I have renewed faith that tracking matters. It’s been one of things I’ve resisted (see last week’s post if you’re feeling resistant).
Some of us choose to plan and write down our meals the night before. Some do it as they go. I fall into the latter. I prefer to track as I go. I have found that tracking each meal brings me to the present, i.e. conscious. I also tend to keep mostly Luminous foods in the house to lessen the risk of going way off plan. Plus, I have a pretty familiar wheelhouse of preferred meals for breakfast and lunch. Dinner has more variety.
For the last 10 days I have been tracking consistently. I dropped 5 pounds. I don’t have a sense that I’ve cut any one thing out, other than just being more conscious in the evening. So the key word here seems to be CONSCIOUS. Tracking keeps me honest, and gives me less wiggle room with reality.
Studies Show You Can Double Your Weight Loss By Tracking
It’s true! According to studies reported by WebMD, people who track at least 6 days doubled their weight loss. In my case it was almost triple this week. And that was without feeling deprived or tempted. When I track I find I have less of a pull about food, and honestly think less about it in general. It’s similar to the way I feel about weighing and measuring. It brings a sense of calm. I’ve heard opinions that this behavior can create food obsession or eating disorders. That may be true for some. But for me, it’s the opposite. When I work these tools, it feels like I’ve set up a structure bigger than me, and I more easily surrender to the process. I honor your process, whatever it may be. But if you’re struggling with making better or speedier progress, then consider tracking for a week and see how you feel.
App or Paper?
Some of us like tracking with good old fashioned paper and pen. If this is your preferred method, you can try the Luminous tracker.
I write pretty much everything using my laptop or phone, including my journal, so I prefer using an app that can scan bar codes from food and has a large database. My preferred app is LoseIt.
The app is free with the option to purchase the Premium plan. I use the free version. It does some nifty things like track your movement if you have an Apple watch or you can set up Activity tracking on your iPhone. You can also log your weight, and most foods can be tracked using ounces. If a particular food isn’t in the database, you can add it by scanning the bar code. They seem to carry local grocery store brands as well. I’m a Wegman’s shopper and often buy their organic brand. LoseIt has most of it in their database.
I have one caution about using any of the diet apps… Do not get sucked into counting calories! The only thing I like about seeing calorie counts is it give me confidence that sticking with the Luminous Plan does indeed fall into recommended daily allowances for weight loss. It can also help you better assess pre-made products that may have hidden fats or high sodium content. But other than that, it’s best not to become a calorie counter.
What’s the problem with calorie counting you might ask? All calories are not the same. While they may contain the same energy value, calorie counting doesn’t take into account how the metabolism treats certain foods. As a basic example, the body burns more calories metabolizing celery than the calorie count in celery itself. Foods that are high in fiber tend to slow the insulin rise which in turn can help stop cravings because the hormone leptin more easily reaches the brain when insulin behaves.
When To Track
How and when you track are completely up to you. If you feel more at peace with committing to food the night before, go for it! If you prefer my method of tracking as you go, that works too . No matter how you do it, it all leads to one goal which is to become more mindful about food. Any tool that helps you stay present is a great tool.
The big A-HA this week was getting such a great result without feeling like I was eating or moving any differently. If you’re feeling discouraged with your progress, this little shift just might do the trick. It literally takes less than 2 minutes to do. And if you’re resistant to tracking, think of this as an experiment, and try it for a week. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Be really consistent and see if it doesn’t make a difference for you!