Tracking food

I have food issues. I don’t like the fact that I have food issues, but there you have it… I have a mostly dysfunctional relationship with food.

I talked about this when I failed at my 21 day sugar detox here and you can read about it in The Whole Story.

Mostly my issues are that I have no concept of satiety (i.e. being full) and I LOOOOOOOVE food. So really it’s a miracle I’m not 400 pounds.

I am not 400 pounds because I work at it. I exercise regularly, I make most of my food from scratch, I eat the healthiest food possible and… when all else fails, I track my food.

Lot’s of people have different opinions on tracking food. Some people think that it is the only way to control weight, while others think that it’s a time consuming, soul sucking  activity that leaves you neurotic. Maybe it’s both?

I can maintain my weight if I don’t track my food, but I cannot lose weight. I think the main reason for this is that I will grab random handfuls of things if I am not tracking it.

The thought process goes like this:

“I’m a little hungry, but don’t feel like having a meal. I will just have a few almonds!”

*** walks to cupboard, grabs handful of almonds, sees raisins***

“oooo, raisins and nuts are like a trail mix type o’ thing, yup, happening”

*** grabs a handful of raisins and nuts, walks back to couch, nomnomnom***

15 minutes later…

“I haven’t had a real meal, but I’ve snacked so I’m not really hungry… let’s make popcorn”

Next thing you know, I have consumed 4 different “snack” items and no dinner and things get ridiculous. And yes, that is what my internal dialogue sounds like because I’m awesome.

If I am tracking my food the thought process goes like this:

“I am hungry, let’s have a snack! Wait, how many almonds are in an oz? how do I track 2 handfuls of raisins? ugh, that’s too much effort, I’ll make a proper meal that I can track better” – WIN!

So, for me tracking food stops the mindless eating because I have to actually thinks about the portion and the food and if there was a hidden ingredient in there etc. It FORCES mindful eating on me. It can be annoying from time to time, but for me it works. I use Spark People to track my food which I find is a decent tool though I know lot of people like my fitness pal or livestrong. It’s not for everyone, but I think a lot of people have found success through accountability with food journaling.

What have your experiences been with food trackers?

Short Term Goals

In general I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately there is a bit of a pendulum effect and the more strict you try to be the more you want to rebel against these restrictions. That’s why I maintain that you sort of have to “sneak up” on health changes.

 

I have been a little bad over the past few months. Not consistently bad. My eating and exercise are still probably 80% there, but the other 20% is way worse than it should be. I have been indulging in sweets and alcohol too often and my portion sizes seem to be creeping up along with the scale. I’ve tried to reaffirm my good habits with some goal settings, but I’ve been undisciplined for too long now. My will power has gotten a little lazy as of late.

 

So let’s take it back a notch. Baby steps.

 

Let’s do a daily and a weekly goal for now and just get that will power flexing again.

 

Goals for today:

 

Zero sugar – this includes raisins, which I have been indulging in, honey, maple syrup and artificial sweeteners (other than stevia)

 

Honey Comb

Honey Comb (Photo credit: beepollenhub)

 

Back workout – do 30 minutes of cardio and a full back workout right after work

 

Goals for the week:

 

No grains – I have been having popcorn too often because it’s a grain that is gluten free and I love it, so not allowing any grains this week will help kick that to the curb.

 

No dairy – my skin has been breaking out from all the dairy I’ve been consuming between the yogurt, the lattes, and the cheeses. No more!

 

Get in 4 workouts – I’ve been pretty consistent with at least 3 workouts per week, but I want to get in that extra one.

 

No alcohol – I don’t typically drink very often, but there seem to have been a few too many “occasions” recently.

 

The reason I am not making these overarching goals is because I won’t stick to it 100%, which is fine… usually. But I’m going off my plans a little too often so taking things day by day and week by week makes it way easier. I can commit to just about anything for a week… that’s only 7 days!

