Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dear Diary

Where are the stats? Uh...I need to go weigh in so stay tuned!

In this two-part post I've already talked about what has stopped me from logging in the past: 1) being lazy and 2) lacking motivation. Today I talk about my last hurdle to making logging a habit.

One missed meal...
    One forgotten food I ate remembered two days later...
        (THE WORST) NO way of knowing the nutrition values of what I just atewhat was in the farmer's market lumpia? Aunt Deb's candied pecans? What about anything gourmet or containing the word "gastrique" in the name? It's fantastic that you can scan bar codes now and that restaurants by law have to post their nutrition facts but it's the undocumented foods that make life worth living.

So how do I log it?
  • I find a match on MFP's (BIG) database. I find the closest match I can, then (most importantly) I overestimate the volume of what I ate then I log it. For example: if I ate what I estimate to be about 1 cup of my sweet stepmom's baked beans with bacon, then I find an equally rich sounding version on MFP then log 1 1/4 cups to be safe.
  • I log the whole by the sum of its parts. If it's a simple food or one I'm familiar with preparing but isn't showing up in the database I quickly log the ingredients I believe made up that food (e.g., avocado caprese, jalapeno honey butter, etc.).
  • I punt it. MFP has a "quick add calories" tool and allows you to simply add how many calories you are guessing a thing had in it, not worrying about what nutrients were in the food, just getting it in the diary. Sometimes it's what I need to move on with my day.
Pre-log your food. As a perfectionist it's easy to get obsessive about balancing your choices in a day. I know certain foods trigger binges and abstinence from that food is necessary. Other times, it's just a day breaker or makerif you are truly wrestling with eating something, log it first and see where that choice will take you. Thursday night I walked 13,000 steps and it allotted me about 250 extra calories. I'd been thinking about a certain brownie for HOURS so instead of continuing to obsess about how it would blow my diet, I logged it, saw it fell within my limits then I was able to enjoy a treat. #worthit

Overall it's a balancing act! I've erred on the side of not being specific enough with my logging. I've cheated. I played the eat-the-unhealthy-thing-then-log-the-healthiest-version-of-that-thing-on-MFP-I-can-find game and I promise it's a game you will lose every [clap] time [clap]. 

Your body keeps an accurate diary whether you do or not.

That said, logging imperfectly is better than not logging at all.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have any suggestions/tips from my readers who I pretty much assume are all smarter than I am.
What motivates you to log?
What tips or hacks do you have for MFP?
What actual foods help you stay on track and under calorie count for the day?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Loggin' Like a Lumberjack!

Current Weight: 320.8 lbs
Loss this week: 2.6 lbs
Loss in 2nd Round: 11.8 lbs

- Body Weight %age: 9%
Original Weight: 349 lbs 
Total Loss: 28.6 lbs 
FIXED IT! I said I would and I did, I lost my gain plus a little extra!

Pants are getting waaaaay more comfy as I pull them on in the morning (even right out of the wash) and rewears aren't really happening since they loosen up too much after one wear which means I'm heading into my normal size soon! Also noticing my front pooch is smoothing out and even on the hottest days my wedding rings slip comfortably on and off (unless I skip water drinking).

Today, wanted to share some insider tips about MyFitnessPal, a weight-loss tool I've been using for 10+ years now. Happy anniversary to us, MFP. Kisses.

Folks gain weight in different ways but for me, I gain because I easily lose control of which foods I put in my body and how much. MFP alleviates both these issues for me. Simply put, MFP gives me visibility to what happens to my body in a day. Sure, it tells me what I already know (who doesn't know what they eat in a day, right?) but the data helps me understand how my choices add up.
 So here are my tips for using this FREE tool no mater what your reason for not using it.
**Side note: no, this is not a sponsored post...I'm not that industrious, unfortunately. I just LOVE MFP!**

  • Use the bar scanner to skip typing in your food and just write how many servings you had.
  • Ate the same breakfast yesterday as you did today? You can copy a past meal for super easy logging.
  • Eat the same thing as a friend? Same thing, you can copy someone else's entry so long as you're friends on MFP and only one of you has to log (rock, paper, scissors for it).
  • MFP syncs with your step-tracking device so you don't have to enter your steps manually. (I know, slow clap, but it wasn't always this way, folks! Remember I've been at this for 10+ years.) So if you take a three-mile walk, it will give you back those calories in your “calories remaining” so if you want you can spend them or you can let the deficit take you on a one way trip to weight-loss land!
Breakfast this morning!
  • I love the MFP blog and it's well organized so you can quickly find recipes, exercise info, Victory Stories (under 'Inspiration" tab) (my fave), videos, and overall wellness tips. 
  •  Start small. Log your water OR log just one meal per day, that's how I started. I had an unhealthy/expensive coffee habit of high-calorie drink + pastry in the mornings. Logging showed me that some days I was consuming up to 600 calories before 8:00 a.m. leaving me hungry again at 10 o'clock for another substantial snack since my breakfast was so high in sugar and low on substance. Logging shed light on this and I now consume healthy, filling, 250-300 calorie breakfasts that keep me full all morning.
  • Bring or make friends! My friend Tiffany got me started way back when and she would check in every now and then to see how the logging was going and what started as begrudgingly tracking turned into a good habit. Also, there are A LOT of folks using this tool so ask around or do a friend search to connect with someone you know so you can encourage one another IRL or in MFP's commenting area. *BONUS* share your diary to add a layer of accountability AND to get meal ideas from others who share their diaries (I get GREAT ideas by reading my friends' logged food choices).

Fast Fact: Users who add friends on MFP are two times more likely to lose weight.

  • MFP has an awesome feature where at the end of each day you choose "complete entry" and it will show you something like this:
    This is what I saw after yesterday's logging, a normal day where I ate all my calories for the day (no more no less) and I can see that in five weeks I could be down 15.5 lbs. I mean holy crap! That is MOTIVATING! That means tomorrow I will wake up, tediously log all my foods, take my puppers for a walk and plan to dance around the living room with my daughter for 15 minutes instead of laying next to her on the floor while she plays. This is by far my favorite feature of MFP so be sure to ALWAYS hit "complete my entry" when you finish logging
    I have some more tips that have been majorly helpful in helping me lose but I'm going to save those until next week so stay tuned! Can you beat me to the punch? What tips do you have for using MFP? What's your favorite feature you've found?