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Old 01-02-2014, 08:22 AM   #1
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Tracking/Food Journaling etc.

Hello everyone! This is my second go round on a low carb diet. The first time I tracked everything (calories, fat, carbs etc.) using an online tracker religiously--almost obsessively. I was very successful but once I had lost the weight and was trying to maintain, I stopped tracking.

Well now I'm up MUCH MORE weight and starting all over. I do not want to track my food because I don't want to have to do it for my entire life.

What works for you? Do you track? Not track? People in maintenance do you still track?
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:28 AM   #2
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I don't track my food. I know what I can and can't eat to stay within my food guidelines (<20g carbs, ~120g protein), so I just eat that. Every so often, like once a month or even less, I may input a meal or a day's worth of food into my app, just out of curiosity.

I do weigh daily, measure monthly, get my body fat tested hydrostatically every four months, and chart all the results. That helps me understand my body and its rhythms and how it loses fat.

Food though? I don't bother. I find it cumbersome and not particularly helpful.

Other people find it incredibly helpful. Do what works for you.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:34 AM   #3
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Interesting. I hadn't thought of keeping track of my weight and body fat and using that as more of a guide. I think my falling off the wagon was a result of not weighing myself... ever! Thanks for the advice!
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ntombi View Post
I don't track my food. I know what I can and can't eat to stay within my food guidelines (<20g carbs, ~120g protein), so I just eat that. Every so often, like once a month or even less, I may input a meal or a day's worth of food into my app, just out of curiosity.

I do weigh daily, measure monthly, get my body fat tested hydrostatically every four months, and chart all the results. That helps me understand my body and its rhythms and how it loses fat.

Food though? I don't bother. I find it cumbersome and not particularly helpful.

Other people find it incredibly helpful. Do what works for you.
Pretty much the same here. In the beginning I tracked what I was eating religiously, but at this point I've got a pretty good idea of what I should and should not be eating. If I'm trying something new I'll put it in to make sure it doesn't have more carbs than I think it does.

Other than that, I weigh daily, and as long as I'm moving in a downward direction (slowly but surely in my case) I don't spend too much time worrying about it. If I notice my weight is slowly creeping up, I'll look at what I've been eating to find the culprit.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:39 AM   #5
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I track and keep an observation journal. Works great. I did not keep it consistent previous attempts and failed miserably each time. To each their own..
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:51 AM   #6
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I tracked for months, and then stopped because I knew the values of the foods I was eating, and felt I could do it my head. But my weight loss has slowed down in the last couple of months, so I'm back at tracking.

What I've found is that I wasn't including everything I ate in my head, and not being true to the amounts. I found a good tracker that is less generous than I was being with myself, LOL. I also like to use it as a "goal" tool, where I can fill in what I HOPE I eat for the day, and if I don't make that, I change it. But for me, it's nice to be able to visualize what a good day will look like at the beginning of the day, and it helps me plan for the day ahead.

Don't think about whether I'll do it forever, just now, and then we'll see, according to need.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:53 AM   #7
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I still enter my menus in an online tracker 4 days a week, sometimes 5. If I am traveling or on vacation or eating at restaurants, I don't try to estimate or track but I just eat normal foods in normal portions.

I don't feel it's obsessive or inconvenient. We can make these things anxiety-producing or not. All I know for sure is, avoiding weighing myself and having negative attitudes about "being on a diet", counting calories, tracking my food, etc. did a great job of letting me stay heavy for too long. Once I realized I was creating this fear about becoming obsessed, and saw it for what it was, I was willing to admit that being unhappy with my weight every day was its own form of obsession and that was causing the true anxiety.

It takes very little time and effort to enter my food for the day. Then it's done. I could see where, if someone were constantly going back to her journal or tracking website throughout the day, worrying about ratios and target grams and calories, she might feel obsessive. But you don't have to do that. You can just plan your food and eat your food and that's that.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:22 AM   #8
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I should clarify: when I say normal foods in normal portions for non-tracking days, I don't mean standard American diet, high-carb foods. I mean the same things I would typically eat, like steak and subbing a side of veggies for the starch, or an omelet without any potatoes or toast on the side. It's just that I don't know if they are using 3 eggs, 4 eggs, an ounce of cheese or two ounces of cheese, how much salad dressing, etc. so I don't bother trying to guess.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:41 AM   #9
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It really does depend on what works for the person. Some people couldn't hear the roller coaster of weighing daily, but that doesn't bother me a bit; I find it fascinating and helpful. It does annoy me to track and enter my food daily. Whatever works.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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I tracked and measured everything. I weighed daily at the same time but only recorded it on my spreadsheet weekly.

I don’t track now but absolutely would if I started gaining again. When I’m up a few lbs. now it’s because I’m not measuring or watching portions. 8 oz. of wine will slowly become 12, 2 TBLS of dressing will become a “glug.” I think that we all can way underestimate how much actually goes into our mouths. And we tend to way overestimate how much we think we burn from exercise.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:27 AM   #11
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IMO, not weighing is much more 'dangerous' than not tracking. If you weigh regularly (weekly for me), you'll know when you need to check on how you've been eating. In my obese past, avoiding the scale caused me the most problems.

Personally, I weigh and track, and have done so throughout weight loss and 3 years of maintenance. But I've never used a 'tracker.' I check carb/calorie counts online (by now I know the values of most of the foods I eat) and plan my day's eating in advance.

