100 lb. Club - Food Logs

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08-26-2013, 02:00 PM
Hi all - I have a question about food logs. I know I should keep one, but I don't know how. Do you keep a pad and pen with you at all times, and write everything you eat? Do you write it down before you eat it or after? And most importantly, how do you force yourself to be honest?

I've tried in the past, it works for about 3 days, then I start leaving things out, and then I completely stop.

I need so much help.

Any ideas on how to do the logging so it sticks? Thanks.

08-26-2013, 02:15 PM
I use my fitness pall (it's an app) on my iPhone.
I write down everything as I eat it otherwise I forget.

08-26-2013, 02:54 PM
I keep it very simple. Xcel spreadsheet

08-26-2013, 02:59 PM
I also use MyFitnessPal and add things as I eat them, or if I make my lunch at home and there is a lot of stuff to weigh/measure, I enter the info ahead of time. I have the app on my phone, tablet and desktop so its usually no big deal to enter things on the fly.
As for being honest - if you're not going to be honest with yourself, why bother tracking at all? Your food log isn't for anyone but you, even if you choose to have it open for others to see. Sometimes it is hard to see - like, I just ate a club sandwich and fries for lunch (unplanned!) and now I have only 186 calories left for dinner, unless I get my butt moving and earn some calories to eat back - but I have found it to be tremendously helpful.
Good luck to you!

08-26-2013, 03:22 PM
I write it out before, so my day is planned before it starts. I find it impossible to just "wing it" or I'd end up with too many or too few calories by the end of the day.

08-26-2013, 03:24 PM
In the Dark Ages, I used to measure everything out and check the calories, then I would keep a running calorie count on a post-it pad that I left in the kitchen on top of the bread box. I was a teenager, so my parents liked that they could check it and make sure I was actually eating. It was easy.

Now I use MyFitnessPal. I plan every single meal as much as possible, so I enter the calories as I prepare my food. I am not hungry when I first wake up, so I pack both breakfast and lunch for work. I enter these the night before when I'm packing, then I enter my 2 light snacks. Then I plan tomorrow's dinner based on what I have left to work with. It's a grind, but it's working for me.

As far as "forcing" myself to be honest...well, if I can't even be honest with myself, then what's the whole point? If I feel the urge to "tweak" an entry to make the numbers look better, I know that that means I need to either do better the next day about my eating, or I need to evaluate whether my dieting has gotten too strict to be realistic.

08-26-2013, 04:48 PM
I bought a pretty weekly planner at Barnes & Noble, and found a pen with purple ink to write in it. What can I say, I like pretty things! ;)

I started out just by writing down everything I ate as I went along each day, not even worrying about counting calories. Knowing I was going to write it down helped motivate me to make good decisions at each meal, including considerations of the nutrition and the portion sizes. I made sure I stayed honest and didn't give myself the option to skip over meals or leave things out. Writing it down was going to be pointless if I didn't include everything! I also enjoyed glancing back through the pages and taking a certain amount of pride in what I was accomplishing.

I eventually started using the same book to record my exercise, weekly weight record, vitamins/medication, and any information that felt important in my journey to better health. When a year passed, I'd lost over 50 pounds! And just before I finished out the book, I became pregnant! I chose to complete the book regardless simply to ensure that I'm making my health a priority, even though I can't concentrate on losing weight right now. Once it was filled I went out and bought another pretty book and plan on filling it too, and I plan on continuing writing in the planners indefinitely.

So I'd say do whatever feels comfortable for you, but make sure to find something that you can stick with in order for it to help, whether it's a journal, an app on your phone, a spreadsheet, whatever. :)

Good luck! :hug:

08-26-2013, 04:55 PM
I use an app called MyNetDiary. I find the lay out and design MUCH better than the one My Fitness Pal has. I honestly just scan items and I'm done. Also, I tend to eat the same things so after about a month, I had most of my foods entered in so all I had to do was type in the name (if no bar code), how much I ate and thats it. Once you get your "food library" done, it makes things a lot easier.

08-26-2013, 08:17 PM
I use a pretty Vera Bradley notebook to record my food for the day. The first few years I always recorded everything in the morning before I ate. These days I tend to write it down afterwards.

I do write down everything even if it's very off plan or not a great choice. My body and scale would still keep track even if I didn't!

Good luck with your journaling!

08-26-2013, 11:52 PM
Add me to the list of people using my fitness pal. I have the app on my phone and iPad. I love how easy it is and how much food they have in the database. Yes I log everything, even when I go crazy at the Mexican place down the street with the killer fajitas and cheese dip. It's not fun to see the numbers but that's life.

08-27-2013, 09:38 AM
I have used everything from a sheet of paper in my purse, to a pretty journal, to excell and now use MyPlate. Use anything that works for you.

I have struggled with the temptation to not write down everything I eat too. Now when I am tempted I remind myself that my body is counting the calories even if I don't record them. I try to look at my food log as data, not a gauge of if I am being good or bad.

08-27-2013, 11:04 AM
Also use my fitness pal! ( anyone feel free to add me, same name as on here )

Back in the day I used my daily plate, and LOVED that one, but they switched it all up and so I switched to my fitness pal

08-27-2013, 11:24 AM
Thanks for your help - Do you all think you would be as successful if you don't track? I know you're all right, my body is counting calories, points, whatever, even if I don't write it down.

