Food Tracking: Tedious or Necessary?

Lately, I’ve been having the hardest time tracking my calories. December 9th was the last time I tracked my caloric intake in its entirety. I can’t seem to figure out why, though. One day, I just…stopped. Since lapsing in my tracking, I’ve tried to continue to practice good habits but I’ve found that I care less about what and how much I eat. I’ve not gone overboard or anything, but the lack of care is there. I don;t know why I’m having this issue. Maybe tracking is just tiresome now, especially when I eat pretty much the same darn thing every day.

Studies have shown that food tracking helps you lose weight because it helps keep you accountable and aware of everything you’re putting into your mouth. Over the course of 6 months, people who tracked their calories lost, on average, 13 pounds. I know that when I track my calories, I’m a whole lot more aware of how many calories I’m taking in (who knew that Venti Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks had 310 calories and 56g of sugar?!) and tend to make better decisions in the future, like ordering items with sugar free sweeteners, ordering vegetables instead of french fries and having water with lemon with my meals as opposed to soda.

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I’ve tried to follow the general tips for tracking – tracking as I go, measuring all the food I track, trying different methods until I found the tracking method that works for me (I tried books, different apps etc. until I settled on LoseIt), keeping track of all my days, even the cheat days and, cooking at home rather than eating out, since we all know that eating out costs more calories (and money) than cooking at home does – but I still have trouble. I’m thinking if I add more variety to my meals that tracking will become interesting again. Maybe it’s the interest in finding out how many calories are in different foods. Maybe it’s finding out that food that I thought was good for me was actually bad and vice versa. Who knows.

Starting January 1st, I’ll pick back up on my tracking, but I still need to figure out what I need to do to make this less tedious.

Any tips?

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Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

Ever since I was a kid, as long as I can remember, I refuse to go a day without breakfast. Whether it’s a bowl of cereal, some eggs or a fruit smoothie, I consume some sort of breakfast every day.

Studies have shown that this isn’t just something our mothers would tell us to get us to clean our plates. Breakfast is actually important. According to WebMd, “Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal, or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger.” When I don’t have breakfast, I get hangry…fast. Without breakfast, I eat a lot more for lunch and dinner, graze more on unhealthy snacks and am overall not a pleasant person to be around.

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In the last month, since my focus has been weight loss, it’s important that my breakfast is healthy while at the same time, filling so that I don’t binge eat later in the day. The problem is that most days I have to be at work at 6 am. Who wants to eat a heavy breakfast that early in the morning? I know I don’t. The solution that I found that works best for me is a protein shake breakfast.

Now, before you make faces and stick out your tongue because you think it’s gross, it’s really not all that bad. It took a lot of trial and error to finally find one that had great taste combined with a high protein/low carbohydrate content. My protein of choice is Dymatize Nutrition Elite Gourmet in Vanilla Creme.

proteinI love the diversity of the vanilla flavor. Anything can be added to it to give it a different taste depending on your mood. Generally, I use the same blend daily with slight variations in ingredient amounts:

– 1 cup Silk unsweetened plain Almond Milk (30 calories);

– 1 cup frozen mixed fruit (60 calories per 3/4 cup);

– 1 scoop protein powder (125 calories);

– 1 tablespoon of Nutella (100 calories).

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 12.49.39 PMBlend until smooth. The yield is about 12 ounces or so of smoothie and I may add an ounce or so more of milk if the results are too thick. This can happen if I get more of the larger pieces of fruit.

Surprisingly, the shake keeps me pretty full for about 4 or 5 hours which means a smaller lunch and an afternoon snack before I head home from work.

There’s a basic formula to making a smoothie – fruit, a liquid and a flavor. I’ve never considered doing more than that in my shakes but I came across a pretty helpful graphic on Pinterest that may open up what I do with my shakes.The basic formula is there but with a couple others added – Fruit, base (e.g. almond milk), thicken (my husband’s choice is peanut butter), flavor (herbs or spices), power boost (protein, vitamins etc.).

 smoothie

I love cinnamon and nutmeg and I’ve never considered adding them to my smoothies. Looks like there will be some experimentation in my future 🙂

When I’m not in a rush, my go to breakfast is a couple large eggs scrambled with an entire green bell pepper with salt and pepper to taste. If I have it, sometimes I’ll add a little Canadian bacon (surprisingly low calorie) to the mix. Something else that I’ve tried is a bacon frittata in the slow cooker. It wasn’t the healthiest because I literally put an ENTIRE pack of bacon in it, but dang it, it was tasty!

So, tell me. What’s your breakfast of choice?

Another day, another effort.

I’ve been gradually working on managing my food intake, especially how many carbs I’m consuming. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job. My day usually consists of a protein shake with frozen fruit for breakfast, a sweet potato for lunch and something quick and carb free (if possible) for dinner. Tonight I had scrambled eggs with bell peppers and shrimp. Oh, and a banana as a pre-workout snack.

I went for a walk this afternoon as well. 1.83 miles, pushing the stroller, in 40 minutes. I averaged about 21 minutes a mile which is about 3 minutes slower than my regular pace but I had a headache and had just gotten home from work. I’m glad I went for the walk though. I felt pretty relaxed afterward, despite the persistent headache.

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