It's not any burden. It has become as natural to me as brushing my teeth and showering. Like Peanutte, if I'm at a restaurant and/or traveling (as I will be next week), I eat as closely as possible to how I usually do (omit bread and starches, e.g.), but I realize that I can't know exactly what's involved. It's never caused me any problems.

Last edited by Leo41; 01-02-2014 at 11:28 AM..
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
It really does depend on what works for the person. Some people couldn't hear the roller coaster of weighing daily, but that doesn't bother me a bit; I find it fascinating and helpful. It does annoy me to track and enter my food daily. Whatever works.
I agree that whatever works, works. And I don't expect everyone to find the same tools as useful as others. The main things I was trying to share were: I don't track my food every single day, so it doesn't have to be some all-or-nothing practice to get obsessed with. And also that I had some strong opinions about things I was sure I didn't want to do, but ended up finding those things helpful. I just think that if we look at past attempts and can plainly see what we stopped doing or refused to do, it's worth some consideration.
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:33 PM   #13
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Hi! I used to keep count when I first started, but then lost interest in that quick. Luckily for me that by then I pretty much knew what I could and could not eat and how my body would react. I am in maintenance right now. I weigh every day! I have always been an obsessive weigher. I know if I am up a pound it could be that time of the month, (tmi sorry) or maybe something I ate that I am not used to. Usually at this stage I am at its water weight. I don't cheat with breads and pasta and if I do its very rare. Best of luck to you~
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:59 PM   #14
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I track my weight and food daily. I tried to take some time away from that habit and it only lasted a few days. It provides data and I like that!
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:26 PM   #15
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I dont track anything. All I do is count my NC. If I'm hungry, I eat. I couldnt tell you a single "ratio" or calorie on any given day. I know what foods are acceptable, and thats all I need to know.

And I feel the exact same way..I dont want to track my food forever. But many people seem to enjoy it. Just do what works best for you!
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:44 PM   #16
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I keep a rough tally of what I've eaten for the day, but I don't keep track of the fat/protein/ratio. I'm basically just eating low carb foods-no sugar or starches. I also record my weight daily.
I was much more obsessive the first time I did Atkins-I recorded every bite on an online calculator. But now I know what I can eat and still lose, so I'm a lot more relaxed about it.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:45 PM   #17
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I have to weigh regularly....when I stop its because Ive let go of eating...weekly is as obsessive as I get...when I checked the daily weighers thread I got dizzy..LOL...I get there are fluctuations...but daily ones would drive me nuts...trust me its a short drive...

I record my food...here or on another site...I do plan my food ahead..so I don't get caught without a plan...in maintenance I don't record....by then I usually eat pretty usual things...same breakfast choices...(3-4 rotated) lunch: 3=4 rotated..eating out meat and salad...food isn't all that interesting...fun and people are..

when I stop weighing and /or stop exercising...Im sliding fast.. I don't record carbs or calories...Ive done this so long for me its irrelevant at some point..the tracking I mean..I know the carb counts of so many things its embarrassing LOL..

when I maintained for 7 or so years..I didn't record during that time ( but if anyone wouldhave asked I probably could have accurately told them the answer...I slid the first time with a move to a completely different state...from tropical to dark winter of the Midwest...from exercising 5 times a week to barely getting out in the winter...slid the next time after a big move from Midwest to southwest...yeah I see a trend here
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:07 PM   #18
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I have more or less maintained for about 8 years now and I still weigh and track my food most days. Like others here, I don't bother if I'm travelling or eating out. I think it doesn't seem bothersome to me because I'm at my computer most of the day so it's easy for me to just jump over to the tracking site and input the info. If it took a lot of effort I don't know that I would have kept it up.

What's interesting is that when I have gone for a week or two without tracking I inevitably start eating more. I don't know exactly why but for me it seems to be important to literally count the carbs. I realize that for others that's not relevant at all.

I suspect the important thing is to use something to keep yourself accountable whether it's the scale, the measurements, the food tracking or maybe just a well fitting pair of jeans. It would be nice to think we could just lose weight and keep it off without having to think about it but I'd guess it's a rare person who is able to do that. I sure am not one of them.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locarbarella View Post
I have more or less maintained for about 8 years now and I still weigh and track my food most days. Like others here, I don't bother if I'm travelling or eating out. I think it doesn't seem bothersome to me because I'm at my computer most of the day so it's easy for me to just jump over to the tracking site and input the info. If it took a lot of effort I don't know that I would have kept it up.

What's interesting is that when I have gone for a week or two without tracking I inevitably start eating more. I don't know exactly why but for me it seems to be important to literally count the carbs. I realize that for others that's not relevant at all.

I suspect the important thing is to use something to keep yourself accountable whether it's the scale, the measurements, the food tracking or maybe just a well fitting pair of jeans. It would be nice to think we could just lose weight and keep it off without having to think about it but I'd guess it's a rare person who is able to do that. I sure am not one of them.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:19 AM   #20
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I have a journal on here. I put in it everyday what I eat. I also write in there my emotions, ups and downs. Things surrounding my life. You never truly know what your triggers are until you see them written down. If I am homebound (like right now) I put down everything I eat. If I am on the run, I put down everything I eat. It keeps me accountable. I weigh and measure weekly. I put new recipes in there that I find, or even that I write. It is all right there for me to skim through.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:57 PM   #21
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I track everything. Anything that goes in my mouth is written in my food journal. It has become a way of life for me. No exceptions. If I am out with a group of friends, I will write in my journal as soon as I can. For me journaling is accountability.
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