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Old 05-08-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
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Tracking - how important is it?

Discuss! I'm not tracking at the moment, but I may start.

Does it help you? Or the opposite?
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:57 PM   #2
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Yes, tracking is essential. At least for me. I have found that after 10 years of lowcarbing, the tracking has been 'key' in keeping me focused, on track, and feeling in control. FOod doesnt seem to hold any power on me, when I KNOW what I am eating, how much, and in what catagory.....i actually write a littel chart every day of every thing I eat, how many calories it has, how many carbs, and how much protein. This is now such a routine, its not a burden, its like waking up and brushing my teeth. I just DO it.


The only thing I do not track is fat intake.
I dont even use a great deal of extra fat when I bake or cook, but I am not afraid of it either.
Fats, ( the ''good" fats anyway ) are most definitely are friend, make food taste wonderful, make us feel fuller, longer, and are good for our digestion and skin.

:-)


now, I know many people on this board are not concerned with tarcking their food. Thats fine. I am aware that I may seem extreme to some.
But it works for me. And what wroks for me may not work for you.
But it MAY.....
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:05 PM   #3
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I'm aware of the general amounts I eat, but I don't track everything. I do weigh and chart my weight daily, which is very important for my progress, but as for food, I'll input my food every so often, to make sure I'm eating what I think I'm eating, but I can go weeks without doing so.

I also have my food scale on the counter at all times, just to keep me aware of amounts. If I'm cooking or eating something new, or something I haven't had in a while, I might weigh an amount to get an idea. I may not use it for weeks, but just seeing it there reminds me not to overdo on the carbs or protein, just like weighing myself daily helps me keep my long term goals in mind.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:35 PM   #4
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I don't track anything. I know what I'm supposed to eat and what I'm not supposed to eat. I eat what I'm supposed to and don't eat what I'm not supposed to and it all works. I've been at this for quite some time and it 's automatic, which is good, because I don't have the patience for tracking.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:38 PM   #5
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I don't track, but like Ntombi, every once in a while I'll plug my food into a food tracker just to see where I'm at and it's pretty consistently the same.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:53 PM   #6
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I track to keep myself honest, and use a digital food scale to weigh things like cheese, meat, and almonds. I think it's kind of neat to see what an ounce of cheese or 100 grams of avocado looks like.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:10 PM   #7
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I keep my log on the desktop of my computer, nothing fancy, just a list of every day's foods, carbs and calories. Started out w/just carbs, but added calories a couple of weeks ago. Carbs remain my priority, but throwing in the calorie tracking too let's me know if I'm coming w/in the ballpark of what's reasonable per day for me.

And yes, for me tracking helps A LOT. First it keeps me looking up carbs and calories and sometimes it's pretty surprising what you're actually eating. I keep a lot of variety in my diet, so I'm not eating the same things all the time, and need to be aware of the many different counts. Second, reporting those numbers to myself every day helps keep me committed and responsible to my goals. Third, having a record is nice if you get stalled and want to tweak things, and I think would be helpful if you're looking to up your counts to test your maintenance levels.

Last but not least, it's fun to report a good day. I plan for my treat days, so it's not that I call high count days as bad days, but the log knows all, including if one has planned maybe one too many treat days to keep dropping weight.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:34 PM   #8
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Crucial for me! No matter what plan I've tweaked to, over the last five years the one constant has been logging my food quantities and calories even when I imposed no limits. It's the main reason I've lost or maintained over that time, instead of gained the weight back when a plan wasn't working or I had diet fatigue. The accountability and awareness is unparalleled for me.

I track calories and carbs, but oftentimes just counting carbs works for many folks. But I HAVE to count something, or my weight would slip even with good habits. After a few months it becomes as natural as breathing, and with the app I use it only takes a few minutes per day, max, because I have my commonly eaten foods lists, recipes calculated out, and previous meals I use as templates (just modifying an ingredient or amount as needed).
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
..use a digital food scale to weigh things like cheese, meat, and almonds. I think it's kind of neat to see what an ounce of cheese or 100 grams of avocado looks like.
I know, right? It can be surprising at first. But then after a while you can tell if you're pretty spot-on with your visual estimations, and that's nice to see.

