There was a period of about a month this summer where I posted my tracker nearly everyday. I was trying to meet a 30 day challenge and failed at that, but in the big picture it was really helpful for me to post the tracker here for accountability.
Since I quit leading/attending First Place 4 Health meetings back in the fall (one day I will write that post...) it has been really difficult to stay on top of the disciplines that helped me be successful with consistent weight loss, namely maintaining my tracker. I know that I need that particular kind of accountability, so I am going to utilize the blog once again for this. I'm not challenging myself to 30 days or any set amount of time. I'm just going to try my very best to be consistent.
I had a serious talk with myself before I decided I was going to track like this again. It does seem a little excessive and it is difficult to get this thing posted every day. Is it obsessive to track like this? Will I go insane? I asked myself the question I am going to ask myself A LOT this year: Why? If I do this, why am I doing it?
The conclusion I came to is that yes, it is difficult and yes, it will take a lot of focus and commitment. I don't think it's an obsession but rather it is a discipline. I don't think I will go insane because in the end it is going to keep me healthier than I would be without doing it and I will forgive myself and keep going even if I mess up. The reason I am going to post my tracker as near to daily as I can is because I have made it a goal to finish losing the excess weight I carry this year. That goal is not going be accomplished by chance. Reaching that goal will require determination, focus, discipline, accountability and a whole lotta grace.
Will doing the tracker alone ensure that I reach the goal? No. But I don't believe I will even come close without it.
Oh yes. I will frequently make--or what appear to be--mathematical errors on the tracker...I didn't not eat grapes today. That was from a previous tracker. It's important that I note--I'm not as concerned with the perfection of the tracker as much as the consistency of doing it. I can't go too many days posting a tracker with horrible food choices on there. That's why it keeps me in line. Hope that makes sense...
Here are some frequently asked questions I got when I was posting the tracker before...
How do you know your "goal amount" for each food group?
I follow a plan very similar to what is recommended on http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. You can get your personal recommendations for weight loss by entering your information here: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/SuperTracker/createprofile.aspx Make sure to select the option "move toward a healthier weight" if you are wanting to lose! Otherwise it will base your targets off a 2000 calorie plan. Of course you can adjust your target amounts, this is just a tool that is close to what I use. The plan I actually use is presented in the First Place 4 Health Member's Guide.
What does E/C stand for?
Empty calories. Anything that does not fall under one of the food group headings gets recorded here. Snack cookies, ice cream bars, sugar in your coffee, etc. Goal is to stay under 200 empty calories per day. Obviously zero is best. I put the line to document the empty calories right at the top of each meal so I would be more aware of it.
Can I get a copy of the tracker?
Here you go: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Joe-K4IbenZ6s93BEFt3ZGwwnNdDe4KDE7AQhEGJN0g/edit
How do you keep up with what you eat throughout the day?
I like to keep a paper copy with me all day that has a tentative plan (best way for me is to plan a week's worth of meals at one time), make changes throughout the day as needed, and record my final tracker online at the end of the day.
Are there other trackers available online?
There are tons of great tracking sites out there: Spark People, My Fitness Pal, Lose It, MyNet Diary, as well as Choose My Plate's Super Tracker. Most of these listed come as phone apps, as well. My tracker is obviously not for everyone. I just made it up and it works for me. The important thing is not how you track, but simply that you DO track.