it needs. It’s a slow process. So worth it though.

    nancyabc

    December 11, 2013

    Every treat that has gone past me at school I have tried. Have not tracked the past two weeks and I am up 5 pds so tracking does work–at least for me–when I try.

      RoniNoone

      December 16, 2013

      Start tracking lady!

    Katie

    December 11, 2013

    Hi Roni! I’m a long-time reader but rare commenter. ;) I recently joined a gym that does functional training (crossfit) and boot camp workouts. The bootcamp workouts are very similar to the functional training but with less weight (bootcamp is mostly our own body weight) and a little more cardio. I realize that you need to wear a heart rate monitor to do a true track of calories burned. But like you, I’m 5’9″, medium frame, weigh right around the low 150’s. Do you have a sense of how much you burn during a crossfit session? I tried logging in MFP as circuit training but it estimates 300-400. Though I am DYING by the end of the workout, that still seems like a lot.

    Also, do you eat more on days where you train like that? I’m thinking I should be eating about 1600 calories on bootcamp days, but I still want to keep losing.

    Thanks for any advice you have on this. I must say, I DID NOT understand the obsession with crossfit from the blogging world and beyond, but I am hooked on bootcamp (despite crazy soreness – always itching to go back) and hope to try functional training in a month or so! Thanks for the nudge! ;)

      RoniNoone

      December 16, 2013

      Why don’t you understand it? It’s just like being hooked on bootcamp! It all comes down to finding what you enjoy and want to do. The way you feel about your bootcamp class is how I feel about my CrossFit class and before that I felt that way about BodyPump too!

      Anyway I’ve been eating about 1700 and I do crossFit Daily but my weekend calls are quite a bit higher so I think it al evens out. I’m still figuring it out myself.

      Katie

      December 17, 2013

      Thanks, Roni! Sorry, worded that wrong, I meant I didn’t get the obsession before but now I do! I tried my first functional training (Crossfit) class last night and loved it. Though, I’ll probably stick with mostly bootcamp for awhile. It’s exciting!

    Imacrazymomof4

    December 11, 2013

    I’ve been doing MFP for over a year and really love it (470 days to be exact!). Mainly because my phone is always on me and it’s so easy for me to use it. I have it open for others to read because what do I have to hide? I’m an open book…the good the bad and the ugly. I have journaled with WW in the past and really hated it and wasn’t honest or consistent. It makes me wonder if the reason I’m more consistent and honest now has anything to do with it being open for others to read…somehow I’m more accountable. I definitely don’t use it to look back on…it’s more like I complete it and move on to the next day. I like that I can see over the course of a week as a whole how good I was…the fact that I drank 3 beers and didn’t exercise one day isn’t going to ruin my week…or being on vacation and eating out every night isn’t either because I had more time to exercise. There are some days I don’t feel like being honest…like when I’ve drank more than my share of beer, or had a lot of things I don’t usually eat, but in the big picture I ate it! I’m going to acknowledge it and allow myself days off of not thinking about always eating the absolute best thing…I’m HUMAN! I like that I can document it and know that it’s just another day and 80% of the time I’m making the right choices. I know from my WW days when I stopped journaling I quit caring and when I quit caring I ate with reckless abandon. Don’t need to learn that lesson more than once!

    RG

    December 11, 2013

    Someone suggested I flip food logging on its head: instead of thinking backwards to what I ate, use it as a time to plan tomorrow. I still have days when I eat whatever’s in front of me, but just knowing that I’ve veered way off course helps me remember to come back. I know that when I stop food journaling, I end up using every meal as an excuse to “treat” myself, as thought non-nutritious food is a present. If I log it, I can talk myself into having a healthy meal to try to balance it. It stops the snowball effect.

      RoniNoone

      December 16, 2013

      I used to do the pre-planning thing to. Every morning my food journal was pretty much written out and it acted more like a plan.

