“It’s tedious and time-consuming. It tethers you to your phone or computer and can trigger anxiety and obsessive behavior in people who get overly hung up on numbers. Yet research repeatedly demonstrates that people who keep food journals are more successful at weight loss and weight loss maintenance than those who don’t.” ~Tamara Grand, FitNitChick.com
Listen. If you’ve been reading my stuff for long, you know that I pretty much tell it like it is. With that being said, you’ll know where I’m going with this.
There are some things we have to do if we want to meet certain goals in our lives. And sometimes, those things aren’t fun, at first, but once you get moving, you realize they’re totally worth your time.
The good news is that you can do it, and even if you’re lazy and don’t like to feel uncomfortable (like MOI), you can STILL do it.
The Harsh Truth About Food Tracking: It’s a Pain in the Ass.
So yeah. Tracking your food is TRULY a huge pain in the ass. I’m not gonna lie.
But if you can do it for a month, you can do it for six months.
And often times, if you do it for six months, you don’t have to keep doing it all the time. That’s because you can train your brain to actually WANT to eat healthier foods and in healthier ways. I swear.
Here are some super simple food tracking hacks that will help you make it happen, too.
Food Track-Hack #1: No Cheating (At First)
I had to be very strict about tracking during the beginning in order to lose the weight.
I had to track LITERALLY every single day for at least six months before I felt like I was ready to try going track free.
I tracked every single thing I put in my mouth–even if it was just a handful of peanuts or a bite of a cookie. It mattered, and it changed my life.
Food Track-Hack #2: Okay, Cheat a Little (Within Reason)
Some people do well with a “cheat day” each week, others need two. My suggestion is to do one or less “days” of “freedom” at first.
Instead, I suggest a “cheat meal” option or a “cheat dessert” option once a week.
For me, the Weight Watchers bonus points (aka cheat within reason option) made it easier to understand what an appropriate amount of cheating looked like, and tracking taught me how to eat right and still live in the “real world.”
But even when you cheat, you should still track every single thing you eat. It will help to know exactly what kind of damage you’re doing–in more ways than one.
Food Track-Hack #3: Why Tracking Is Seriously Worth the Trouble
Look, I know what you’re thinking. Tracking food? Boring, waste of time, annoying, restrictive, waste of energy–doesn’t work anyway. Right?
Wrong. So wrong. And trust me, I know what I’m talking about – I learned it the hard way.
For me, tracking everything I ate and drank was a pain at first and felt really restrictive, but that short period of restriction ultimately led to freedom.
It will be for you too, I promise–so just do it! It is WORTH it. Now I get to wear stuff like this. Way more fun. 🙂
Food Track-Hack Tip #4: Find Your Inner Gamer (Dig Deep If You Gotta)
So listen, I’m not a gamer. Honestly. But tracking sort of became a game to me, eventually. I actually (don’t tell anyone) sort of had fun with it.
I wanted to see how much I could eat while still staying within my points allowance, so I’d figure out different menu options and play with the numbers until I had the most satisfying options possible. Give it a shot!
And Freedom From Food Tracking Looks Like This
These days, I don’t track on a daily basis. But through tracking, I learned what portion sizes are healthier, which small adjustments to which dishes can reduce your fat and calories but still retain the flavor and more.
But the biggest and most important thing that six months of tracking my food helped me to learn was how to listen to my own body’s cues.
Now, I just eat what I want and nothing more or less. I pay attention to my body and feed it what it wants–and nothing else.
How the Food Tracking-Game Changed My World
Within the confines of my little game, I naturally leaned toward healthier foods. Fruits and veggies were mostly free–so I could eat a HUGE and awesome salad with a few ounces of chicken and a couple tablespoons of dressing for seven or eight points, max.
This kind of game-playing led to a change in my taste preferences. Eating greasy, cheesy, creamy, fried or otherwise bad-for-me foods suddenly became less attractive.
Now, I wanted fresh, cleaner-tasting stuff.
These days, I am able to literally eat anything I want, simply by eating healthy MOST of the time and by allowing myself to indulge on occasion.
And since I’m still working on getting those last few pounds off, I am still keeping an eye on my scale. If I notice that I plateau for too long or even gain a pound or two, I’ll go back to tracking for a few weeks so I can regain balance.
I promise, tracking your food doesn’t have to (totally) suck. You might be surprised to find out how much (or how little) you’re really eating and how small changes in your choices can lead to big changes in your health.
Do you track your food? Have you in the past, or will you start food tracking now? Have tracking tips that worked for you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
If you worry about the effect of modern living on your waistline, you may want to try eating like your ancestors. That’s the theory behind the Paleo diet, which goes back to a time before agriculture when humans were still hunters and gatherers.
More than 10,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Era, life expectancy was only about 25 years, but there was a very low prevalence of obesity. While the research on the Paleo diet is limited, most experts agree that this lifestyle has both pros and cons. These tips will help you navigate this unique diet.
Following a Paleo Diet
Eliminate junk food. Movie theaters didn’t serve popcorn in the Stone Age. In fact, movie theaters weren’t in existence. Getting rid of refined sugar and carbohydrates may be the most challenging and beneficial aspect of the Paleo diet.