Another reason to do this is that serving sizes listed on packages are way off. So if you think you're being accountable by logging two servings of bacon, you might be surprised when you weigh your slices and find that one serving is, in reality, more like one and a half or closer to two, in terms of the grams listed on the package. Same with lots of things--pre-sliced cheese, or anything that goes by "items", like if they say "20 nuts", is it really 20, or is an ounce more like 13? Is what you consider a tablespoon of mayonnaise really a tablespoon or is it closer to two? What about the cream in your coffee?

People don't mean to underreport their calories, and don't like to think they are, but they do.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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I track when something seems....well, off track. After more than 10 years of eating low carb / clean, my weight started creeping up a bit and tracking pinpointed the problem: portion control. It wasn't an issue a few years ago, but menopause has slowed metabolism enough to make me watch portions more closely. Tracking for a few weeks brought me right back to my fightin' weight.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:12 PM   #11
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I don't, because weighing/measuring/counting triggers my old ED and then I'm off the rails. Right now I'm combining IF with NK and intuitive eating and hoping for the best.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:15 PM   #12
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I also track once in a while to get a general idea of what I'm eating but I don't track on a regular basis.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:20 PM   #13
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I weigh daily and track my food. During weight loss I was super precise about portions and measuring everything and getting the exact counts. Over time I learned how many calories/carbs there are in certain foods and what a portion of something looks like so I backed off measuring everything, but I still jot down most days what I am going to be having that day with the cals/ carbs.

The amount of work/time it takes to do that is nothing compared to the amount of time that I wasted feeling fat and searched in vain for an outfit in my closet to make me look thinner.

I'll take tracking and being slim over being fat and relaxed about my food intake any day of the week.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
The amount of work/time it takes to do that is nothing compared to the amount of time that I wasted feeling fat and searched in vain for an outfit in my closet to make me look thinner.

I'll take tracking and being slim over being fat and relaxed about my food intake any day of the week.

That is an excellent point. People may view menu-planning and weighing/measuring food as inconvenient, but it's inconvenient in many everyday ways to be obese or heavy (assuming you don't want to be and aren't happy with it). It wastes time. It takes effort. It drags you down. It's tiresome.

I would rather invest in the type of inconvenience that yields such positive rewards.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:36 PM   #15
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I started this process as the only obese person in my family -- including cousins and spouses -- so I have all of these loved ones "supporting" me and I get "thinspiration" emails and texts all day long. A lot of my closest childhood friends are bodybuilders and they've bought me free range meat and a blood glucose meter and nutritional supplements and workout gear and physiology books, etc. So I feel like I need to be 100% on point, all day, every day just to live up to the massive amounts of love and support that people have given me. So I weigh and measure and track every single thing that goes into my body, and I've done this every day for the past 11+ months (my one year Atkins anniversary is this coming Saturday).

I only weigh and measure my body once per month and I've lost fewer pounds some months than others. But I have *always* been gratified and satisfied by the number on the scale -- no matter what that number was -- because I KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I have been 100% on point every single day. And I know that there's nothing I could have done to be *more correct* so I feel satisfied that the progress I've made is the absolute best progress my body is capable of making.

And to give full credit to the Atkins diet plan, I've made steady progress every month for more than 11 months simply by adhering exactly to the instructions in the book. I haven't needed to do anything more complicated than just eat the foods that are on the lists in the book -- I haven't had to shoot for a specific calorie range or play around with the macronutrient balance or add or eliminate any foods except as detailed in the book and I haven't even had to *count* carbs because simply eating the listed foods according to the guideline quantities has "naturally" kept my carb grams in the correct range -- and as of my last weigh-in I've lost 79 of the 100 pounds that I set out to lose. So I feel like tracking my intake has made sure that I've adhered every day without fail to 100% of what the diet plan has told me to do, and the diet plan has lived up to 100% of it's promises to improve my health and reduce my bodyfat.

