Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monitoring What I Eat

If you had asked me before if I watch what I eat, I would have told you yes. Sure, I thought about the food I was eating and tried to make healthy decisions, and for the most part, I did at meal time. But then, there was all of the little stuff I would nibble at that I some how lost track of.

One of the things that has really helped me on my weight loss journey is tracking what I eat. Not just what I eat, but how much I eat. When I first started to track, I used a little spiral notebook that I kept with me. It was small enough to carry with me during the day and helped to serve as a reminder. Keeping it with me allowed me to easily record what I ate and how much. If had calorie information from packaging, I would write that down too. If I didn't, I would look the food up later. This worked really well for me. First, it helped me to look back and see what I had been eating and what was working for me and what wasn't. But, it also acted as a strengthener for my will power. Somehow, knowing that I had to write down those chips or that cookie made me less inclined to grab them. I became more aware of what I was eating, especially what I was eating when I wasn't hungry and it wasn't meal time.

After a while, I got the opportunity, as part of my relationship with Weight Watchers to check out their eTools program. I love it!!! At first, I was still keeping my notebook during the day, when I was away from home and my computer and then would record everything at the end of the day. But then, I learned that their site was mobile friendly. I started accessing it through my phone. This made it really nice for me as I was out to dinner, I could look up items for that restaurant or just type in food names to help me in making the right decision. It was definitely a learning for me, as I would discover what was a better choice and some of them surprised me. They don't have everything in their database, but they have a lot. It was also nice using my phone, because I was more current on where I stood with regard to my daily Points. When I was tracking on paper, I sometimes wouldn't know the points until I came home and looked them up, on line or in my book. Knowing where I was at during the day helped me to resist temptations because I knew that I wanted to have a certain amount of Points left for dinner or the evening and if I ate something, I wouldn't have those Points available later.

Tracking what I eat, on paper or through the convenience of Weight Watchers eTools, works for me. Sometimes, I need to be reminded of that, because when I get "loose" about tracking, it shows up on the scale - with no loss, or even worse a small gain. Last week, when I was sick, I went through a period where nothing tasted good. I would eat a bite of something and decide I just didn't want it. Because I didn't track all of these nibbles, I got off track and have found that coming into this week that I am still nibbly (not sure that's a real word, but it best explains where I'm at). My plan is to get completely back on track with recording what I eat and how much, so that I can get things back under control.

For more tips and tricks that work, check out Works For Me Wednesday.

There are many other features of the eTools that work for me, but that I will share on another day.

I received no compensation for this post. Weight Watchers has provided me with some complimentary meeting passes and access to eTools that I might experience them for the purposes of sharing my experience.


Meghan said...

I have never done Weight Watchers, but last spring I wanted to lose some weight and the one tool that was most effective for me was a food journal.

It actually wasn't so much a journal as it was a piece of paper I had printed from an Excel spreadsheet with each day of the week and the different meals. As I ate I wrote everything down and added up the calories.

I think the reason it works is because you're budgeting, just like you do with money. When your calories are up, that's it, so it forces your to "spend" them as wisely as possible.

Thanks for a great post.