Happy Motivational Monday. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Jake and I got to enjoy three Thanksgiving meals this year. So much food! Today I barely was able to eat breakfast without bursting. And I’m assuming most of you are feeling the same way.
But besides the bursting feeling, I’m also feeling a bit of a fibromyalgia flare up. Why? Because for the last four days I’ve been eating pumpkin pie with homemade whip cream, homemade dinner rolls and drinking wine.
People are sometimes surprised to hear that I occasionally eat gluten or dairy. Yes, Jake and I keep completely gluten and dairy free at home. But occasionally, if we go over to a friends’ for dinner, I will “cheat.” Granted, I don’t think of this as cheating. I make choices. And occasionally that choice will lead to pain.
(As a side note, if you’re actually allergic to gluten, don’t eat gluten. There is a difference between eating foods you’re allergic to and eating foods you just feel better avoiding).
I like to think I occasional indulge about once a month. But I know that’s a lie. That was the big reason I went on the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Because I found myself reaching for things I shouldn’t be eating more and more.
In order to really find out just how often I was eating foods I should be avoiding, I found it super helpful to keep track.
The number one food tracking site that most people use is MyFitnessPal. You can easily sync between the app on your phone and their portal online, which makes it easy when you’re eating out and about away from your computer. It’s completely free and only takes a few minutes to sign up.
Here is a screenshot of one of my old entries. As you can see, you log each food you eat for each meal. MyFitnessPal will automatically fill in the nutritional information. This is great for those of you interested in counting calories. As you can see, at the time my goal was set to 1,500 calories per day. You can also see I had trouble hitting that goal.
But then again, it could also be because MyFitnessPal isn’t that great for those of us who stay away from processed foods. It can easily calculate how many calories were in my Panera large ice tea (because it’s on Panera’s website) but trying to calculate the calories for my “Generic oven roasted red and green bell peppers and onions” is a little harder.
I use MyFitnessPal off and on, but for the most part I just get too frustrated trying to manually put in every ingredient.
Oh Instagram. I can’t believe it took me so long to find you. For those who don’t already know, instagram is a photo sharing app for your phone. It’s free to download. You just open the app, take a quick picture of your food and upload it. And like twitter, you can follow other people’s accounts to see what they’re eating.
Here is a quick screenshot of my profile on Instagram. As you can see, this is where I currently take photos of what I eat. With a few other pictures thrown in there for fun. I love instagram because it’s easy to use and I’ve connected with quite a few other bloggers, just like on twitter. Create an account, connect with your friends (or strangers) and start keeping track of what you eat.
But what if you’re not keen on broadcasting everything you ate to all of your instagram followers? Believe it or not, back in 2012, I actually kept track of everything I ate using Tumblr. Remember that website? I created a free account, downloaded the app onto my phone, snapped a picture every time I ate something and then posted it to tumblr.
Here is a screenshot of my last entry, on Feb 17, 2012. According to the note I wrote at the bottom of the picture, I ate “Chili topped with avocado and kale sautéed in garlic.”
Tumblr was great in that really only the people you gave the URL to would look at it. (Although this doesn’t mean it’s private, it’s still on the internet so keep that in mind). Jake and I both created one and then traded URLs. This was great in keeping us accountable for what we ate, without having to broadcast to all of our friends online.
Fair warning if you look at my tumblr. This was back in 2012 just before I officially made the switch to paleo. Look at all of the gluten I ate! I thought it wasn’t that much but clearly looking at these pictures, you can see it actually is quite a bit.
For those who aren’t as tech savvy
And finally, what if you aren’t in the mood to create a MyFitnessPal or Instagram or Tumblr account? Or what if you don’t have a smartphone? Just write it down on paper.
Occasionally I like keeping a small notebook of what I eat and how it makes me feel. Each day gets a page. I’ll write down what foods I ate, at what time, how hungry I was, how I felt after, how much water I drank etc.
It’s a little bit more of a hassle than just snapping a picture, and it’s harder to share with others to keep you accountable, but if you’re just keeping track to learn more about yourself, then paper works great.
Now that Thanksgiving is over and we have a few weeks before Christmas hits, why not take a quick peek at what you eat? Hopefully this might lead to a few “ah ha!” moments, especially into the reason we all seem to gain 10 pounds in December.