I don't believe I need to weigh and measure everything for the diet to *work*. But I do believe that I -- personally -- need to weigh and measure everything in order to feel emotionally satisfied that I've lived up to the faith that I put in myself when I started the diet and the love that my family and closest friends have given to support me in this process.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knittering View Post
I don't, because weighing/measuring/counting triggers my old ED and then I'm off the rails. Right now I'm combining IF with NK and intuitive eating and hoping for the best.
Interesting - because not tracking tends to trigger binges for me.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:03 PM   #17
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And I, too, get a sense of accomplishment by tracking -- and accountability.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:16 PM   #18
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Well said, Trilex!!

I have read that one of the things that almost everyone who has had success with weight loss has done is to track their food. I believe it's imperative to do it for myself. When I don't write my food down, my brain things it doesn't count. I know I'm going down a slippery road when I refuse to write down what I ate. It's a place I don't want to go back to. My plan is to write my food down even when I am at my desired weight. It makes me feel in control of my own body.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knittering View Post
I don't, because weighing/measuring/counting triggers my old ED and then I'm off the rails. Right now I'm combining IF with NK and intuitive eating and hoping for the best.
I'm so curious about how you fit intuitive eating into your NK and IF lifestyle. I also do NK and IF and I really like the idea of intuitive eating, but it's hard to see a way to factor that in. Also, is there a book on intuitive eating that you like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfine View Post
I have read that one of the things that almost everyone who has had success with weight loss has done is to track their food. I believe it's imperative to do it for myself. When I don't write my food down, my brain things it doesn't count. I know I'm going down a slippery road when I refuse to write down what I ate. It's a place I don't want to go back to. My plan is to write my food down even when I am at my desired weight. It makes me feel in control of my own body.
I have read the same about successful people being the ones to track their food and their body weight, so I have tried to do both. I'm terrible about keeping up w that sort of thing, though. W my body weight, I weigh every morning, but only log when I hit a new low weight. W food , I have done a lot of logging, but now I only eat familiar foods that I've got the stats memorized for but i dont log it. I do weigh everything, though, as I can see how portion sizes could get out of hand quickly. I also tend to eat the same exact thing a lot.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:20 AM   #20
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I had to track a lot in the beginning to learn patterns and figure out how to eat properly. I have slacked off on the tracking and weighing myself. But I am at maintenance level now so maybe the rules are different. I am trying to learn portion control and how not to overeat.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:29 AM   #21
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I don't track I am like someone earlier said, I am just kinda aware of what I am supposed eat. I made this my WOL, therefore I did not want to go through life with a pen and paper always tracking, however, it does help some people, so it varies person to person and does help some people greatly to track
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:50 PM   #22
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I lost the first 70 pounds without tracking... then I hit a stall. The stall lasted about 7 weeks and in an effort to get a grip on what was happening, I started to track. It started just as more of a research effort to see if there were any patterns I was missing. After one week of measuring my portions and tracking my carb intake the scale started to move again. My 'eyeballing' was really off and I was eating more carbs than I thought.

I have kept the habit of tracking because (for me) it provides me with a touchstone when it comes to my eating. I have many psychological issues with food and my 'feelings' about what I have eaten sometimes needs to be compared to the reality of what I have consumed. That can go either way... Sometimes I 'feel' like I have gorged but when I review my carbs and see I've eaten 20, I can conclude my 'feelings' are not based in reality. Other times I 'feel' I need more food but a review of my food log shows I have had plenty.

I just keep a small notebook and pen and jot down my weekly food plan and then daily I record my vitamins, water, exercise, coffee, and food. At the end of the week, I record my weight.