 

Next Monday I’ll let you know if I succeeded. 🙂

 

Resource Share

Today I realized that over the years of being involved with fitness and dieting and healthy lifestyles I have become somewhat addicted to research and motivation. This is especially apparent on the web. I have a whole host of websites I frequent either daily or at least weekly. These include blogs that I might have found through WordPress, other blogs that I have randomly stumbled across by like minded individuals, food sites, workout sites and fitness forums. I also have a collection of books and magazines that I turn to for motivation, inspiration and of course instruction.

I love this stuff! My boyfriend can vouch that way too many of my conversations revolve around what I heard or read today about fitness and health; I’m sorry and thank you for listening. But it occurred to me that even though I do this stuff non-stop, most people probably don’t know where to look for advice.

So here is a list of websites and resources I use ALL THE TIME! Check them out and let me know what resources you use and love too!

Websites

Bodybuilding.com – this is one of the best sites EVER, if you only use one resource, use this one because it has everything. The forum has just about every topic you could ever be curious about already there, discussed and laid out for you. When I was reacquainting myself with nutrition, macronutrients and how to structure a diet I start with their “sticky” on calories and macros. They also have so many resources to help you tailor workouts for your goals, get you started with a diet, teach you correct form for exercises. And yes they do sell supplements, but the site is SO MUCH MORE than that, and they really do not push the selling side of the business in your face if you are trying to use the other parts of the site.

Oxygen Magazine Online – don’t want to buy the magazine? ok, go to their website. They don’t put everything up there for free, but a lot of the workouts, recipes and diet tips are there, plus some really awesome videos of their cover girls. I love watching these and hearing the different approaches to living a fit lifestyle. I use this site for clean eating recipe inspirations too

Facebook and Twitter – Ok this is a bit of a cop out, but I “like” pretty much every website, supplement, athlete, or store I frequent so that updates and random motivation show up in my daily news feed. With Facebook you can now add pages you like to a specific feed so that its all in one place if you don’t want tonnes of health stuff cluttering up your news feed and want to keep it more for updates from friends (personally I like the health clutter, but it’s a neat option)

Chowstalker – recipes galore, all grain free, most are 100% paleo but can be modified to include ingredients like real milk if you swing that way

Blogs and People I love

Mark’s Daily Apple – Mark Sisson – Part blog, part website, part forum. Whatever you want to classify it as I like it. I like his approach to health. He accepts that you aren’t perfect but encourages you to make healthier choices. He should you the spectrum of choices available, gives you the info for all the levels of the spectrum and let’s you choose! Awesome. Technically he’s kind of a paleo diet type person, but he accepts that people are different and doesn’t preach that no one should drink milk, and beans are terrible for you. He just gives you the info and let’s you make up your own mind… he also tell you how to make these “less than ideal” choices the healthiest they can be, like fermenting the beans first or buying whole fat milk etc. Very cool.

Tosca Reno

Tosca Reno

Tosca Reno – Owner of RKP publishing which published Oxygen Magazine among others, author of the Eat Clean Diet books, Bikini Grandmaster champion and overall awesome woman. She has a lot of different social media outlets, but her blog is one I really like. It’s kind of puts the highlight real in one place and might link you to other cool blogs (like He and She Eat Clean) or recipes from the Clean Eating website or just talk about the fact that she hates “peak week” and shares the more human side of her. Love, LOVE, LOOOOOOOOVE!

Figure911Lisa MoskalukWicked figure competitors whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She tells it like it is and I love her workouts, even the ones that are craaaazy (which is all of them btw).

Erin Stern – She’s right at the top of her game with Nicole Wilkin’s and her battling it out, but I like Erin because she really interacts with her fans. Her facebook is always being updated with videos or workouts, not just links or random pictures. She is great!

Jamie Eason – While she’s emphasized religion a bit much for my taste she is so real! She talks about her choices and fluctuating diet and weight and admits her shortfalls (while being cue as a button the whole time). She’s the main spokesmodel for bodybuilding.com and was featured in Oxygen Magazine all the time.

