I just started on my weight loss journey. I’ve been exercising every day for a month, doing the Blogilates beginners calendar and a bit of cardio, around 2-3 times a week.
I haven’t been counting calories during the whole month, though now I’ve decided to after I completely snacked and binged away one night. I was worried I compromised all I’ve worked hard for, and I’ve been slipping a lot recently on snacking. My friend recommended this fitness app that records the calories I eat every day.
But I get so stressed every time I go over my calorie intake for the day and it just gets me really down and unmotivated.
I know its only been a month. But I haven’t seen any results at all! And I have no idea if this fluctuating diet from healthy meals in the morning to absolute junk at night is destroying my body more and making me gain weight instead.
First, Justine, I can ASSURE you one night will not comprise all you worked for, and this is the exact mentality that prevents us from moving forward. I feel confident saying that because it’s EXACTLY what prevented me from losing weight for years. Instead of (wait for it… ) doing What I Can When I Can I’d use that one binge as an excuse to keep binging because I already blew it.
I know it’s not easy but let’s work on that mentality first. I wrote an article a few years ago called 5 Ways Ditching ‘Perfect’ has Made Me Happier, Healthier and More Successful. If you have a minute give it a read. There’s something really powerful when you start to shift away from the perfection mindset. But it takes time. You have to work on it and one of the ways you do that is by continually reminding your logical self that one meal can NOT undue a month of healthy, balanced eating.
As for stressing over the calorie intake, don’t kill me but I have another post that may give you some insight. Check out The Pesky Perfection Gene and Habits as it Related to Weight Maintenance. In it I share a story about my husband and how he stopped food journaling because he just assumed it was inaccurate.
His experience is a little different than yours but it’s also similar. You are both missing the point of the food journal. The power of food journaling doesn’t come from its accuracy or calorie limits. Its value is in its ability to make us aware. It’s that awareness that will help us make changes and move forward.
Now, you say you get down and unmotivated when you go over your calorie intake. Are you going over by a little or a lot? I only ask because I’m like that too, which is why I no longer food journal on MyFitnessPal. I’m not even trying to lose weight yet those little red numbers at the end of the day saying I was over by 60 calories (or whatever) really bothered me.
So I stopped.
Your situation is a little different though, as you do have weight loss in mind. I’d say if you are going over by hundreds of calories a day than you may want to reconsider your choices. If it’s only a few than I wouldn’t worry about it too much but it is hard to ignore those red numbers.
This leads to another question I recently received from Rachael:
Would you consider doing a post on the best way to keep a food and exercise journal? Perhaps your recommendations for apps and pen-and-paper journals. I normally just write it down in a small blank notebook. But, I’m wondering if there isn’t a better way.
Also just got your book and LOVE it. You and Carla did an amazing job and it is laid out beautifully too! Congrats.
First Rachael, thank so much! I’m so glad you like the book!
Second, your email made me smile only because I’m STILL looking for the BEST way to keep my food journal but I do have an answer for you.
The best way to keep a food and exercise journal is the way that works for you!
Sounds like a cop-out answer, right? But it’s TRUE! If you are finding that good old paper and pencil work for you then go with it! I used to do that. I also tried emailing myself, using apps, spreadsheets, even social media, like IG. I’ve tried every thing I can think of!
And when the current way starts to feel overwhelming or cumbersome or boring or annoying, I change it up and try something else.
And that’s what I wanted to share with you, too, Justine.
There is no right way. There’s only your way because if it doesn’t make sense for you or doesn’t easily slip into your routine than you won’t stick with it.
So I say… try ALL THE THINGS.
What’s the harm in it? You waste a few pieces of paper? You download a useless app? You post a few too many food photos on IG?
Really… this is what I mean when I say I lost weight on my terms. This is why the subtitle of #wycwyc is “Healthy Living on YOUR Terms.“
You make the rules.
You know what you need to do. The hard part is actually doing it, right? So carve your own path. Figure out the best way to food journal FOR YOU. Because really, there is no best way. My best way may be your no-way.
For me, right now, the best way to journal is by starting a draft post in WordPress. throughout the day I add the time and what I’m eating. Then, at the end of the day I format it all pretty, add a few thoughts and share it online.
That works for me and my goals but it sounds pretty lame for someone who doesn’t blog.
Food journaling is a powerful way to help you become more conscious about your choices, calories or no calories, macros or no macros. If the way you are currently doing it is causing you stress then it’s time to change things up.
And remember… just like your diet, and your body, your journal will NEVER BE PERFECT. Face the binges, the snacks, the bites, the licks and the tastes. Challenge yourself to journal them BEFORE you eat.
- 5:45 a.m. Apple on the way to the gym
- 8:45 a.m. 1 egg + egg white scrambled with sausage, potato, spinach, and red pepper. Topped with a drizzle of sriracha of course!
- 12:30 p.m. Chipotle Salad with brown rice, chicken, veggies, salsa, and guac. I skipped the beans and cheese because, well, #wycwyc — – I don’t need all the things all the time.
- 6:30 p.m. Dinner was shrimp with roasted broccoli. I skipped the corn becuase I knew I was going to have some wine later with The Husband.
- 8:30 p.m. White wine and some cheese with salami and a few of the Husband’s chips.
I’m trying to stay as active as possible when I’m not chained to my computer and I swear it’s helping me stay sane!
- 6 a.m. I skipped the workout at the gym and worked on my own things/goals.
Turkish Get Ups – 1 each side at 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 lbs.
Lat Pull-down (not sure of the weight it just says “7”) 3 sets of 10.
Ab work on the roman chair – 3 sets of leg lifts
- 9 a.m. 2 mile walk to and from Evan’s School
- 4:30 p.m. went back to the gym and did the class workout modified for my level:
1 mile run
100 double unders
75 goblet squats with 30lbs
50 box jumps
25 Ring Rows