Regardless of whether I’ve kept the weight off or not, every time I’ve successfully lost weight there has always been one thing in common–tracking my food.
This seems like it might be a no-brainer, after all how can you lose weight without knowing what you are putting in your mouth? It is an important step that I used to ignore in favor of lists of foods I could or couldn’t eat, but now I start every lifestyle change with. I’ve slowly gotten more serious this time around, but it didn’t really start improving until I started using the Lose It app again.
One of the toughest things to starting a new lifestyle change, or diet if you’d rather use that term, is really getting going. Often we create too many expectations of ourselves and try to push too hard up front for wide sweeping changes that are ultimately unrealistic in the long term and it leads to us giving up. Every time lately I’ve started a successful weight loss journey it always began and ended when I started or stopped tracking my food. This time has been no different–I finally got tired of starting next Monday after failing over and over so I just made a deal with myself–I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as every bite went on the tracker. So whatever pizza, candy, or junk that went in my mouth went in the tracker, and it is a fantastic place to start. You begin to realize how many calories you are taking in relative to what you should be, and almost unconsciously begin making slightly smarter choices that reflect in your tracker.
This gives you some accountability to yourself and allows you to be honest with what your caloric intake is currently like. Knowing realistically where you are is the key to changing your life and it all really starts with tracking. The excuses to not track are likely the same I used to have myself.
“I don’t want to spend all day tracking.”
“If I forget to track I might as well quit”.
“So what, you are going to do this the rest of your life? Really?”
The truth is though that with modern technology being what it is tracking your food is exceptionally easy. There are a million apps out there for this purpose, but my favorite is Lose It. I only use the free version of the app, but it easily has everything you need. It allows scanning of barcodes, addition of your own food, and has a large searchable database of both foods and exercises that can be added to track throughout your day. You can also link it with many other apps that can connect to devices such as a FitBit, in order to more accurately get a feel for how many calories have been burned.
Understanding what you eat versus what you can eat gives you a clear road map to victory. Allowing yourself to see everything there in black and white allows you to truly understand the cost of that enormous piece of cake, or makes you realize going overboard on pizza the other night was the equivalent of an entire day of meals.
When it comes to weight loss it is no longer a secret that 90% of it is in nutrition, not the gym. This doesn’t start with an expensive grocery store trip, a bunch of books, and only eating Kale. It starts with understanding what you are taking in and getting a grasp on the nutritional information of food. Coming to understand that will change the way you look at food, and once you do that you are well on your way to conquering any obsession with it.
With an app like Lose It you can suddenly do just that. Maybe for the first time ever.