    Martha Glantz

    December 11, 2013

    Well I’ve been steadily tracking for over two years (down 72 – 75 pounds) and it is now second nature. I use livestrong and have have it on my iPhone and when I eat I track it. I usually enter lunch in the morning and snacks – dinner too if I know what I’m going to make. For me this is a must. In the past when I’d lose weight when I stopped tracking I started gaining.
    This time has been different though in that I didn’t see this as a “diet” rather a lifestyle change forever.
    I did lose a pound since last Friday; sort of in preparation for many dinners and lunches out starting this Friday night. It is what it is and I’ll enjoy!! And do WICWIC

    Tracy Hammontree Bryant

    December 11, 2013

    I used MFP for a couple years (lost 40 lbs.), until I started training for 1/2 marathon #1 in Sept 2012. I felt like 1200 calories a day were too few, I was bombing badly on my long runs, so I quit logging. I’ve gained about 10 lbs back, need to lose at least 20 lbs for my height & happiness… not sure what to do. I eat clean, but portions are my enemy… even too many calories of clean food are too many! :/ I do not feel like MFP accounts for exercise, or maybe it’s because I will NOT eat the calories I burn… maybe I should on the days I run? any opinions or suggestions?

      Martha Glantz

      December 12, 2013

      I keep reading that 1200 calories is too low for most women. don’t know how tall you are but training for a marathon wold require a lot of calories. I track my food and do deduct my exercise but don’t add back all the calories during the week since I eat more on the weekend. My calorie goal is 1820/day

      Tracy Hammontree Bryant

      December 12, 2013

      Thanks Martha! I’m 5’4 and MFP recommends 1240/ day for me, just did that yesterday. I run weekly, typically train for 3 or 4 – 1/2 marathons a year. I ate about 1600 calories yesterday and was miserable feeling. I think I ate 1200 calories a day for so long that I messed up my metabolism, hit a plateau and can’t get it going again. I’ve taken about a year off from logging & tried to just eat sensible. I’ve gained about 10 lbs so I need to start back but don’t know how many calories I ‘should’ have a day. I try to go by hunger and amount of exercise each day…

      Paula

      December 13, 2013

      I am in the same boat. I lost 30 pounds and felt great, then I cut back from 1700 calories a day to 1200-1400 and kept at it thinking I would lose weight. Nope. I gained, not a lot but about 10. I think I messed my metabolism up too and now I want to test for hypothyroidism since I can’t seem to determine what I need to do.

      Tracy Hammontree Bryant

      December 13, 2013

      I feel your pain Paula… there must be a way to get us back on the losing track, but I’m no expert at kick starting metabolism. I’ve tried changing up my workouts and eating more of clean foods but nothing works for me. :(

      RoniNoone

      December 16, 2013

      Why are you shooting for 1200 calories? Bump up your stats in MFP to active! This way it gives you a higher baseline and you don’t have to track exercise specifically. Does that make sense?

      Tracy Hammontree Bryant

      December 16, 2013

      Thank you Roni, makes perfect sense… so I suppose MFP should ask, “Are you a couch potato?” instead of “Do you sit at a desk all day?” for activity level!!

      RoniNoone

      December 16, 2013

      Right, I have a hard time saying no to that too!

    Amelia Winslow

    December 11, 2013

    I think food journaling is so important when you are in a ‘gaining’ phase where a few lbs are creeping back on and you can’t really pinpoint why. (or you can, but need a clear reminder). But if I journal when I’m successfully maintaining, I find I just get obsessive. So I think it depends!

      Martha Glantz

      December 12, 2013

      I find the same thing. In maintenance though if I don’t track, I gain. tough to find the right balance

    Andrea@WellnessNotes

    December 12, 2013

    I used to use MFP but then stopped at some point. Now I keep a pretty pink paper food/exercise/gratitude journal. I simply write down everything I eat and drink, but I don’t figure out calories. Just writing everything down really makes a difference for me.

    Lynne

    December 12, 2013

    I have a stack of notebooks, old ww journals, trackers and then it was a spread sheet. I’ve not done it this time, but as I consider the year ahead I want to get a better handle on my overall nutrition for training… Got my FITBIT Force in the mail this week and looking into what works best with it… will probably just follow your lead!