Cut back on salt. Most Americans eat too much salt, and the biggest culprit is processed foods. You’ll easily stay under the limit with this diet.
Consume more produce. Another healthy thing about this regimen is the emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Most advocates of the Paleo diet extend plenty of leeway for super foods like broccoli and kale since they’re close to the wild versions of long ago.
Select lean meats and fish. It’s easy to go overboard eating this much meat. Have fish for breakfast and shop for strip steak and extra lean ground turkey.
Get your Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies are possible if you forego all dairy products and fortified cereals. Spend time in the sunshine or take Vitamin D supplements so that your body can still perform important functions, such as protecting your bones.
Exercise. Even if your day job and mortgage rule out the option of becoming a nomad, you can shake up your sedentary life. Join a gym or ride your bike to the office.
Live a greener life. Lots of people rave about the Paleo diet because it helps them feel more connected to nature. You’re also likely to produce less garbage when your food doesn’t come in individual packages.
Balance your macronutrients. Overall, there are significant discrepancies between the Paleo diet and government recommendations. Going Paleo is a little high in fat and protein and extremely low in carbohydrates.
Add in dairy products. To get more calcium and Vitamin D, some people continue eating foods in the dairy category. Low-fat and non-fat products may help you lose weight too.
Decide on grains. Likewise, you may choose to keep room in your life for whole grains. There’s a big distinction between brown rice and white rice when it comes to nutritional value.
Schedule cheat days.If eliminating whole food groups and eating less than half the daily recommendation for carbohydrates raises doubts for you, you can make additional adjustments. Take one or two days off each week and eat with fewer restrictions. Or pick one meal a day that isn’t Paleo. For example, you can serve oatmeal for breakfast each day.
Draw up a budget. Even if your body is on board for a strict Paleo diet, you may find that it can become expensive. Filling your cart with fresh produce, fish, and meat can lead to big grocery bills. Try growing your own vegetables and keep an eye out for sales.
You can learn a lot from a caveman. Consuming less junk food and more fiber is bound to be good for you. Modify the Paleo diet to suit your individual needs and talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Have you tried the Paleo diet? What was your experience? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section, below!
Feeling overwhelmed with your own weight loss efforts (or lack thereof)? Don’t – because you don’t have to – I already did it for you and figured out the whole deal – so instead, check out my book Project Blissful in which I detail how I went from a very unhealthy and unhappy size 24 to a much happier and healthier size 6. – and just FYI – while the book costs less than $3, I promise there’s nothing in it that requires you to buy a bunch of stuff – but there is every single secret that I used and learned while I lost more than 100 pounds, as you can see in the photo here.
By Amy Lippman, Certified Holistic Health Counselor
When you think about feeding yourself, you likely think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Of course these meals are important, but I actually believe that what is equally important is how you feed or nourish yourself with things other than food.
In our society, we look to food to fill many needs such as entertainment, companionship, relaxation, and celebration. Do you find that you grab a bag of chips to entertain you at night? Do you use chocolate to help you relax? How about ordering a pizza and a pint of ice cream for some companionship?
Trust me, you’re not alone. This is a major area in which my clients come to me for support. Working on this often involves changing habits we’ve had for most of our life, so it’s not always an easy thing to do.
I also struggle with this at times. A few weeks ago I was looking for a way to celebrate my accomplishments. I kept thinking about going out to dinner or getting a treat like ice cream.
Then I realized I would be sabotaging my health if I always used food to celebrate my success. I turned my mind to some non-food things such as buying fresh flowers, taking a bath, or getting a massage.
The benefits of choosing these things is that they truly nourish me, they are guilt-free, and the positive effects last longer than an ice cream cone.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there’s always a time and place for pizza and chocolate. That being said, I have found that food becomes less important when we nourish ourselves with things other than food. Not only that, but we become happier and more fulfilled with life.
What can you do to start nourishing yourself with things other than food? I recommend making a list of things that are fun and relaxing for you. Include things that only take 15 minutes as well as things that take a couple of hours.
Include activities that you do alone or with others. They can be free or cost money. I find it helps to have variety in your list.
Once you have your list, add in one fun and relaxing activity each day. I find it helps to schedule things on my calendar in advance, so I don’t forget. Try committing to this for one week and see how it feels. Your first step towards reaching your goals is to get support.
Amy Lippmann, H.H.C., AADP
Certified Holistic Health Counselor
Coaching for Whole Body Wellness
2008 Amy Lippmann, LLC. All Rights Reserved..
About the Author: Amy Lippmann, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, is founder of the Whole Body Wellness System™, the proven step-by-step program achieve your health goals and feel more confident in your body. To receive your freebie audio and sign up for her bi-weekly recipes and articles, visit www.WellnessHealthCoaching.com.
Amy Lippmann is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor with a private health and lifestyle coaching practice. She works with women who are tired of continuously feeling bad about their health and struggle with feeling good in their body, energy level, cravings, and would like to figure out how to be healthy and take good care of themselves. What makes her services unique is that she not only provides guidance, but also a level of support her clients have never had before. And because of this, Amy’s clients make lasting lifestyle changes, get peace and freedom around food so they can stop beating themselves up, and they enjoy life more.