One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

FOOD JOURNALS

Finding Balance Without Numbers

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On October 30, 2013, I finally said good-bye to my scale forever.  It was scary and freeing all at the same time. I can honestly say I have not stepped on a scale since. That’s not to say I haven’t thought about it. There’s been a few times The Husband inquired about the scale’s whereabouts and I was tempted to dig it out of storage. But I refuse to do it. What can it possible tell me that will change what it is I do day in and day out?

Hint: Nothing.

Anyway, some of you may have been following my inconsistent food journal on MyFitnessPal. I love it there, I really do, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the numbers there mean nothing to me, too. Nothing. Actually, I think they are doing more harm than good.

News flash: I am no longer dieting.

I know it sounds silly for me to say that after maintaining for 8 years but there’s still a part of me that’s all about cutting calories. That is how I lost the weight after all.

I don’t think keeping an eye on calories is a bad thing (again, it’s basically how I lost 70 lbs) but, like the scale, I’m finding it just doesn’t serve me anymore.

I work out a LOT. I’m lifting heavy, running consistently and really enjoying training. I even have another competition in my sights!

I feel better than I have in years. Energetic. Strong. Fit.

Counting calories just seems counterproductive for me now. My focus is more on the quality of my food choices and the fact that I’m eating consciously.

That’s why I’m bringing back my old-school blog food journal. I like keeping one but I just don’t want to feel influenced by the numbers. Plus I’m more interested in the “What” and the “Why” than calories. They seem like just noise at this point.

I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy but I have to go with my gut on this.

In other news, the kids had ANOTHER snow day. I’m so over this winter, it’s not even funny.

I decided to make the best of it this afternoon and take the 8-year-old rock wall climbing. If you remember from last year, he’s a little scared of heights. But he was again, excited to go and this time I got to belay for him!

He did AMAZING!! Making it further up the wall than ever before.

20140205_Wall

He was proud and so was I. He went out of his comfort zone and faced some pretty big fears. He also kept talking about “next time,” which just made me so happy.

I’m so glad I took the belay course. I knew it helped him and I’m working on climbing more myself!

OK, I’ve gotta go. Here’s the old, err, new food journal. Hope you had a great day!

What Why
Small bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats Pre-workout/breakfast with kids before heading to the gym
Recovery Shake (almond milk, maple syrup, whey protein, cocoa powder) Post-workout drink I bring to the gym with me
3 eggs with leftover Brussels sprouts and bacon bits Breakfast
2% Greek Yogurt with frozen blueberries, cocoa nibs and maple syrup Hungry – late morning snack
Mexican Gumbo @ Qdoba with brown rice, black beans, chicken, cheese, salsas Lunch out with The Husband and 8-year-old since school was canceled
Clif Bar Kit’s Organic Fruit and Nut Bar, Peanut Butter  Snack after taking the 8-year-old rock wall climbing
 Sausage and peppers over brown rice with a side of broccoli  Dinner with the Family
 Handful of pretzels  Because the kids were eating them
Wild Blueberry VitaTop and a chamomile tea  Nighttime snack to handle some tummy rumbles

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Discussion

There are 17 comments so far.

    Brenda

    February 6, 2014

    Roni, I think it’s great that you can always take a step back and do what’s right for you in that moment. I get you on the no scale or calorie counting I find for myself it’s not really doing anything, although unlike you I’m not yet in maintenance. I have those 10-15 more to go and I’m growing frustrated and just ready to stop it all.

    Imacrazymomof4

    February 6, 2014

    To each his own…if it doesn’t serve a purpose push delete. I look at my fitness pal as a gauge and healthy habit like flossing every night. I don’t really do it for calorie counting…just a way to monitor my crazy life. Life is pretty unpredictable and spontaneous for me and can get outta control pretty quick…that part of life stays pretty constant.

    Jessica

    February 6, 2014

    Hi Roni, I love this blog and I’ve been reading it daily for about 6 months. I’m almost to maintenance, and I’m just ramping up my training for a half marathon. I count calories using My Fitness Pal, and have found, since kicking up my training I’m losing weight at a rather aggressive pace. So, since I’m circling my target weight and will arrive sooner than I thought, I guess I’m curious to try more conscious eating myself.
    I really appreciate you sharing your conscious eating journal, and one thing I am more curious about in addition to your what and why, is your timing on eating. For instance, pre-workout for running, I’m guessing, is longer before your workout, than a pre-workout snack might need to be for lifting. And, maybe I’m wrong. But, that’s one more element I’m curious about. If it’s too tedious to capture in your journal, or more importantly, if you don’t care to capture it, maybe you could just tell us in a post a bit about how you fuel for your activities. Thanks again for your great blog!

      RoniNoone

      February 6, 2014

      Hi Jessica!

      This is something I’m still trying to figure out myself. I used to not eat at all before and for up 2 an hour or 2 afterwards. Now I’m taking a more systematic approach and trying out a few things. I’ll add a few more detailed notes in the why. It’s a good thing to track for me too.

    LisaM

    February 6, 2014

    I think we go through the counting calories or points stage because it’s a tool that helps us learn about the “fuel” value of food. Now that you’ve learned these things, you can skip the tool and go straight to the food. It’s sort of like a good cook who knows what a tablespoon of something looks like, so why bother getting out the measuring spoons. That being said, I still get fooled by some foods – they count as more fuel than I think they should – so I still need the tools (calorie or point counting) on a more regular basis than I like to admit.

