Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tracking Your Food

Last week I decided I wanted to add another healthy habit into my life... I wanted to start tracking my food.

First, I literally have no idea how many calories I'm eating. I eat when I'm hungry (or so I think) and stop when I'm full. I eat a vegetarian diet and try to keep it fairly healthy. I'm not big into sweets (I actually gave them up for Lent and didn't really miss them) and don't often drink my calories (I gave up pop a few years back, don't drink coffee or tea, and only have alcohol occasionally {but it's normally liquor because I don't like beer or wine}). I'd assume since I stay around the same weight range that I'm eating the appropriate amount of daily calories, but I realize that knowledge is power.


Next, I'm pretty unaware of serving sizes. I've never really weighed or measured my food (unless it's for a recipe). So I honestly can't tell you if the cereal, almond milk and berries I often have for breakfast is one serving size or three. It doesn't seem "too big" to me, but then again, I realize the American diet is often "bigger is better". #SuperSizeMe


Lastly, I believe if I have to track everything that goes in my mouth, then I will probably be a little more conscious of the decisions I am making. My thought is that having to put down everything I eat and drink will cause me to do a double take on some of the mindless snacking I do throughout the day. Also, having to record I had more than one or two or seven servings may force me to rethink my choices (a serving size for chips is 9 chips?! LIES!).


Like always, when I have a question I take it to the InterWebs. Let's just say, when I asked the world (or at least folks in "my" world) what food tracker they used, the resounding answer was "My Fitness Pal". (Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored or affiliated with My Fitness Pal, it just happened to be the app most everyone who commented on my question mentioned they used or suggested I check out, so it's the one I'm currently trying out.)

I would say 95% of responses included My Fitness Pal!

So technically I started tracking everything as of Monday, April 24th, and thus far I am really digging it (although I hope it's because I'm actually learning and not just because it's a new, shiny habit that will lose it's luster soon).


It has been INCREDIBLY eye opening! I don't know if you noticed, but none of my goals for starting to track my food were to lose weight. I really wanted to use it as a learning experience (i.e. how many calories I'm eating, how my diet is broken up, what I can be doing to get healthier, how large serving sizes really are, etc).


Some of the features I love are: the fact it syncs with my Garmin Connect (that way my exercise is counted in and gives me additional calorie allotment), the fact you can pull up restaurants and add meals from online menus (some restaurants do not have everything listed, but definitely gives you a jumping off point for when you are eating out), the fact there's a bar code scanner in the app so you can scan the foods and it does the searching for you, etc.

Left: You can see how my exercises (strength training + 3 mile run) syncs with the app and adds an extra 300 calories into my daily allotment /
Middle: Menu items from one of our favorite Mexican restaurants / Right: How the barcode scanner works

I know it's only been a week, but it's crazy to think how differently I'm eating due to a silly app. I've noticed that I've slowed on the snacking, that I'm paying attention to the amount of macros (carbs, protein, fat) in different meals, etc.

Pretty surprised my macros were on point when I started tracking

Again, I'm in no way saying this app is the only way to track your food (or even that you should track what's going in your mouth), but if you're interested in potentially adding this healthy habit to your lifestyle, I've found it super helpful. I'll be sure to keep you updated on this, but thought I'd at least give you the heads up that I had started the venture!

Have you ever tracked your food before?


Unknown said...

I love this app. For me, I started using it to lose my twin pregnancy weight. I go back and forth using it honestly. I'm about to start up again. The macro information is great, but I really like the micronutrient value information. It is interesting to look and see where I need to add stuff in. And yes, the fact that it syncs with both garmin connect and runkeeper is a huge plus. Not to mention the fantastic food database. I always urge people to use this app if they are gaining weight or maybe exercising and not seeing results. Our diets play a big part and people lean on exercise too much and complain when they don't see results. Okay, off my soap box :). I'm glad you are enjoying it Carlee! Way to go!!

Blair @ runwalkgogo said...

I've been using MFP for close to two years. Some of the food I track is (ie - packaged food or restaurant meals) are the exact calorie amount, a lot of it I guesstimate since I don't measure/weigh most things. Regardless, I find the act of logging everything I eat super helpful in helping me maintain and even lose a little bit of weight. I try not to be too obsessive about it (I have a history of binge eating, so being meticulous can lead me down a dark road) but I find this loosey goosey way of using the app to work perfectly for me.

Bree at Clarity Defined said...

I've been using MFP on and off for probably 6 years now? I definitely eat better and am more aware when I track, but I also at times get a little too dependent and have to return to intuitive eating to reset my mindset.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I use MFP to make sure that I eat enough fiber and protein and more. The app is a big help with that!

San said...

I've tracked my food intake with the Fitbit App , mostly because I was curious and because I wanted to see if sticking to a certain calorie count really makes a difference (it does!)... it just makes the whole eating/fueling your body a more "awareness-driven" process!

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