Thursday, June 8, 2017

Good Hair, Good Outfit and Good Weightloss: How I Didn't Hate Tracking My Food

This time last week, I was a Debbie Downer. I did my May progress post and I had to work really, really hard to find something good to say. Not really how you want to end a month. But this week, it's been a good week!

I posted this on Instagram yesterday.

Kimono: LulaRoe Lindsay Kimono S/ Top: LulaRoe Classic M/ Pants: Vince Camuto Leggings L/Earrings: Premier Designs
My hair has been doing awesome lately, so I decided it needed to be documented. I pretty much let it do what it wants. I do roughly the same thing to my hair, except when I feel fancy and I scrunch it. Other than that, I use mousse and blow dry with a round brush. However it comes out, is how it feels that day. And apparently this week, we're feeling good.  I also got a little inspired watching all my LulaRoe Facebook live sales and came up with this cute outfit. I felt good yesterday. And here's why.

Those 5 pounds I gained last month? I lost most of them this week.

Literally, between last Thursday and today, I've lost 3.5 pounds. I actually had lost all five as of Wednesday morning, then 1.5 of them came back. But still - 3.5! I didn't do anything new or different on my diet except this: I tracked my food.

Insert eye rolling emoji face.

There is no one that hates food tracking more than I do. I did Weight Watchers for years. I know that tracking works, but I hate it! It's just one more thing to add to an already busy day. But, I also really can't argue with 3.5 pounds in a week! And let me tell you, I ate.  In fact, I'll post one of my days here:

I eat a lot of calories in a day. But I also work out 5-6 times a week and do at least 400 calories each class, sometimes up to 1,000 calories (I did that Tuesday night). There is a sweet spot between too many and not enough calories. I'll talk about that in tomorrow's post. But today is about how to not hate tracking your food!

These are my tried and true (we're talking since Weight Watcher days!) tips for tracking your food.

1. Load it all in at once.
I load in all my calories in the morning. I meal plan each weekend (takes me about an hour), so I already know what I'm having for breakfast, lunch, dinner and my snacks.  I load in everything that I am taking with me that day. I'm generally right on the line with those calories, sometimes a little over.  I almost always get extra food calories, sometimes a lot, due to my activity level. Whatever I don't eat at the end of the day (aka, whatever is still in my lunch bag when I get home), I just take off.

2. Meal plan ahead of time.
Number one can't happen if you haven't meal planned. There's this annoying saying that is oh so very true, "Fail to plan, plan to fail." If you don't meal plan, you are going to be grabbing whatever is closest to you or quickest, which are generally not your best options. I always have good meals that I enjoy making and eating and snacks that I like and satisfy my cravings.  By doing that, I know I'm going to eat what I have and not want something else. If my Lean Cuisine days taught me nothing else, they taught me to always do meals you actually want to eat. Otherwise, McDonald's will always look better.

3. Be honest about your calorie intake.
That sounds simple, but it's not. Most fitness or food tracking apps are only going to be as useful as you are honest with yourself. The more active you are, the more calories you get to eat, because you're burning more calories during the day. Don't say you're active when you mostly sit at a desk all day (ahem - 25 year old Sarah, I'm looking at you). And you can also eat too few calories. Eating only 1200 calories a day while working out like a mad woman is just going to make you hangry all. the. time (ahem - 30 year old Sarah, I'm looking at you). Your body will also hoard calories. When you're setting your calorie goals, be honest. How much do you actually weigh (I've lied to myself about that, too)? How active are you? It's okay to not be that active, you just need to be honest with yourself.  If you're honest about yourself, you'll find that your calories are actually pretty easy to stay within.

4. Stop buying diet and low-fat foods.
This sounds like it has nothing to do with tracking, but it does. It really does. I ate a ton of low-fat and diet snacks when I did Weight Watchers. This was before they changed it up and really encouraged eating a ton of fruits and veggies. It was all about your points and you could eat whatever you wanted, as long as you stayed within your points. And I did. And I was hungry all the time and hated tracking because I felt like I didn't get enough to eat. That's because I wasn't actually eating real food. I was eating chemicals and air. At least that's what my body got out of it. Whole 30 taught me how to eat. My meals average about 450-500 calories, more than what I did before. But I don't really snack all that much, either. I'm not hungry that often and when I am, it's almost always after a workout (cause it's 8 PM and I haven't had dinner). Eating good foods helps you with your tracking. By eating better food, you're snacking less and are more satisfied. Your body has what it needs and you're less likely to eat crap.

5. Realize tracking isn't the answer.
Yes, I'm talking about how tracking has helped me get back on track. But did I magically lose 3.5 pounds just because I tracked my food? No. I lost weight this week because I realized how many calories are in my Cookout trays (dear Lord it was bad) and was super careful the rest of the weekend. You'll have really good days when you lose 2 pounds in a day and you'll have days like today, where I gained 1.5 pounds back. Tracking is just a tool. One of many. When you realize that it's not going to make or break you, just help you, it doesn't seem quite as daunting. Back in Weight Watcher days, I honestly would have gotten really upset with today and wondered what all I did wrong. Now? I just realize it's my body and bodies fluctuate.  

Tracking is not the devil.  I've found that it actually goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. You could even load all of your calories for the week when you're meal planning and adjust from there! I literally just had that light bulb of a moment, ha! If you've hit a plateau, try tracking your food for a week. Not to diet, just to help you get an idea of what you are actually eating.  Tomorrow, I'll go over what I learned just from tracking my food for one week (including a weekend with Cookout and an actual cook out) and what healthy calories look like!

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