This tool comes in handy when you want to review your menus on weeks you lost well or to review what you were eating on weeks your weight remained the same. I have learned a LOT about myself and my patterns looking through my food journal.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:27 PM   #23
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I don't track my carbs or calories. I do have a kitchen scale, however, and find it extremely useful to measure for recipes (I cook my lunches by recipe and wing-it for dinners, which are usually either out or some form of scrambled eggs). What I track is my weight. I weigh every day and make sure the number is not consistently rising. At this point, I am low carb and pretty low calorie on most days. So far, it has worked for me.
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:48 PM   #24
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I only track when I stall. And it's just long enough to pin point what I'm doing wrong.

I track everything; wake up/bed times, exercise, mood, what I did that day, food intake, weather. You name it it goes in a log. Eventually I'll see a pattern of something that doesn't fit, eliminate it and sure enough, the pounds start coming off again.

Yup it's tedious, a bit extreme, but I've found it's the most effective way for me.
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:53 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trishthedish View Post
I lost the first 70 pounds without tracking... then I hit a stall. The stall lasted about 7 weeks and in an effort to get a grip on what was happening, I started to track. It started just as more of a research effort to see if there were any patterns I was missing. After one week of measuring my portions and tracking my carb intake the scale started to move again. My 'eyeballing' was really off and I was eating more carbs than I thought.

I have kept the habit of tracking because (for me) it provides me with a touchstone when it comes to my eating. I have many psychological issues with food and my 'feelings' about what I have eaten sometimes needs to be compared to the reality of what I have consumed. That can go either way... Sometimes I 'feel' like I have gorged but when I review my carbs and see I've eaten 20, I can conclude my 'feelings' are not based in reality. Other times I 'feel' I need more food but a review of my food log shows I have had plenty.

I just keep a small notebook and pen and jot down my weekly food plan and then daily I record my vitamins, water, exercise, coffee, and food. At the end of the week, I record my weight.

This tool comes in handy when you want to review your menus on weeks you lost well or to review what you were eating on weeks your weight remained the same. I have learned a LOT about myself and my patterns looking through my food journal.
EXACTLY! "What she said." I have already commented on this but I had to come back to say even more strongly, I think tracking is very important for SOME people, and I'm one of them.

This!!!:

"My 'eyeballing' was really off and I was eating more carbs than I thought."

Or as I would say regarding myself, as I wishfully thought. Looking up everything and being as honest as I can be w/my log has taught me a lot, and stopped me from making mistakes I wasn't even aware I was making. It gives me a more realistic view of what I'm eating and shows me the choices I'm making, and allows me the chance to make better ones.

A poster above talked about not wanting to have to "write everything down" (and I really get that, and she doesn't need to and has been quite successful w/out it) but I "type everything down" lickity split, no sweat, on my desktop log. Doesn't take much time at all, even w/googling for carbs and calories.

What's more, I've come to actually look forward to it, at least on a good day. And yeah, there is the occasional day I know my log is going to put me in the naughty chair, but hey, as Scarlett O'Hara would say---"tomorrow's another day."

Information is power for me in all parts of my life, this one included.
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:56 PM   #26
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One of the reasons I'm switching over to low carb is because I found tracking unbelievably tedious. I like to do it once and a while for curiosity, but can't maintain it daily.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:34 PM   #27
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Good posts, trish and Blue Skies. You both hit on a number of important issues.

1. "Feelings" vs. reality. I decided that "feelings" about food and eating could not be a priority for me--not in weight loss and not in two and a half years at a steady maintenance weight. Protecting myself from my own "feelings" about my weight is what allowed me to gain so much, and not really see it or do anything serious about it.

