Gone, but not forgotten

Keeping a food journal is one of those time-tested tools for weight loss and maintenance that almost always shows up in things like “Top 10 Tips of Successful Dieters.” For good reason.

If you’re honest about what you write down, it’s an objective way to assess what you’re putting in your mouth and a base point for deciding if your eating plan needs some fine tuning…or even a complete overhaul. But keeping a detailed food record can be tedious, especially if done for an extended time period. That’s why I take breaks from food journaling from time to time.

I was double-journaling this summer (using an online tracker AND reporting my meal plans, macronutrient ratios and calories for the transformation challenge I was doing). By the time I finished the challenge at the end of August, I never wanted to see a food journal again!

But now I’m ready to take that tool back out of the toolbox. My fall workout plan was a slightly failed experiment, which means I need to get back on track. My current workout plan will help get me there, but turning an eagle eye to my nutrition is also key.

A nibble here, a second helping there. It’s really easy to allow calorie creep into your life. And if calorie creep nudges your average daily intake to even just a little bit above what your daily needs are, you’ll end up with weight creep, too. A pound here, a pound there…then suddenly you realize you need to buy bigger pants.

No, that will not be my fate! I’ve started tracking again on Sparkpeople, which I like better than any other free online calorie tracker I’ve tried. Once upon a time, if you wanted to track calorie counts (instead of simply what you ate), you had to look everything up in a little calorie count book. Ah, the dark ages! If you want detailed information, nutrition software or tracking websites are the way to go.

I don’t really use any other of Sparkpeople’s features, but they have tons of them, including exercise trackers, menu plans, forums, e-newsletters, recipes, etc. It looks to me like it could be really helpful for someone who is struggling, or simply has a long way to go before reaching their goal. Check it out!