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?

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