    Kimberly Whittaker

    February 6, 2014

    I am still in my weight loss journey and I have such a hard time counting calories. I just hate it! I really do. (Can you feel me throwing a tantrum? lol) I am trying to find a balance in tracking and just eating well to preserve my sanity, but it is so hard. A blog food journal is a good idea. :)

    Eth

    February 6, 2014

    I have been maintaining a 35 pound weight loss for about 5 years. I find that my fitness pal is a good tool when I know I’ve over indulged for a few days and need to refocus of whole foods and fewer sweets. I have also noticed that if I try to keep the myfitness pal journal for longer than a week or so I often eat more in the evening than I need, or have an extra snack when I’m not really hungry because I have a few calories left….so I should use them right?? I have also decided not to keep a food journal on a regular basis anymore, but just use it as needed. i also like your what and why food journal idea. Especially now that I am pregnant and am finding it hard to accept that I am gaining weight and to not obsess over if I am gaining too much weight. I think I will try your style of journal for a while. It will help me be more conscious of what I am eating without getting hung up in the calories.

    Martha Glantz

    February 6, 2014

    Having reached my final goal weight last April I sill find regular weighing and tracking daily to be musts for me. I can that after a few years at goal that I may only track on the weekends; my weekdays are pretty consistent calorie-wise and that’s when I do the most workouts.
    Right now I’m afraid that if I stopped weighing and/or tracking I wouldn’t pay attention and the weight would creep back. However I also quit dieting with this weight loss journey and really and truly have changed the way I eat.
    I’m not getting out of this comfort zone any time soon.
    Like you I am so over winter! The gym was closed yesterday and luckily our clubhouse had a fitness center so worked out there and did 3 miles on the treadmill; my longest walk yet! Plus 10 mins on elliptical. then made stuffed cabbage stoup for dinner.

    Dukebdc

    February 6, 2014

    It is great that you have found what works for you. That’s what we’re likely to stick with – something that makes sense and gives you a “why” and not just a “what.”

    I’m still weighing in regularly. I need to get back to my goal range (only about 5 pounds to go – I was there this time last year), and learn how to stay there. Once I can stay within the range for a minimum of 6 months, I can consider letting go of the scale. From 2008-2011 I did this very well. But at this point in my current efforts no scale = no accountability.

    HW: 148
    CW: 129.8
    GW: 120-125
    HT: 5’2″
    Age: 35

    nancyabc

    February 6, 2014

    This time last year I was down 153 pounds. I was eating well and exercising. Little by little I have let things go and my number now is 110 pounds still off. I have to get myself back into the game–it is important because I have a bad left leg–and walking has been harder lately. I have to keep going to my WW meetings because it really did work for me. And visiting this blog has helped also. I have good days but the bad ones are so bad. I am hoping warm weather will help kick start it–I am so over this weather also.
    I want to get to a place and time when I don’t need a scale and counting everything I eat but I am really not there yet–but I have hope.
    Once again thanks for sharing because it does help.

    Amy Rolniak

    February 6, 2014

    It is so funny that you mention this. I check out the greatist website and they had an article about great health bloggers. (I put your site in the comments) I don’t know if you ever go on that site but their stuff is right up your alley. So there was this girl called Nia Shanks her site is How to Lift Like a Girl and she talks very similarly to you. No numbers, no dieting, no cheat meals, no forbidden foods and she does not count calories. Just good food and I was reading her stuff last night and she talked a lot about asking yourself, after you eat, why did you just eat and how do you feel afterwards. I am so happy to finally be doing something that just might make my relationship with food healthy again.

    Thanks!!

    Heather

    February 7, 2014

    Roni, will miss yiou on My Fitness Pal but I get what your saying. This food journal with the whys is very interesting! I love it. Gonna try this too although i am not in the place to be able to stop counting calories, but it’s nice to know it’s possible to evolve out of it.

    Patty

    February 7, 2014

    I love your versatility when it comes to the food journal! Do what works for you. :)

    Sarah Deman

    February 7, 2014

    I am currently in weight loss mode, but I often get bogged down with counting all the time – points, calories, etc. While I still track points on the WW ap, I find that I learn a lot more from the paper food journal I keep with the “whats and whys” as you call them. I am able to look at triggers, patterns, etc that way vs just seeing how many points or calories I ate.

    Erin

    February 7, 2014

    When I am staying on track I love my food journal (fitness pal) I like seeing where I was at with calories and what I ate and kinda reflecting on how yes, I can stay in my calories and be full. When I am off track, I ignore it and pretend it does not exist. I am in complete denial of the damage I am doing combined with the fear of how badly I am doing. I have so far to go (75lb) in my journey that it takes my breath away…yes I know I need to just look at it 5 lbs at a time etc etc but putting on clothes or looking in the mirror reminds me how far I have to go. I hope to one day use the journal as a tool to balance my eating and aid me in a healthy lifestyle and catch me from getting off track….but for now I am just pissy I let myself get this heavy and depressed of how far I have to go. ahhhh!! one day at a time, right?

    aya nameth

    February 13, 2014

    I love that you threw away your scale! Good for you! I completely agree that it doesn’t always help the weight loss process. I still use my scale but I recognize that It’s going to go up and down constantly. I also take before pictures and measurements and go off how my clothes feel on me. If my pants are getting tight I know something is wrong and I need to watch what I’m eating. I don’t think the scale is the be all end all. I’m not at the maintaining point of my weight loss yet, I still have a ways to go and I’m tracking it in my blog.
    www.beatingmybuddhabelly.com
    Aya

    Aqiyl Aniys

    February 17, 2014

    It is not necessarily how much you eat but what you eat. I now eat a whole food plant based diet and I don’t watch my calories at all. Actually the more calories the better. Processed food are the issue and is what adds weight to us. I eat the same or more calories now eating this way and I lost 25lbs and I am back to my weight and energy when I was in my 20’s and I am 46 now.