How Tracking my Food has Helped me Lose Weight and Stay on Track

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I first started tracking my food daily a year ago. It was a eye opening, life changing experience. I had tried it before but given up because it was so depressing. When I first tried it I was eating 2500-3000+ calories per day. Was it any wonder I weighed 275 pounds and was morbidly obese? When I finally got the motivation to try again, I made so many changes to my diet. From the obvious like getting rid of Taco Bell and Fazoli’s to much more subtle changes like how many grams of sodium I eat a day. I use My Fitness Pal to track, but there are all kinds of apps out there so find what works best for you.

Here’s what I learned:

I eat way too many carbs. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 16 and the entire basis of my diet was not in fact vegetables, but pasta. So much pasta. But not just pasta- bread and tortillas and chips. I had such a carb heavy diet I was not getting enough protein or fats. I also eat way too much salt. Especially if I eat out, salt finds its way into everything. I for sure wasn’t drinking enough water, either.

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So how has tracking helped me make changes that I can stick to?

Well first, I made small changes over time, I didnt just cut  anything out. I still got fast food but maybe only once a week. I still ate popcorn and candy and cookies, but much smaller serving sizes. I started to measure my food so I would know exactly what a serving looked like.  I started to cook meals intentionally knowing what the calorie count and macronutrient ratios would be.

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Today I made a meal which perfectly exemplifies my new way of eating. And yes, it’s a new way of eating, it’s not a “diet”, it’s a lifestyle change. I had been trying Purple Carrot out and one of the meals was Vegetarian Pad Thai. Their recipe used rice noodles and had 730 calories per serving with 108 grams of carbs, 27 grams fat, and 21 grams protein.  Well that didn’t sit well with me. I added baked tofu to the dish and subbed in daikon radish “noodles” for the rice noodles. New stats: 384 calories, 24 grams carbs, 20 grams fat, 27 grams protein. How much better is my version!!!

I always recommed my patients track their food for one week if they are trying to lose weight. Even if you just write it down on a piece of paper, keeping track helps you stay acccountable and will really open your eyes to what you need to change in your diet. Give it a try.

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