Books and stuff

The Eat Clean Diet – all the books are great as well as the cookbooks, take it with a grain of salt and know that it’s not supposed to be a rigid diet, but a lifestyle.

Jamie Oliver’s Cookbooks – I love his cookbooks and usually just modify the recipes a little to make them a bit healthier. His way of roasting meat is THE BEST!

Oxygen Magazine – I read these on my way to work or while doing steady state cardio… so good, I really need to subscribe instead of buying them every month.

Confessions of a (former?) binge eater

Confession time people: I have been bingeing 😦 this is soooo bad. Like not as bad as I used to do, and not completely mindless shoving food in my face kind of thing, but definitely not “mindful eating”. In case you don’t know what that is, mindful eating is where you think about what you are eating, you savour your food and appreciate each bite. By doing this you are aware of how much you are eating, when you get full and whether you actually enjoyed your food. It’s both satisfying and effective to control portions.

In the last few days I have gone from portioning out my food super carefully, weighing and measuring everything, to plopping on the couch and eating ice cream straight from the tub. No I didn’t finish the tub in a sitting or anything crazy, but I don’t actually know how much I ate, nor was I doing my usual slow savouring of the ice cream. I also inhaled far too much Smartfood popcorn while watching a movie or 2 straight from the bag… noticing a theme?

Vice #1

When you don’t put things in a bowl or on a plate, you don’t give yourself a portion. You don’t give yourself that automatic stopping point where you have to think… do I really want more? Instead, you just mindlessly stick your hand back in the bag and shove your cheddar covered fingerfulls of glorious popcorn in your face. (I have a problem… I know).

I have been using the fact that I did the competition as an excuse to randomly add calorie laden things to food. I am putting cheese on things that don’t need cheese, sugar instead of sweetener and cream instead of milk in my coffee, I got whipped cream on my Starbucks, and I put an extra dollop of honey on my yogurt bowl in the morning. These things don’t add significant joy to my taste buds, they’re just me being crazy because I’m finally not restricted… this is not a healthy way to look at things! I wouldn’t have done those things before the contest prep, so why would I do them now?

Bad Rose! Very bad Rose! On the bright side… I am acknowledging it, and I’m stopping it. Instantly. Not tomorrow, not after the weekend… NOW! Because that is what you have to do. You cannot let yourself fall into the trap of “I’ll diet tomorrow” because then you (or at least I) will want to shove your pie-hole full of every calorie dense food you can get your hands on while you are still “allowed”.

After I had this realization last night I made a plan, because that’s what I do, I plan, and list and write things down, and then I don’t follow it, but it makes me feel better. ok?

This November is packed full of events on the weekends and a lot of people want to do dinner now that I’m out of hiding so to speak, so my general plan is:

  1. Get back to eating good high protein, low-ish carb meals and healthy fats 4-6 times per day
  2. Go to the gym 3-4 times per week focusing on heavy lifting and moderate amounts of cardio
  3. Limit alcohol to 2 times per week (preferably 1 time, but there is the wine and food show and my boyfriends birthday, so I’m being realistic)
  4. Choose healthy options at restaurants and don’t order dessert “just because”
  5. Don’t have treats at home, if I am going out to dinner or drinks with someone, that is fine, but no eating treats all by myself!

That’s it, nothing crazy, I’m not going back on a “diet” I’m just trying to remind myself to be good to my body. Make healthy choices and live my life in a healthy way.

Changing gears here: last night I made Red Snapper with Bacon tossed baby bok choy and zucchini. It was heavenly… bacon makes everything better. I cooked up some bacon first, drained off a little fat and put a little in another fry pan. I then cooked the snapper in the small amount of bacon grease, and sauteed the zucchini and bok choy in the pan the bacon was in. When the veggies were done, I added back the bacon all chopped up and tossed it all together. It was spectacularly flavourful.