      RoniNoone

      December 16, 2013

      MFP hooks right in! It’s so easy too!

    Agnes

    December 12, 2013

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and be real honest. For the longest time I had this battle in my head. You see, I hate food journaling. I always have and I think I always will. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it, even done it for months at a time but I still hated every minute of it. And I’ve also lost weight without doing it (70 lbs with WW before the points system). I know it works for people and so I always hesitate being negative about it but for me it makes me obsess with food and think about it more and more. It really drives me crazy. Finally this year I said that’s it. I don’t think I will ever food journal again. So far it’s been good and I feel stronger and better than ever. And finally I feel like I have peace and am doing the right thing for me and not just food journaling because everyone else is doing it. I even lost 15 lbs so far! Not journaling however does not mean going crazy and so while I’m not writing anything down or keeping track of it electronically, but I am eating consciously and thinking about the food I’m eating and making the best choices whenever possible. Sometimes I even go as far as doing a mental summary of my entire day so again I am being conscious of it. I think like with all aspects of being healthy, you have to find what works for you.

      RoniNoone

      December 16, 2013

      You do have to do what’s right for you!! And i’m glad you shared your experience because I’m sure many others relate.

    Ellen

    December 12, 2013

    As a WW Lifetimer, I recently
    regained my Lifetime status. For me, tracking is very important and being
    accountable to myself was very important in becoming much healthier. I
    try not to be obsessive about it. When I know how many points a meal contains,
    I may just track the total points of the meal; not write down everything individually.
    (wycwyc). At this point, I am scared to take off the training wheels and
    stop tracking. It’s not a big deal to keep a food journal and it is a
    great way to learn what works. I can honestly
    say that I have tracked everything I have eaten for the past 14 months. It has had a big impact on the choices that I
    have made.

    Paula

    December 13, 2013

    I track with paper and pen. I use a kitchen scale to weigh everything. I use Calorie King for determining calories. I found by keeping a tab on them I would keep in my range. I hated writing down anything unhealthy. I lost 30 pounds by doing this. Now my focus is calorie control, but want to become an ex-calorie counter & it isn’t easy!

    Rob Sorbo

    December 17, 2013

    Calorie tracking has been the only thing that consistently works for me. I can also put away a few thousand calories without thinking about it, so the intentionality that tracking provides me removes a lot of needless calories.

    Char

    February 24, 2014

    Just found your site & am reading over some of the posts. For me when I track it works. I am quite math impaired so I like using the USDA tool: Super Tracker. It figures calories and allows you to select the portion size so you don’t have to do the math, It tracks calories & exercise & gives goal suggestions etc. One thing I really like about it is that it will also track vitamins, minerals & specific nutrients. This is particularly good for me because I am anemic and am constantly trying to boost my iron intake. It will also track sodium & sugar. You can create a favorites list and also plug in your own recipe to save to your favorite list. It e-mails reminders and tips for doing better. It displays data in both list and graph formats. You can also add other family members. Best part is that it is free. You can also read & print graph data for over a period of time (print outs are good for DR visits). This can help you identify patterns. It shows that I rarely eat even 1/2 the fruit I should.

    jan

    March 5, 2014

    A shocking new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine shows a common
    mistake nearly EVERYONE makes in the bedroom is absolutely killing
    their metabolism.

    Not only does this mistake BLOCK your ability to reduce fat, it also
    gums up your hormones, drives up hunger, ages you rapidly, saps you of
    energy and damages your mental functioning.

    What’s worse, this mistake can force an otherwise “healthy” person to
    show the same type of insulin resistance and blood sugar problems as a
    full-on type 2 diabetic

    !

    Unfortunately, most people don’t even KNOW they are making this
    mistake…and what’s worse, the solution that fixes it in only 15
    minutes a week isn’t widely publicized. More on that in a bit.

    The mistake I am talking about is impaired sleep.

    WARNING: Don’t fool yourself and think, oh, I can sleep later, I am too busy to sleep, sleeping doesn’t make a difference.

