Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Food Journal

Weigh in- 138

I finally did it. The last post I wrote I was still stuck at 145.  I was stuck there for quite a long time.  In the past month I have been dealing with a lot of stress in my life.  You know how it works, several things all seem to happen at the same time making you feel like you would just like to curl up into a corner.  Well I didn't.  I stuck with my kickboxing routine twice a week, and I have stayed active at least one other day of each week.  I have been hiking most weeks and this week I went for a run.  That could have been good enough.  I would have been pretty happy to maintain my weight in a stressful time.  Instead I took this time as an opportunity to have control of something (since I felt like I didn't have much control over everything else).  I decided to finally write down everything I was eating. This is not an easy thing for me to do.  I have Kaiser Permanente's healthy living program partly to thank. The online program does a long multiple choice questionairre about what you eat, how many times a week you exercise etc.  It asks you how confident you are about being able to lose weight and how well you think you eat.  Then it gives you a break down and a plan.  I have done questionnaires and stuff before, but this one seemed much more intense and there didn't seem to be a "right" answer like you see sometimes in questionnaires.  Anyway I did the whole thing and it basically told me that I thought I was eating better than I actually am and gave me some pretty sound advice.  I grabbed a black and white lined composition book and started to make a list of what I was eating.  I also took the time to answer the journaling questions they asked in regards to my attitude about food, losing weight, etc.  All in all it was quite worth while.
It seems to me that food journaling is a great weight loss tool for several reasons.  The first, of course, is that you have a record of what you have eaten and can figure out how many calories you've eaten and evaluate objectively.  It also works in a few other ways, too.  Writing down all of the food you have eaten can be a major pain in the butt.  Unless of course, you eat less or simpler so that later you don't have to think so hard.  I've found that I've simplified my food intake so that I don't have to work so hard on the journal later.  Eating simpler is better for you.  I also started measuring out my food so I didn't have to guesstimate on the size or portion.  Again, makes it easier later to journal and is better for you.  I have found myself reaching for the pretzel bag and counting out a real portion and calculating mentally how many calories I have been eating.  I have been thinking ahead about what food I can eat for snack soon and how many calories they have in them before I get home or get to the fridge.  And when you make yourself really sit down and count out how much olive oil you cooked with or how many handfuls of chips you ate, it is an eye opener.  I have been making my calorie intake count.
Journaling was the first thing that got me on a roll this past month and as a side effect I have begun to look at different food at the store to decide where I want to spend my calories.  I have been buying more fruits and vegetables and have started eating yogurt again.  Yogurt is always a good standby because it really makes you feel full.  One cup of yogurt (not the fruit on the bottom kind) only has 120 to 180 calories.  I have been buying the big tub of it and adding in canned pineapple, fruit medley and mandarin oranges.
The last thing that has really helped is that I have finally started whittling down the amount of food I put onto the plate at dinner time.  I have a measuring cup that has been helping me be honest about what my serving sizes are.  I don't think I have to get too crazy, I don't think I will be getting a food scale, although I have heard that it helps some people.  I am going to stick with measuring cups and spoons.  My tupperware also happens to have a one cup mark, so I've been packing lunch in there.  I have eaten two really huge dinners in the past month.  Both times I felt almost sick because I have been getting used to smaller portions.  I have been eating one to two hundred calorie snacks every couple of hours.  And the thing they tell you about after a while you won't be starving because you'll be used to it, it's actually true.  I don't feel starved at all and I've been eating a lot less every day.