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When you do not track

Posted: Apr 11, 2013

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When you do not track

Most of us (myself included) go through a stretch where we stop recording our intake.  This can be for a variety of reasons including family or work stress, vacations, illness or simply forgetting to track one day and then not resuming as it has not yet become a habit.  Whatever the reason, when you stop tracking the following is what can and often does occur:

a) Calorie intake increases: when you are not writing your calories down it is next to impossible to know how many you are consuming.  Estimating is unreliable and it is very easy to forget that mouthful of chili you tasted as you prepared dinner or the piece of chicken you finished off your child's plate.  It's also easier to convince yourself that the piece of cake you had didn't count or have as many calories as it actually does.

b) Food quality decreases: It is much easier to consume chips, pop and fast food if you don't record it.  As the saying goes: “out of sight, out of mind”.

c) Thoughtfulness decreases: When you diarize you take ownership of what you are eating which often results in more thoughtful choices.  For example, knowing that the cookies you have for dessert each night have 300 calories will likely result in you having less per serving and/or not consuming them as frequently.

All of the above usually leads to weight gain and an overall less healthy lifestyle.

To stay in the habit of recording, make sure you track each day even if it is incomplete or involves guessing.  Simply writing that you had a piece of steak and baked potato at a friend's barbeque is enough to keep you in the routine.  And remember: do not get discouraged if you miss an entry.  Simply resume the very next time you eat; treat each entry as separate.  Perfection in anything is impossible so do your very best.

Mark McGill, RD