Do you track your food? Do you use logging software or a paper journal to keep track of what you eat? Or do you eat a preplanned food regime? If not, you are missing out on the one skill that make all the difference in your nutrition.
Information is power. When you see your food laid out before you, you can see where to make changes, and what changes to make. This was hit home to me this weekend. We went to several social events, disrupting my normal eating habits. I logged the foods I ate at the parties as best I could, and the results spoke for themselves. My calorie count was way over, and my nutrition count was low. Some of that is due to poor record keeping, a journal is only as good as the solidity of the information entered. I’m not going to “make a recipe” for every mixed dish I eat out. I look up “coleslaw” and I’m at the mercy of the person who created that food in the data base. If all they entered were the calories, then that’s all I get, so it looks like I got no vitamins or minerals. I don’t panic when I see really bad numbers.
I also don’t panic when the calorie count is through the roof. My weight stays fairly constant, and I have noticed that while one week I may be 900 calories over, another I may be 500 under, and over the long haul it balances out. If you are trying to lose weight, you do have to be more concerned, but freaking out doesn’t change the past, you just get back on that horse and keep riding.
This weekend also pointed out how different healthy eating is than the “standard American diet”. Getting away from that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s one baby step after another. Skip sugar if possible. Avoid hot dogs. If white bread is the only thing available, skip it or eat half. Try new recipes. Learn how to cook brown rice. Try quinoa. Try new bean recipes. Forgo the Raman noodles. Find ways to put veggies in every meal. Cut the meat consumption in half. Cook fish. Etc. etc..
So what baby step can you make this week? If you are going to a picnic, have the chicken first, hamburger second, and avoid the hot dog or brat completely. (No, I don’t mean have both hamburger and chicken!) If you have the chicken, take either a breast or a leg, no one needs both! Skip the bread, it’s always white bread at these things, look for the green salad and fill your plate. Have seconds on the watermelon. Take an extremely small portion of the mayonnaise slathered salad and put it on top of your green salad. Drain as much sauce off of the baked beans as possible. Leave room on your plate so your food doesn’t touch, and eat very slowly. Drink a glass or two of water with your meal. Don’t stuff yourself, and don’t look at the desert area. What you can’t see can’t tempt you.
I would LOVE to hear either your success stories or your stories of change, trial and tribulation. Please comment and let me know how you are doing. Have you started logging? What app do you use, and how do you like it? I use myfitnesspal, but I’m trying to use fooducate and compare the two. It is a pain, logging isn’t always easy or convenient, and doing it twice for every meal is eye rollingly boring, but if one ends up being more accurate or easier, I’ll switch.