I guess i'm old fashioned. I have tried fitness pal and it seems great. But it takes me so long to figure out how to get my information in the thing! I'll try getting a pretty book and pretty pen, maybe that will do the trick.

Thank you so much. This weight just makes me so sad. Thanks again.

08-27-2013, 12:43 PM
Do you all think you would be as successful if you don't track?

Easy question for me and my answer is no, because I have been there and done that.

For many years I resisted tracking and logging my food and I failed. In order to be successful at weight loss, there were just some things that I had to accept. One of them was that I had to weigh and measure my food and then record it. I just simply do not have the ability to judge portion control and total amount of food consumed without writing it down. Turns out that it was not so hard. I wish that I had accepted this at least 20 years ago.

08-27-2013, 12:59 PM
I definitely wouldn't be as successful if I didn't track; without doing so it's surprisingly easy to forget what I had for breakfast this morning or the snack I grabbed on the way back from the store. It also allows me to review how I've done for the week and what I can potentially improve upon if I've had an unexpected gain. :)

You obviously don't have to pick up a planner like I have (as any notebook will do), but be sure to check out the weeklies they have at Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/punctuate-2014?store=allproducts&keyword=punctuate+2014) and other places (check office supply stores as well as the old standbys like Walmart and Target). This is the one (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/2014-weekly-planner-6x8-midnight-butterfly-flexi-engagement-calendar-punctuate/1113760688?ean=9780594516361) I currently use; it's large enough to have the space needed to write everything in, and it's small enough to stash in my purse whenever I'm on the go. I love how it's already a calendar and has space in the back for any additional notes, and how the elastic keeps it closed in my purse and makes a decent spot to attach my pretty pen to. It's also got a little pocket in the back that I keep my weight tracker book in for my weekly meetings. :D

With school going back in session it's the perfect time to be shopping for this stuff. Good luck! :)

08-27-2013, 02:37 PM
Even the dollar store has pretty planners, and sometimes there are matching pens and folders and stuff so you can keep a stash of recipes and restaurant cheat cards with your planner.

I would have ZERO success if I quit logging. I very consistently lose or maintain when I log, and gain when I stop logging. As was mentioned, it's easy to forget that you grabbed a snack at the store or that you put milk in your coffee for a change. It also actually does help deter me from binging or from snacking while I'm waiting for dinner, if I know it's going to be a pain in the bum trying to log every little thing I ate. And I won't like the numbers I get.

Even if you fall into a good routine and decide you no longer feel the need to log, it's a good thing to do at least short term to make you really aware of what you've been eating. Making the numbers dance has helped me eat smaller portions of calorically dense foods, and more of the lighter items so I can be more sated on my calorie restriction.

One thing that some people do is to not their moods by each meal entry to get a grip on how their moods affect their food choices. I already know that answer (no real effect, I just like to eat) but I guess it helps some people.

08-27-2013, 03:52 PM
I must say that logging everything I eat has been a big help. Helps to look back at a time when you had a good run of losses to see what you got away from. Also helps when I have a day where I am hungry all day to look back and see that maybe I had not eaten enough the day before.
As for being honest, just do it! It will be worth it even if you have some days you have to face the truth that you ate way more than you needed.
I have just been logging on my word processor, but I like the idea of a pretty planner and pen:-)

08-27-2013, 05:09 PM
Logging everything helps a lot, both in keeping track of calorie counts and helping with meal planning. I log things with pen and a spiral notebook small enough to fit in my purse. When I come across a new recipe, I'll make a note on the bottom of the page saying if I liked it or if it's one to skip. That way, when I'm making my shopping list, I take my notebook out and flip through to see what meals I'd like to have again and plan my grocery list accordingly. It also helps to avoid two weeks of repeats, which I've been guilty of doing.

Jotting down a quick "how are you feeling" memo in the margins also makes me see when I reach for the higher calorie foods during stressful times/bad days/good days. Looking back on notes with "paid off car, celebrating!" or "crap day at work, OMG stressful!" or even "it's raining: feeling pretty blah" helps me to figure out any emotional triggers and how to deal with them in any other way besides food.

I've tried to keep track of calories online via myfitnesspal, but I'm horrible at remembering to transfer my food logs there.

08-27-2013, 05:32 PM
When I started out, I simply wrote everything down in a notebook. I didn't track calories, carbs or what have you, I simply wrote down what I ate with an approximation of how much, like I'd say - 2 slices PB toast w/ 1 glass milk. Just very simple. I needed to see how much I was eating at that point, not necessarily the quality of it. I started my 'diet' by looking at what I was eating and cutting it in half, basically. For example, instead of two bowls of cereal, I'd eat one. Eventually I started incorporating healthier foods and switched my focus from quantity to quality, which is when I started using myfitnesspal. I love it as it lets me know exactly where I am, covering everything I need to know.

08-27-2013, 10:13 PM
No I would not be successful if I didn't track. Tracking forces me to pay attention to what I'm eating, mostly portion control since I still eat the same foods I did before starting this. If I stopped logging I'm sure I would do ok for a few days but soon I'd stop thinking about it and start eating like I use to.

08-27-2013, 10:43 PM
All I can say is thank you! You are all so helpful, and generous with your tips and your successes.

You are right - I need to track. I need to keep tabs on what I eat, when I eat, and my mood when I eat.

Thank you!!

08-27-2013, 11:05 PM
I found logging weird and annoying in the beginning but honestly it became second nature very quickly.