KNOWING BETTER

Often means doing better.
Ac·count·a·bil·i·ty
/əˌkoun(t)əˈbilədē/
noun
1. the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.

A·ware·ness
/əˈwernəs/
noun
1. concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development. 

If I had to pick a couple of nouns that sum up this wellness journey and the positive trajectory that it’s had, it would be these two. Today marks day 761 of tracking my diet and fitness. My tracking platform of choice is My Fitness Pal.  I have dibbled and dabbled with it over the years, as you know this weight thing has been a thing for me most of my life.  This time however, 761 days ago, I was fully committed.  This whole tracking thing felt tedious and unnecessary initially but soon proved to be the complete opposite.  

Calorie and Macro Tracking - I would never get on the scale or measure what I ate.  I'd say things like "oh I'll just base it off of how my clothes fit" or "the scale doesn't matter".  Don't get me wrong, both of those statements are perfectly okay, but not when they're actually excuses.  It wasn't until I started holding myself accountable that I saw real change. When I really saw how what I was eating and how much I was eating impacted how I felt and how I looked.

That is listed as #3 on the list of 10 things that I have attributed to me keeping the weight off. Using a tracking system literally enabled me to see how what I ate changed how I looked.  After a few days and weeks of logging consistently, what seemed like a waste of time turned out to be something that I looked forward to. As with most things, the more you do something the easier it gets.  Months had gone by and I’d seen so much change. 

Somewhere along the line I decided to invest in the premium feature of the My Fitness Pal app.  It costs about $50  a year and I think it’s worth every penny. With the premium feature, you can do things like track your daily macros, get weekly digest reports.  You can see which foods most of your sugar or fat sources are coming from.  There are other features too, with both the free and premium options.  I don’t make use of them all but these are my favorites:

Uploaded recipes and meals:  So I eat my favorite things often and will experiment with new dishes sometime.  Having my go-to foods saved makes it easy to log them. There is research that suggests that a consistent diet with some diversity is a healthy balance.

What’s really cool about the recipe log… If you pull a recipe off line or have your own, you just add all of the ingredients and indicate how many servings there are.  Viewing the recipe in this format forces you to look at the nutritional info for all of the ingredients and the dish overall.   What it might do is inform your decision to tweak it, as it often does mine.

For example, the Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins that I make all of the time, calls for 10 count.  When I saw how many calories and sugar was in one serving I decided to make 12 muffins from the batch instead, and use less sweetener.

Exercise Tracking: I like that I can manually add the calories burned or sync the app with my phone and have my daily steps automatically pulled in.

Water Intake: I don’t use it consistently, I did more so when I first started than I do now, log how many ounces of water I consume a day.  On average I have about 64 oz, I’m told I should be drinking more… we’ll get there (not today)!

Food Finder: You name it and you find it.  I hardly ever search for a food and / or brand that I can’t find and log in my diary.

Dining Out: If you’re planning on dining out, there are loads of restaurants that you can pull up the menus for along with the nutrition information.  You can decide what you’ll have before you even get to the restaurant.  This helped me a lot in the beginning.

*Side note: Another approach to dining out (instead of scoping out the menu in advance) is just opting for whole food options once there; foods that you can better guess the nutritional value.  So for example, a protein, vegetable and starch combo might be grilled chicken, with a side of veggies, and some rice (or fries if you’re in the mood).  You’ll be leaving out the sauces and other things that you have no idea what’s in them.

I’ve found tracking my diet to be an optimal way to stay aware and hold myself accountable with this whole wellness thing.  My Fitness Pal is just the platform that provides a user friendly way to do this. There are other apps and programs but this one has held a sista down for 761 days / 2 years and one month to date!!!

I should note that I’m not as rigid as I was when I started because I’m in more of a maintenance phase then weight loss phase.   I’ve also memorized a lot, like the caloric value for certain foods and meals.  I can guestimate the nutritional info of what I’ve eaten in a day without relying on the app. I think that’s ultimately the goal, to become educated and sustain with less reliance.   I do however tend to be more intentional and stricter with tracking during those periods where I’ve fallen off for a bit, and my diet is veering off for longer than I’d like.  In a future post I’ll talk about how I approach those occurrences.

Until next time.

XoXo
GB

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