    If you had a choice between exercise and sleep for your health and
    waistline, hands down, sleep is the winner…here are the 5 reasons why:

    ============================

    Reason #1

    ============================

    Not getting enough sleep makes you RAVENOUSLY hungry and skyrockets your
    cravings for the worst food possible. How? Another study published in
    the Public Library of Science shows why.

    First, impaired sleep causes leptin, your “I’m full” hormone to go DOWN by 15.5%.

    Second, it causes your “I’m hungry” hormone to go UP by 14.9%.

    This sends your appetite wildly out of control — you wake up starving
    and completely useless until you can binge on the worst foods.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, impaired sleep gets you addicted to the WORST
    foods possible, driving your cravings for sugar, sweets and sugary
    carbs (breads, pasta, etc.) through the roof!

    ============================

    Reason #2

    ============================

    Leptin, the “I’m full” hormone, also controls your metabolism by influencing your thyroid hormone.

    So when you don’t get enough shut-eye and leptin goes down, your thyroid
    also goes down, which causes your metabolic rate (how many calories you
    burn at rest) to absolutely PLUNGE!

    The result? More of the food you eat gets parked on your belly and
    thighs instead of being turned into energy to power you through the day.

    It gets worse… most people don’t know that the majority of the “fat burning” process actually happens WHEN they sleep!

    During sleep, leptin triggers specialized calorie-burning fat cells
    (yes, you read that right) to burn up excess calories that you don’t
    need and to release that energy as heat.

    So when you miss out on that deep slumber, you deprive yourself of the
    PRIME fat burning window where the inches start to disappear.

    ============================

    Reason #3

    ============================

    Sleep deprivation also depresses how sensitive your cells are to insulin.

    If you are LESS insulin sensitive, you need to crank out MORE insulin to
    clear any excess blood sugar that may be floating around.

    And more insulin causes a double fat-making whammy by telling your liver
    to turn the food you eat into fat AND by locking fat in your fat cells
    so it can’t be released to be burned.

    Adding insult to injury, your body perceives lack of sleep to be a
    threat to its existence, so it fires up your stress hormone cortisol,
    which has been directly linked to excess belly fat.

    ============================

    Reason #4

    ============================

    Impaired sleep also damages your brain, cognitive abilities and mood.

    Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, professor of neurosurgery at the University of
    Rochester, completed a study showing that when we sleep, our brain
    flushes out potent neurotoxins that are normal by-products of our waking
    activity.

    But if you let those by-products accumulate without taking out the
    garbage, VERY bad things happen — like brain fog, impaired memory, wild
    mood swings and trouble focusing.

    Inflammation and oxidative stress also run rampant, causing even further
    damage to your brain and putting you at risk of developing age-related
    diseases such Alzheimer’s.

    ============================

    Reason #5

    ============================

    You ever see someone who hasn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in a few
    days? They look totally ragged, wasted…and strangely…OLDER.

    That’s because lack of good sleep ages you rapidly by robbing you of the
    small window of opportunity during which your primary “youth” hormone
    works its magic.

    I am talking about growth hormone — your master rejuvenation hormone
    that mostly only comes out at night, helping you re-build and repair and
    keeping you young.

    Aside from making your skin ragged, wrinkly and dry, lack of growth
    hormone also dramatically alters your body composition, shifting it to
    be MORE fat and less muscle — NOT what you want!

    So here’s my 4-step formula to getting more sleep and cranking up your metabolic engine:

    Step 1: Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each week until you get to 7-9 hours of sleep.

    Step 2: Make your bedroom completely dark, which maximizes your hormonal response.

    Step 3: Calm down your brain before bed — no TV, no internet, no exercise, nothing.

    Step 4: Eat at least 3 hours before bed time — anything less kills fat burning.
    WARNING: This formula won’t boost metabolism and fight aging if you are eating the WRONG foods as most people unknowingly do.

    Your metabolism will come to a halt, your energy will plummet, your
    thinking will slow and the ravages of aging will set in regardless of
    how much shut-eye you get

    http://cutt.us/tzxm http://solution10000.blogspot.com