I don't believe most of us will eat to a thinner weight if we go by our feelings. Personally, I dislike the commonly used phrases "Moderation in all things!" and "Listen to your body!" because the former is pretty much saying, "permission in all things!", which to me is just loosey-goosey, and the latter is assuming my body possesses its own intelligence and can "want" things and "ask" for things and "tell me" what it "wants"--a concept I don't entertain.

2. Rationally deciding that a little time and effort is worth a lot of payoff. Blue Skies said:

Quote:
A poster above talked about not wanting to have to "write everything down" (and I really get that, and she doesn't need to and has been quite successful w/out it) but I "type everything down" lickity split, no sweat, on my desktop log. Doesn't take much time at all, even w/googling for carbs and calories.
I agree. It takes time to do anything we choose to do. It takes time to drive through fast food places, it takes time to watch TV. It takes time to post here. It does not take more time than those things to log our food using a simple online program or a handwritten notebook.


3. "Information is power". Blue Skies said it, and trish expanded on this quite a bit and I agree with both of them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, you two. I really like both of your attitudes.
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:55 AM   #28
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Quote:
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I had to track a lot in the beginning to learn patterns and figure out how to eat properly. I have slacked off on the tracking and weighing myself. But I am at maintenance level now so maybe the rules are different. I am trying to learn portion control and how not to overeat.
Same here for the most part. I'm not in maintenance yet, but tracking was much more important in the beginning. Now if I go a day or two without putting anything in I don't worry about it too much because I have a pretty good idea of what I ate those days and know that I was under my limit. However, if I'm eating something new I ALWAYS put it in, or if I know I'm going to be having a carb heavier day (going out with friends) I'll keep very close track to make sure I don't go over.

Additionally, I weigh daily and input that into the tracker. While I don't live and die by the number on the scale, like many here have found, by doing so I'm able to see a pattern to my weight loss over time and therefore don't stress when the number itself fluctuates as I know there is an overall downward trend. Recently, I've started measuring weekly and taking weekly photographs (something I REALLY wish I had started doing in the beginning). I want a visual record to remind me of my progress for when I do get bogged down by the number on the scale, or just don't feel like I've made any progress whatsoever.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best on your journey to a healthier, more alive you!

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Old 05-10-2013, 06:37 AM   #29
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I'm so curious about how you fit intuitive eating into your NK and IF lifestyle. I also do NK and IF and I really like the idea of intuitive eating, but it's hard to see a way to factor that in. Also, is there a book on intuitive eating that you like?
Well, I'm not one of the precision-based NK people... not weighing/measuring my food takes that off the table. I did weigh/measure everything for a few painful weeks to get a solid idea of how much protein I need (much less than I was eating before) and now it's just a matter of making sure I eat that amount (no more, no less) and then filling in the rest of my calories with primarily fat.

NK works great with IF because it suppresses appetite. It's a natural fit for me because I'm not a breakfast eater. Now that I'm doing HF/MP/LC, I'm generally not hungry until around 2pm.

Intuitive eating is a process. When I'm not eating carbs I don't crave them, so high-carb foods aren't part of my WOE. With my version of intuitive eating, I mostly focus on my hunger levels -- eating when I'm hungry (and ONLY when I'm hungry) and stopping when I'm (almost) full.

Quote:
Interesting - because not tracking tends to trigger binges for me.
It's interesting how we're all different, isn't it?
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:19 AM   #30
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I track both food and weight every day. But then, I've tracked my food every day for many years, even when I was gaining my weight after finally breaking down from years of torturous, low calorie eating. It's reflexive after all this time.

I do weigh and measure off and on just to make sure I'm not getting too "generous" with portions and, therefore, tracking incorrectly. But I mostly trust my eyeballs at this point. After all, I was right when when I tracked my weight gain, as painful as that was, so I'm probably right now.

Until this regime I did not weigh myself very often and managed to maintain quite nicely for a couple of decades simply by how my clothes fit me. Now, I feel the need to stay on top of the daily fluctuations, but obviously I don't think it's necessary for everyone.

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