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Start with a notebook.

I know there are all kinds of calorie tracking apps out there, but I wouldn't start with anything that actually requires you to think about calories or get out the measuring cups just yet.

Yes, I do all those things now,(I keep measuring cups at the office) but if you're just coming in from the food cold as it were, you need to start by just writing down how much is going in. All of it. Including the bits from cooking, the double latte that you need to get through the afternoon, and the stuff you eat in front of the refrigerator in the middle of the night. (I'm going to do a full scale ode to Geneen Roth soon, but I'll start with one of my favorite quotes: "When you eat in front of the refrigerator, pull up a chair.")

Seriously-go low-tech. There's cheap calender books on sale right now. (I'm saddened by how much the on-line calender programs have supplanted the books, but they are still out there.) Or just buy a cute notebook, or a cheap, ugly one, or if you HAVE to do it on the computer, start a document.

Just write it down. This may be painful; it may be excruciating. It may make you binge and curse my name. I'm used to that. Or it may start to bring an awareness of what's triggering you and what's going in that isn't bringing you any joy for the calories involved. I'm not going to recommend ANY particular diet * or way of eating...except preaching about the evils of sugar, but I am going to tell you that I have written down every fucking morsel since June and ALL of my size 16s and 14s are now in the "clown pants" category, and if I hadn't stopped when I did I was thiiiiissssss close to needing 18's. I'm just lucky that Dress Barn probably vanity sizes a little so I was spared having to the number. That doesn't mean it's not out there waiting for me.

While you're at it, write down ANY exercise you're doing. 10 minutes on the treadmill. A walk around the block. 1 push-up. ANYTHING.

My notebook for this year is one that Sebastian gave me, with a vintage Thor comic as the cover. I figure he will make good inspiration to get me further down the path to fitness.

*I take that back---I will tell you something: Atkins sucks and if you go on it, you're a fucking idiot.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2014 08:02 pm (UTC)
I´m going to consider the notebook thing. It's not like it should be hard, yesterday I ate a banana, a yoghurt and two chicken fajitas for dinner. Not exactly time consuming, and maybe it will shame me into stop binging on Saturdays.

I am loving your fitness posts, they are so inspiring. :)
Jan. 9th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
No shame. Just awareness. The only fat I'm willing to shame is my own.
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
Three years on, and I still keep a very rough calorie track - I have a sheet of paper stuck to the door of the fridge and keep a running total throughout the day. Not food, just numbers, and rounded up/down for easy tallying. When I have a big day out I either estimate or just give up for the day, but that only happens once every 2-3 weeks. It's very, very rough. But it helps!

I would never use measuring cups [edit: I realise sometimes it's more convenient and better than nothing! Just saying]. I weigh, and that's it. I have a lot of gratituous diet advice, but the one thing I want to mention is for god's sake eat *enough*. If I ate what websites recommended I wouldn't have had the energy to lie in bed and read. All the best!

Edited at 2014-01-09 09:28 pm (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2014 12:06 am (UTC)
Strangely enough for me it's the other way. I can live with measuring cups, but the old Weight-Watcher style scale brings up a ton of negative associations, so I basically manage with mesaurements instead. EXCEPT that since I've taken back the actual calorie counting since the first of the year, I feel like I'm ready to face the scale again, and I'm planning to go to Cliff's Hardware after work and get one.

Edited at 2014-01-10 12:10 am (UTC)
Jan. 9th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
I like the notebook idea a lot, especially since even thinking about calorie counting plus measuring is something that is daunting to me.

I've started up a spending journal and I can just add a section for food tracking.
Jan. 10th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC)
Excellent idea. If you're doing DA or some similar program, then tracking the food intake will be a good adjunct...since food is one of the things you spend money on. I will say---eating well (as in healthy) costs money. I've spent a lot more on fresh fruits and veggies than I ever did on crap.
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:35 am (UTC)
I do this and it really does help. I also make sure I don't deny myself something completely, because then I'd just get into a negative frame of mind and that would be sad. I've also learnt so many new recipes and tried new foods in the last year, it's been aces.
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:39 am (UTC)
I've given up a LOT, but I do "budget" my one splurge meal a week, and basically make the rest of that day "off piste," although I do still log the food, just to keep "off piste" from becoming "off the rails."

I carry little stickies so I can write food down, if I happen to eat away from home.
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:54 am (UTC)
I have successfully used an app called MyFitnessPal, but I did find it time consuming, especially since I made most of my own food and had to enter ingredients individually. It wasn't the calories I wanted as much as to see how much protein/sugar/iron etc. I was getting. But regardless of the method, keeping track of your food *definitely* makes you more aware of your intake. I think I'm past the stage where tracking will make me obsess over limiting the intake, so I like the idea of a really simple exercise like writing in a notebook.
Jan. 10th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
There's a lot of paths to get there, but after a life-time on the merry-go-round, and a really bad period of denial, I had to "come in from the cold" as simply as possible.
Jan. 10th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC)
I agree with your feelings on Atkins. And it ESPECIALLY doesn't work if you're a vegetarian...

I've done food notebooks before but I've never measured. I just use smaller plates and won't let myself have seconds so portions must be appropriate.
Jan. 12th, 2014 10:23 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a good system. Everyone has their own limits on what they can/can't or will NOT do. I just broke through my own heavy-duty baggage about weighing and got the scale. For some reason eating out of measuring cuts didn't carry the same associations as that damn kitchen scale and the idea of measure ounces instead of cups, but I knew I was only kidding myself about having any idea how much I was eating for things like chicken. (As opposed to pre-measured turkey burgers.)
Jan. 10th, 2014 04:08 am (UTC)
...Is Geneen Roth the one who ate chocolate chip cookie dough for three weeks straight, or am I confusing her with someone else--?!

Jan. 10th, 2014 07:16 am (UTC)
That's my girl!
Jan. 10th, 2014 07:24 am (UTC)
Leave it to me to remember a detail like that!

Also, I have a copy of "Sugar Blues" on order from Amazon. I read it a million years ago and thought the guy was whackadoo-- but that's when I had a functioning pancreas and was bulletproof.

Jan. 10th, 2014 07:57 am (UTC)
It's meant to be memorable. She tells the story early in Breaking Free of Compulsive Overeating as an extreme example of the process she went through in learning to listen to her hunger until her body was ready to eat something more healthy.

Give Sugar Blues a shot, just as a piece of sociology, if nothing else.

Jan. 10th, 2014 07:58 am (UTC)
It's funny but the one thing I was sure wouldn't work for me was calorie counting. And now that I do it, it really works for me! LOL

I post at LoseIt.com and it's been a real eye opener. Diets of any stripe don't work for me because I get all rebellious. But giving myself the freedom to eat what I want as long as I keep the calories down is a more gentle way for me of getting things in order. It makes me think about my choices.
Jan. 10th, 2014 10:42 pm (UTC)
I really had to tip-toe back up to calorie counting because of all the diet baggage and crazy family programming I'm shlepping around in my psyche, but so far so good.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )



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