Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Quote Day

The discipline of writing something down
is the first step toward making it happen.

~ Lee Iacocca

Studies have shown that keeping a food journal is one of the most powerful tools in the dieter's arsenal.

So why don't I keep a food journal?

I bought a nifty software program that I used for months (not that it helped me lose any weight or anything), but as I have shifted my diet toward eating more whole foods and fewer processed products, the program has become more cumbersome. In order to calculate the nutritional data in my Friday night pizza, I have to enter each ingredient incorporated in the crust and each topping, then divide by six or four, depending on how big I cut the pieces.

Much more time-consuming than just clicking on one of Pizza Hut's menu items or one of the frozen selections at the market.

I liked using it, 'cause I'm geeky and 'cause it did all the calculations for me. It even created a pie chart (mmm, pie!) displying the breakdown of protein, fat and carbs, which was very helpful when I was following a low-carb/high-protein plan.

As my meal plans have moved toward real food, I'm leaning toward using a notebook and a pencil to record my food data. But I'd still have to calculate the data for Friday night pizza one ingredient at a time.

So the ultimate question is: How badly do I want to be thin? What am I willing to do? I'll admit I haven't put my heart and soul into this lately. After three years of slowly gaining and/or staying the same, it has become more and more difficult to stick to a plan that feels like no fun at all.

I'm reading The End of Overeating, and have finally gotten to the last few chapters where the author really gets down to the nitty-gritty of developing your own personal plan for weight control. And while he says it must not feel restrictive (because restrictive diets are doomed to fail), I have to admit my mind isn't ready for such a complete overhaul.

But I wrote this stuff down, so maybe I'm taking the first step.


altopower said...

You are a creative cook which does make it hard to sort out recipe contents. But if there are things that you make regularly, it would be worth the time to figure out the values so in future it will be easier to write them down.

I do think it's important to track food and any tricks you can apply to make it work more easily are worth pursuing.

Wow - I get a real word for my verification! Create. That seems appropriate!

Doc Manette said...

I miss my calorie/pie chart making software that was loaded on my laptop (we all know what happened to my household computers!).

So, I make do with a cute medium sized notebook and keep handy. I do not count calories/fat/proteins, etc. I just write the food down and qty. and leave it at that.

Very easy.

Marla said...

I have mixed feelings about the food journal. As I learned in my Total Quality Management class, you can't improve something you can't measure. It's funny how the quotes that come to mind are from corporate culture, not from normal people ;)

For me, it was very helpful in the beginning, because the first step is definitely knowing what and how much you're eating. But the drawback is that once I start counting calories and macros to that degree, I obsess about it and am afraid to eat ANYthing, because I know how many calories are in it and I'm trying to reach some perfect caloric goal, and holy crap even an apple has, like, 90 calories! Tracking food in order to maintain a number you've worked out on paper is too distant from reality - it interferes with the relationship between appetite and consumption, energy expenditure and energy intake. I've come to the conclusion that my calorie requirements vary day by day, and eating according to a chart instead of according to need is crazy.

Of course, for a lot of us it's hard to distinguish whether we really "need" a chocolate eclair. So I totally understand not feeling comfortable eating without any sort of plan or tracking--for so many of us unrestrained eating is how we got into this mess in the first place!

I've heard Kessler speak a few times, and I think he's really onto something. I put his book on the wait list at the library.